Pie. It’s such a personal food. Every family has their go-to favorites, especially around the holidays. One year, Mr. Smith and I spent Thanksgiving with a our dear friend’s family, and the traditional pie at their table was Old Fashioned Chocolate Pie.
This year, when I was ready to make my own, my friend graciously shared her family recipe with me. After cooking up a couple, I discovered just how versatile chocolate pie is! If you just follow the basic cooking steps, you can create your confection just as you like it That means meringue or whipped cream, vanilla extract or Kahlua, more chocolate or less chocolate, pie crust or graham crust. No matter what, I’m sure there won’t be leftovers.
P.S. If you feel like smiling today, take a moment to read the story behind my friend’s chocolate pie:
As I think about this recipe I can’t help but be reminded of my Grandma Dona. Chocolate meringue pie has been a family favorite for as long as I can remember. Grandma Dona made at least two every Thanksgiving and Christmas. One simply would not have been enough. Of course, Grandma Dona didn’t really follow a recipe so it was a little different each time. As she aged, the pies got a little more watery every year. A couple of times I tried to get her to write down the recipe for me. Of course, the two versions are not the same, and neither one of them really tasted like the ones she always made. Several years ago, we finally decided it was time for me to take of the responsibility of creating the annual treasured pies. This of course was only after Grandma Dona had served us one of her pies after an amazing Christmas meal. We had raved about how good the pie was (especially since it wasn’t as watery this time). Then she ask us, ‘Did it taste any different?’ My response was, ‘No, it was great as always, why? Did you do something different.’ Through laughter, she confessed, ‘Well, I didn’t realize it until it was already finished, but I accidentally used lime jello mix in the pie.’ We all laughed together, but Grandma Dona never made a chocolate meringue pie for a holiday again. We make two separate pies. Often, I am working on the pudding mix while Mom works on the meringue. It is a labor of love, but I would not change a single thing about it. Also sometimes in the winter, I will just make the pudding for myself. I hope you and your loved ones enjoy this pie as much as we do.
As-You-Like-It Old Fashioned Chocolate Pie
You will need:
- 1 single-crust recipe of your favorite pie crust dough (here’s my recipe and video for 30 second Pie Crust)
- OR a frozen pie shell
- OR frozen pie pastry
- OR a graham cracker pie shell
- OR and OREO pie shell (remember, it’s as you like it)
If using pastry dough, be it homemade or frozen, shape the pastry into a 9″ glass pie dish. Next, dock or prick the bottom several times with the tines of a fork.
Next, carefully line the inside of the shell with foil and add about 3 cups of dried beans or pie weights. Bank the beans or weights up against the sides of the pie so that the pastry doesn’t sink during the baking process.
Bake shell at 400˚ for 30 minutes. Remove pie shell and carefully lift foil out. Put shell back in oven for another 5-7 minutes for the bottom to get golden.
While you wait for the crust to bake, finely chop up some unsweetened or bittersweet baking chocolate and toss it in a mixing bowl. The amount is as you like it:
- 8 ounces for a death-by-chocolate pie, OR
- 6 ounces for a regular chocolate pie
Remove shell from oven and allow to cool on a rack while you make the chocolate filling.
Chocolate pie filling is essentially rich, delectable chocolate pudding. To start, add the following to your bowl of chopped chocolate:
- 1 teaspoons Mexican vanilla
- 1 Tablespoon espresso, cooled
- 1 teaspoon Kahlua, optional (or Creme de Menthe if you wanted a chocolate-mint pie. Mmmm…with an OREO crust…ok, focus)
In a 3-quart sauce pan, whisk together the following:
- 4 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/4 cup ultrafine sugar or baker’s sugar
Next, whisk in the following until smooth:
- 3 large egg yolks (reserve the white for meringue, if that’s what you want on top)
- 2-1/2 cups whole milk or half and half (just no skim or lowfat milk, please)
Cook over low heat, whisking constantly until the mixture is pudding-thick, about 15 minutes. Occasionally, scrape around the edges of the pan with a spoon–clumps of starchy milk like to hang out there. Whisk, whisk, whisk to avoid any lumps. Don’t fear the whisking.
Cook’s Note: Just a head’s up, the mixture will be thin for most of the time, but then will thicken up suddenly towards the end.
See? Supah thick.
Without wasting any time, pour the hot custard over the chocolate and stir, stir, stir with a wooden spoon until smooth and glossy.
At this point you could add a big tablespoon of butter to round out the flavor, but I love the subtle nuttiness of unrefined coconut oil.
Press the pudding through a sieve to rid your lovely concoction of tough eggy bits. Trust me, they are hiding in there.
If you’re wondering if there is a way to avoid the eggy bits altogether, you could could cook the custard in a double boiler before adding it to the chocolate, but it will take about 3-4 times longer to thicken up.
Scrape every bit of pudding into the cooked pie shell….
…and smooth out the top.
At this point you can either chill the pie for a few hours or top with meringue and bake. I prefer whipped cream over meringue so my work is done here. But if you prefer meringue, I’ve provided the accompanying recipe…
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 6 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 cup of water
- 3 egg whites
- Few grains of salt
Mix cornstarch, sugar, water, and salt in a saucepan. Cook until think and clear. Cool slightly. Beat egg whites with mixer until frothy. Continue beating egg whites while pouring in the cornstarch mixture. Beat 5 minutes. Spread meringue over pudding, gently pressing out any bubbles or air pockets, all the way to the edges. Make sure no pudding peeks through or the meringue will shrink back during baking. Bake at 450˚ for 5 – 7 minutes. Cool completely.
Time to enjoy!
Slice up and top with even more whipped cream because were not getting any younger.
Mmm, chocolate pie. Just the way I like it. Whipped cream, a hint of coconut and no lime jello. 🙂
What special dessert are you preparing for Thanksgiving?
- 1 9″ unbaked pie shell
- 6-8 oz unsweetened chocolate
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon Kahlua
- 1 Tablespoon espresso, cooled
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1-1/4 cup superfine sugar (like C&H)
- 1/2 t salt
- 2-1/2 cups half and half (I use Land O’Lakes)
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 400˚. Line the inside of the pie shell with foil and add about 3 cups of dried beans or pie weights. Bank the beans or weights up against the sides of the pie so that the pastry doesn’t sink during the baking process. Bake shell for 30 minutes. Remove and carefully lift foil out. Put shell back in oven for another 5-7 minutes for the bottom to get golden.
- Finely chop the chocolate and place in a bowl with the vanilla, espresso and Kahlua. Set aside.
- In a 3-quart saucepan, whisk the cornstarch, sugar and salt until well combined. Whisk in milk and eggs and place over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 15 minutes. Scrape around the pan while stirring to catch any lumps.
- Pour the thickened mixture into the chocolate and stir until smooth and glossy. Add the oil and stir until well combined. Press pudding through a sieve to catch any bits of cooked egg.
- Pour pudding into the baked, cooled pie shell and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours. Top with whipped cream.
- See blog post for instructions on a meringue topping.
*Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.
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