fb-pixelRecipe: Make this dreamy, delicious chocolate cream pie for your Thanksgiving table - The Boston Globe Skip to main content
THANKSGIVING RECIPES

Recipe: Make this dreamy, delicious chocolate cream pie for your Thanksgiving table

Chocolate Cream PieSally Pasley Vargas

Makes one 9-inch pie

Chocolate cream pie is no stranger to the Thanksgiving table, though depending on your grandmother's tastes, the rich chocolate pudding filling can be topped with either meringue or whipped cream. Here, we opt for whipped cream because frankly, there really is no choice between the two. The brilliant thing about this pie is that it can be made in stages, which lets a harried holiday cook space out the work over several days. Make the dough up to a week in advance, then roll it out, line the pie pan, and tuck the pan into the freezer. On Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving, bake the shell blind (without filling). Fully baked, it will keep, covered, on the counter, for a couple of days. Next, make the chocolate pudding, and pour it into the baked shell. Don't skip the step of covering the pudding directly with plastic wrap, or an undesirable skin will form on the top. The pudding needs to chill completely before serving. Ideally, complete this step on Wednesday. Then, just before dinner on Thursday (or even just before dessert), softly whip the cream until luscious peaks form. Mound the cream high on top of the pudding, and garnish with chocolate curls or shavings. For curls, warm a large hunk of chocolate in your hand, and slowly run a vegetable peeler down the side of the chocolate; you won't use the whole piece. If that seems too fussy, simply dust the top with cocoa powder. Your guests will find this pie dreamy and delicious.

    PASTRY

    • cups flour

    • ¼

      teaspoon salt

    • ¼

      teaspoon baking powder

    • 2

      tablespoons sugar

    • 6

      tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

    • 1

      teaspoon distilled white vinegar or cider vinegar

    • 3

      tablespoons ice water, or more if needed

    • Extra flour (for sprinkling)

  • 1. Have on hand a 9-inch pie pan.

  • 2. In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar to blend them. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

  • 3. Add the vinegar and ice water. Pulse a few times until the mixture forms clumps.

  • 4. Turn out on a lightly floured counter. Knead just until the dough comes together in a ball that feels dry, not sticky. If the dough does not come together, sprinkle with ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Shape into a flat disk. Wrap in foil and refrigerate for 25 minutes.

  • 5. On a lightly floured counter, roll the dough to a 12-inch round. Lift it onto the rolling pin and ease it into the pan. Fold the dough overhang under itself like a hem. Press the rim of the dough so that it is 1/4-inch higher than the pan. Crimp the edge decoratively.

  • 6. With a fork, gently prick the bottom of the crust a dozen times (these holes release steam during baking). Freeze the crust for 30 minutes.

  • 7. Set the oven at 375 degrees.

  • 8. Line the inside of the pie with parchment paper or foil, pressing it into the crust. Fill the liner with dried beans or pie weights, pushing them into the edges of the pan.

  • 9. Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Carefully lift out the liner and weights and transfer to a plate (keep the weights for another pie). If the bottom of the dough looks puffy, prick the pastry again with the fork. Return the crust to the oven and continue baking for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is fully baked and no longer shiny. (Total baking time is 30 to 35 minutes.) Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

  • FILLING

    • cups sugar

    • cup cornstarch

    • ½

      cup unsweetened cocoa powder

    • ½

      teaspoon salt

    • 3

      cups whole milk

    • 4

      egg yolks

    • 2

      tablespoons unsalted butter

    • 1

      ounce semisweet chocolate

    • 1

      teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1. In a heavy-based saucepan off the heat, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk in the milk until the dry ingredients are mostly incorporated.

  • 2. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks.

  • 3. Set the pan over medium heat, and bring the liquid to a simmer, whisking constantly. With a ladle, transfer several ladles of hot liquid to the bowl of egg yolks, whisking constantly with the hand that is not ladling. Stir the egg yolk mixture into the pan and continue whisking until the pudding comes to a boil.

  • 4. Cook, whisking constantly, for 90 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the butter, chocolate, and vanilla. Stir until melted.

  • 5. Pour the hot pudding into the pie shell. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for several hours, ideally overnight, or until the pudding is completely chilled.

  • CREAM

    • cups heavy cream

    • 2

      teaspoons sugar

    • ½

      teaspoon vanilla extract

    • 1

      ounce semisweet chocolate

  • 1. In an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla until the cream forms medium peaks.

  • 2. Transfer the whipped cream to the pie and swirl decoratively with the back of a spoon or offset metal spatula. Grate the chocolate and sprinkle the chocolate shavings on the cream. Refrigerate until serving.

Karoline Boehm Goodnick

Makes one 9-inch pie

Chocolate cream pie is no stranger to the Thanksgiving table, though depending on your grandmother's tastes, the rich chocolate pudding filling can be topped with either meringue or whipped cream. Here, we opt for whipped cream because frankly, there really is no choice between the two. The brilliant thing about this pie is that it can be made in stages, which lets a harried holiday cook space out the work over several days. Make the dough up to a week in advance, then roll it out, line the pie pan, and tuck the pan into the freezer. On Tuesday or Wednesday before Thanksgiving, bake the shell blind (without filling). Fully baked, it will keep, covered, on the counter, for a couple of days. Next, make the chocolate pudding, and pour it into the baked shell. Don't skip the step of covering the pudding directly with plastic wrap, or an undesirable skin will form on the top. The pudding needs to chill completely before serving. Ideally, complete this step on Wednesday. Then, just before dinner on Thursday (or even just before dessert), softly whip the cream until luscious peaks form. Mound the cream high on top of the pudding, and garnish with chocolate curls or shavings. For curls, warm a large hunk of chocolate in your hand, and slowly run a vegetable peeler down the side of the chocolate; you won't use the whole piece. If that seems too fussy, simply dust the top with cocoa powder. Your guests will find this pie dreamy and delicious.

PASTRY

cups flour
¼teaspoon salt
¼teaspoon baking powder
2tablespoons sugar
6tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1teaspoon distilled white vinegar or cider vinegar
3tablespoons ice water, or more if needed
Extra flour (for sprinkling)

1. Have on hand a 9-inch pie pan.

2. In a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar to blend them. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

3. Add the vinegar and ice water. Pulse a few times until the mixture forms clumps.

4. Turn out on a lightly floured counter. Knead just until the dough comes together in a ball that feels dry, not sticky. If the dough does not come together, sprinkle with ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Shape into a flat disk. Wrap in foil and refrigerate for 25 minutes.

5. On a lightly floured counter, roll the dough to a 12-inch round. Lift it onto the rolling pin and ease it into the pan. Fold the dough overhang under itself like a hem. Press the rim of the dough so that it is 1/4-inch higher than the pan. Crimp the edge decoratively.

6. With a fork, gently prick the bottom of the crust a dozen times (these holes release steam during baking). Freeze the crust for 30 minutes.

7. Set the oven at 375 degrees.

8. Line the inside of the pie with parchment paper or foil, pressing it into the crust. Fill the liner with dried beans or pie weights, pushing them into the edges of the pan.

9. Bake the crust for 15 minutes. Carefully lift out the liner and weights and transfer to a plate (keep the weights for another pie). If the bottom of the dough looks puffy, prick the pastry again with the fork. Return the crust to the oven and continue baking for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the crust is fully baked and no longer shiny. (Total baking time is 30 to 35 minutes.) Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

FILLING

cups sugar
cup cornstarch
½cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½teaspoon salt
3cups whole milk
4 egg yolks
2tablespoons unsalted butter
1ounce semisweet chocolate
1teaspoon vanilla extract

1. In a heavy-based saucepan off the heat, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk in the milk until the dry ingredients are mostly incorporated.

2. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks.

3. Set the pan over medium heat, and bring the liquid to a simmer, whisking constantly. With a ladle, transfer several ladles of hot liquid to the bowl of egg yolks, whisking constantly with the hand that is not ladling. Stir the egg yolk mixture into the pan and continue whisking until the pudding comes to a boil.

4. Cook, whisking constantly, for 90 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the butter, chocolate, and vanilla. Stir until melted.

5. Pour the hot pudding into the pie shell. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for several hours, ideally overnight, or until the pudding is completely chilled.

CREAM

cups heavy cream
2teaspoons sugar
½teaspoon vanilla extract
1ounce semisweet chocolate

1. In an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla until the cream forms medium peaks.

2. Transfer the whipped cream to the pie and swirl decoratively with the back of a spoon or offset metal spatula. Grate the chocolate and sprinkle the chocolate shavings on the cream. Refrigerate until serving.Karoline Boehm Goodnick


THANKSGIVING MENU FOR 8