Chocolate Cream Pie with Chocolate-Graham Cracker Crust

I was skeptical…chocolate graham cracker crust. I don’t know, every chocolate cream pie I’ve ever had has had a regular pie crust base. I’m glad I went with it because this pie, this chocolate cream pie is like velvet. The custard is perfect, the crust is crunchy and almost nutty-like.

Homemade custard is tricky for me, as I lack the upper-arm strength to slowly pour the hot milky mixture into the egg mixture , while whisking at the same time. If you don’t do this step properly you end up with cooked egg in your custard. Also, you can over cook the custard making it too thick and clunky, instead of smooth and velvety. The best way to make this custard is slowly, take your time and enjoy the process. If you do that, you will have a piece of heaven on your fork, with a glass of milk to wash it down!

Chocolate Cream Pie with Chocolate-Graham Cracker Crust

{recipe modified from The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook}

makes one nine-inch pie, serving 10

Chocolate-Graham Cracker Crust

1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (a rolling-pin will do, or you can pull out your food processor)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 ounce semi-sweet chocolate, grated

Chocolate Pastry Cream

6 large egg yolks

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

3 cups milk

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise with the vanilla scrapped out

2 1/2 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1. Set the oven rack in the middle position and pre-heat oven to 350. Brush the bottom and sides of the pie plate with butter. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. To make the graham cracker crust: In a large bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar and salt. Add the chocolate and mix thoroughly. Press the graham cracker mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of the plate. Chill for 20 minutes.

3. Set the chilled pie crust plate on the prepared baking sheet and bake until you can smell the chocolate and butter cooking- about 18-20 minutes. Transfer to wire cooling rack.

4. To make the pastry cream: In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, about half the sugar, all the cornstarch, and 1/2 cup of the milk.

5. In a saucepan, combing the rest of the sugar, the remaining 2 1/2 cups of milk, the cocoa, chocolate, and salt. Half the vanilla bean, scrape black seeds out. Add black seeds and vanilla bean to saucepan. Bring to a simmer. *Whisking constantly, gradually pour the hot milk into the egg mixture to temper it. Set a strainer over the saucepan and strain the mixture back into the saucepan. Bring to a boil for 10 seconds while whisking- make sure the custard boils for 10 seconds in the center of the pan, not just around the sides. The mixture should thicken to a pudding-like consistency. Discard the vanilla bean.

6. Transfer the custard to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, to cool slightly. With the mixer running, beat in the butter, a little at a time.

7. Pour the pastry cream/custard into the pie shell and smooth the top. Refrigerate until very cold, 2 to 3 hours.

*Be careful here and GO SLOW. Temper is the key word!*

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