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Old-School Chocolate Cream Pie

Servings: 10 to 12

Flaky crust? Check. Chocolate pudding? Check. Heaps of whipped cream? Check. A sprinkling of chocolate curls or shards on top makes a nice contrast to the whipped cream.


For the filling

  • 2/3 cup (4 5/8 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup (1 oz.) unsweetened natural or Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
  • 1/4 cup (1-1/8 oz.) cornstarch, sifted
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 2-2/3 cups whole milk
  • 3 large egg yolks (or 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk)
  • 4 Tbs. (2 oz.) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the topping

  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (1-3/4 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch table salt
  • Sifted unsweetened cocoa powder, chocolate curls, or chocolate shards


Make the filling

  • Put the sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan and whisk until well blended. Pour in 2/3 cup of the milk, and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the yolks (or whole egg and yolk, if using), and then the remaining milk.
  • Set the pan over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring with a whisk, until the mixture comes to a full boil. Cook for 1 minute, and then slide the pan off the heat. Add the butter and vanilla, and stir until the butter is melted and the pudding is smooth.
  • Scrape the filling into the cooled piecrust, spread evenly, and press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming, if you like. Refrigerate until chilled and firm, about 5 hours or overnight.

Whip the topping

  • Put the heavy cream, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl, and beat with an electric hand-held mixer fitted with wire beaters on low speed until smooth. Increase the speed to medium high, and beat until the cream is thick and holds medium-firm peaks.
  • Peel off the plastic from the filling. Scrape the topping onto the center of the pie and, using a small offset or silicone spatula, spread it to cover the filling, leaving the center slightly domed along with lots of swirls and peaks.
  • Sprinkle with cocoa powder, chocolate curls, or chocolate shards (optional). Serve immediately or cover loosely and refrigerate for up to 1 hour.


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