12 February 2011

Chocolate Cream Pie

Only one pie ended up making it to our church's Super Bowl Party, but it was certainly well received. This week's offering comes from Mr. Haedrich: Chocolate Cream Pie with Cinnamon Meringue. I'm developing quite the fondness for meringues, and they're dead simple to whip up.
Combine 2.25c milk, 1.25c sugar, 0.33c cornstarch, 2oz chopped chocolate*, 3 egg yolks (save the whites!), and a quarter-teaspoon of salt in a large saucepan. Whisk constantly over medium heat until uniformly chocolate-brown and boiling, then cook for two minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour into a cooled 9-inch pie shell and top with cinnamon meringue. Bake 8-10 minutes @ 350° until meringue is lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack and serve either barely warm or chilled (don't cover it in the fridge).
Cinnamon Meringue: Beat three room-temperature egg whites and 1/4 tsp cream of tartar to soft peaks. Add in a mixture of 0.25c sugar and one half-teaspoon of cinnamon, a little at a time, beating until incorporated. The meringue should end up thick, glossy, and not dry.
-from Pie by Ken Haedrich

For everything that went wrong with the Coconut Cream Pie, this pie was a cinch to put together. The filling cooks up in short order to create the Best. Chocolate Pudding. Ever. In fact, whenever you hear "cream pie" just substitute "pudding pie" in your brain, although "cream pie" sounds more civilized. Seriously, I think I'm going to look up this recipe for the next time I'm in a pudding mood. Forget the crust - just give me a pan of filling, a spoon, and ten minutes to myself. I wonder how it would be with butterscotch chips or cinnamon chips or different extracts besides vanilla (rum? almond? mint?)

Anyone else thinking of Bill Cosby?

Once the filling is cooked, the pie is nearly done. The shell is pre-baked, so it's a matter of dump and go - no baking of the filling. Whip up the meringue, which is stunning with the little flecks of cinnamon, spread it on top (so much easier when the filling sets up!), and run it into the oven just to make the meringue look irresistible.

The smell of cinnamon when this comes out is great. After cooling, slice up the pie (I suggest twelfths - plenty of pie in a portion) and enjoy the spicy foaminess of the meringue with the unctuousness of the chocolate pudding filling. Really, the crust is just there to hold it all in on this one.

I think we may have a new favorite around here, but I'll have to make it again to check. ;-)

*Need I mention that the better the chocolate, the better the chocolate cream/pudding? That said, if all you have lying around the pantry are Toll House morsels, go for it! You won't be sorry.

Next time: The "Opposite" of Chocolate


  1. Holy chocolate, Batman! If I hadn't already started on a pumpkin pie an hour ago, I would totally make this. It's definitely on the queue for next weekend.

    A couple questions:
    1. Does he specify dark or milk chocolate? Could one use a mixture of the two? Does it really matter?
    2. What should one do if one does not have cornstarch? Could flour be substituted, or could it be left out altogether? (Turns out that cornstarch is the one ingredient I always, ALWAYS forget at the store, even if it's on the list.)

  2. I used baking chocolate. I wonder if a more 'prepared' chocolate would act the same way or if it would be too sweet. Experiment! I think it'd be great with some really dark chocolate.

    As for the cornstarch, I'm not sure how it would be substituted. I would think that flour might not be as smooth and the raw flavor of the flour might come through without it being more cooked. All of the cream pie recipes I have call for cornstarch. If you try it with the flour, let me know how it goes.