Chocolate cream pie is essentially a pudding-like chocolate filling that is spooned into a pre-baked pie shell. The creamy filling is a good contrast for the crispy pastry crust and the filling is relatively easy to make since it doesn’t have to be baked in the oven. There are a lot of chocolate cream pie recipes out there that start with instant pudding. They’re easy to whip up with a product like that, but making a filling from scratch is not difficult either and the flavor of a made-from-scratch chocolate cream pie is hard to beat. And when you make your filling from scratch, you have the flexibility to customize the flavors to suit your tastes – for instance, you can use dark chocolate to really amp up the amount of chocolate flavor you get in each bite.
This Dark Chocolate Cream Pie has a rich dark chocolate pudding filling in a chocolate crumb pie crust that adds even more depth to the dessert. The dark chocolate pudding is made with both cocoa powder and dark chocolate, giving it a deep cocoa flavor and ensuring that the filling for the pie is not too sweet. A little bit of vanilla rounds out the chocolate flavors and makes the pudding rich and very satisfying. Since the filling is prepared on the stovetop, I used a No-Bake Oreo Pie Crust for my recipe, although a regular chocolate crumb crust that has been prebaked will work just as well and still deliver a good chocolate flavor. The filling will continue to thicken as the pie cooks, so it is important that you prepare a pie like this one several hours before you intend to serve it, or to prepare it the night before.
It is common to top of chocolate cream pies with a big pile of whipped cream to contrast with all that chocolate in the filling. I personally go for chocolate cream pies when I really want a chocolate fix and don’t want to cut the flavor back with whipped cream. I tend to serve whipped cream on the side, so those who want a dollop can add one on, and those who want their pie ungarnished can do the same. The other good thing about serving the pie this way is that whipped cream looks and tastes best when it is fresh, and if you’re not going to eat the pie all in one sitting, a topping can start to look a bit soggy after a day or so in the fridge.
Dark Chocolate Cream Pie
1 9-inch no-bake Oreo pie crust or other prebaked pie shell
2 cups milk (any kind, pref. whole)
3/4 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, room temperature and cut into 4-5 pieces
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
approx 2-3 cups Lightly Sweetened Whipped Cream, for topping (optional)
In a large bowl, whisk together milk, sugar, egg yolks, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt until all of the ingredients have been very well combined and the mixture is smooth.
Transfer to a large saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring continuously and scraping the bottom of the pan with a spatula, until the mixture begins to thicken and pudding comes to a boil. Cook for 30 to 60 seconds, still stirring constantly, once it comes to a boil then then remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in butter, vanilla and dark chocolate until everything comes together and dark chocolate has been completely incorporated. Pour into prepared pie crust.
Cover filling with a sheet of saran wrap to prevent a “skin” from forming. Allow pie to sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours, then refrigerate until well-chilled, about 4-6 hours. Serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream on the side.