We found that the secret to perfect chocolate cream pie was to combine two different types of chocolate for a deeper, more complex flavor. Bittersweet or semisweet chocolate provides the main thrust of flavor and intensely flavored unsweetened chocolate lends depth. One ounce unsweetened chocolate may not seem like much, but it gives this pie great flavor. For the best chocolate flavor and texture, we recommend using either Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate or Ghirardelli semisweet or bittersweet chocolate.
Other types of chocolate sandwich cookies than Oreo may be substituted, but avoid any “double-filled” cookies because the proportion of cookie to filling will be off. An equal number of Nutter Butter cookies may also be substituted for a peanut-flavored crust.–The Editors at America’s Test Kitchen
LC Ah, Chocolate Cream Pie Note
Some of us (and by that we really mean one of us—our editor, Renee) grew up coveting her mom’s chocolate cream pie morning, noon, and night. You know the feeling. It’s a cruel mistress, this insatiable want. Nay, need. The intense OREO crust that crumbles just so. The just-chocolatey-enough custard that’s so silken it’s obscene. The fluffy whipped cloud-like cream with the faintest wisp of vanilla. Ah, chocolate cream pie. Sigh. So when, decades later, she was introduced to this recipe, she was a little shy, seeing as sometimes when you make a recipe that you cherished as a child when you’re an adult, you risk being disappointed. She needn’t have worried.
Chocolate Cream Pie Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 35 M
- 4 H, 15 M
- Serves 8 to 10
- For the crust
- 16 Oreo cookies, broken into rough pieces
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- For the filling
- 2 1/2 cups half-and-half
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- Pinch salt
- 6 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
- 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the topping
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Make the crust
- 1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- 2. Pulse the cookies in a food processor until coarsely ground, about 15 short pulses. Then let the machine run until the crumbs are uniformly fine, about 15 seconds. With the machine running, pour the butter through the feed tube and process until the mixture resembles wet sand. Transfer the crumbs to the pie plate. Use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the crumbs into an even layer on the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Bake until the crust is fragrant and looks set, about 15 minutes.
- 3. Gently mound the whipped cream attractively over the top of the filling. Slice the pie and have at it.
- Make the filling
- 4. Bring the half-and-half, half the sugar, and the salt to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
- 5. As the half-and-half mixture begins to simmer, in a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, the remaining sugar, and cornstarch until smooth.
- 6. Slowly whisk about 1 cup simmering half-and-half mixture into the yolks to temper them. (This means to slowly change the temperature so the eggs don’t curdle.) Then slowly whisk the tempered yolks into the remaining simmering half-and-half mixture and reduce the heat to medium. Whisking constantly, return the mixture to a simmer and cook until thickened and a few bubbles burst on the surface, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and immediately whisk in the butter, then the chocolates, and finally the vanilla, whisking until completely smooth.
- 7. Pour the warm filling into the baked, cooled pie crust. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it flush against the surface of the filling to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until the filling is cold and firm, at least 3 hours. (The pie, without the topping, can be wrapped tightly and refrigerated for up to 1 day.)
- Make the topping
- 8. Just before serving, beat the cream, sugar, and vanilla in a chilled bowl with a stand or handheld mixture until soft peaks form. (The cream can be whipped and refrigerated separately from the pie, covered tightly with plastic wrap, for up to 2 hours.)
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Chocolate Cream Pie Recipe © 2005 The Editors at America's Test Kitchen. Photo © 2005 Carl Tremblay. All rights reserved.