When I was a kid, my father used to go out of his way to stop at a bakery in Portsmouth, NH that sold a very unusual chocolate cream pie. The pudding filling was extra light, looser than most (in a good way) and cradled in a flaky, all butter crust. I've done my best to re-create this delight from my childhood, as the bakery is long gone. Those expecting clean lines when slicing will be disappointed, but for people who love pudding, this is a fantastic treat.
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- One half recipe Easy Pie Dough, shaped and chilled in a pie plate
- 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces (about 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) granulated sugar, divided
- 16 ounces (2 cups) whole milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 10 ounces (1 1/4 cups) heavy cream, chilled and whipped to soft peaks
- Optional: additional dark chocolate for shaving on top
Dampen the surface of a rimmed baking sheet and line the bottom and sides with plastic wrap. Keep the roll of plastic wrap handy, and set aside. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave by microwaving in 15 second increments in a microwave-safe bowl until melted and keep warm.
In a medium sized bowl, combine the starch, salt, and half the sugar and whisk together until incorporated. Add the yolks and whisk for 2 minutes without stopping. Mixture should be pale yellow with thick ribbons. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the other half of the sugar and milk and stir to combine. Set over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat. Whisking constantly, slowly add hot milk to yolk mixture a few tablespoons at a time. When half of milk mixture has been added, pour the egg mixture back into the pot with the remaining milk and whisk to combine.
Return pan to low heat and continue to whisk as the mixture thickens. Whisk through the lumps until the pastry cream becomes smooth. When it begins to bubble, whisk for two additional minutes, then remove from heat. Whisk in the vanilla extract. With a large rubber spatula, stir in the warm, melted chocolate until it is fully blended. Scrape the pudding out onto the prepared sheet and press another layer of plastic over the surface. Allow it to cool to room temperature. Transfer to the fridge to chill for at least two hours.
Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and preheat oven to 425°F. When oven is ready, line chilled pie shell with foil or parchment paper and fill with weights (I reuse dried beans for this), and bake on the lowest rack of the oven for 15 minutes. Remove weights and liner, turn pie, and bake until the bottom crust is a golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove pie shell from oven and allow to cool completely.
When ready to serve: Place the chilled chocolate pudding in a bowl, it will be very stiff and rubbery. Whisk the pudding until it is smooth. Add 1/4 of the whipped cream, stirring to lighten and incorporate completely into the pudding. Fold in the rest of the cream, reserving approximately 2 ounces, which you will use for piping on top. Scrape the lightened pudding into the cooled pie shell. Pipe the remaining cream on top of the pie and using a microplate or peeler, shave chocolate over the top. Chill for up to 1 hour before eating.