Chocolate cream pie is an indulgent choice for dessert any time of the year. Made with plenty of chocolate, the filling can range from milk chocolate to dark chocolate to suit the preferences of the chef. As a white chocolate fan (I like all chocolates, really), I find that white chocolate gets overlooked when it can make an amazing chocolate cream pie. This vanilla-infused White Chocolate Cream Pie is one that makes a nice change of pace from darker chocolate pies and will win over those who aren’t quite sure that a white chocolate dessert is for them.
The pudding-like filling is cooked on the stovetop and poured into a prebaked and cooled pie crust. The filling starts with milk, sugar and eggs and is enriched with white chocolate. As always when working with white chocolate, use a good quality white chocolate made with real cocoa butter (no other vegetable fats) and flavored with real vanilla. A good white chocolate should have a nice balance of vanilla, dairy and sweetness, along with a creamy mouthfeel, and you want all those features in your finished pie. The pie is denser than a pudding, though the filling resembles pudding when you are preparing it on the stovetop, and it slices easily. It is relatively light in texture and not nearly as sweet as you might suspect. The vanilla and white chocolate come through wonderfully in the finished pie. You can pile whipped cream on top of the whole pie before serving or simply dollop a little on to each piece.
This pie starts with a pre-baked pie crust. You can use a graham cracker crust if you are looking to save a little time, but I highly recommend using a pastry crust instead because the lighter texture makes a nice contrast for the chocolaty filling. The filling should be baked and cooled completely before the filling is added. The pie needs to be refrigerated before serving and will keep for 2-3 days after you make it, giving you plenty of time to enjoy it.
White Chocolate Cream Pie
1 9-inch prebaked pie shell
2 cups milk (any kind, pref. low fat or whole)
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
4 oz white chocolate, chopped
approx 2-3 cups Lightly Sweetened Whipped Cream, for topping
In a medium saucepan, combine milk and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Bring to a simmer, whisking occasionally just to dissolve the sugar. Milk will be ready just as it begins to steam.
While the milk heats, whisk together egg, egg yolks, remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the cornstarch until smooth. Temper the egg mixture with the hot milk, whisking constantly while slowly drizzling the hot milk into the egg mixture.
Return the mix to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until the pudding starts to become very thick (2-3 minutes). Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute then take off the heat. Whisk in butter, vanilla and white chocolate chocolate until everything comes together and filling looks smooth and uniform. Pour into prepared pie crust.
Cover filling with a sheet of plastic wrap to prevent a “skin” from forming. Allow pie to come to room temperature about 60 minutes, then refrigerate until well-chilled, about 4-6 hours.
Top generously with lightly sweetened whipped cream before serving.