Bob and my mom have one big thing in common (besides loving me!): they're both crazy about chocolate. And this Classic Chocolate Cream Pie is among their favorite desserts.
I usually save this creamy chocolate creation for Bob's birthday. But I scored extra points by making it recently as a "Happy Mother's Day" for Mom and "Happy Anniversary" to Bob. Don't you just love multi-tasking?!
You begin by baking a ready-made pie crust. To help it keep its shape, I filled my crust with these pie weights from Crate & Barrel because I thought they were fun! But dried pinto beans or black-eyed peas have the same effect.
While the crust cools, you make the luscious milk-chocolate filling from scratch. There's no instant pudding mix involved here. Instead, you'll need sugar, unsweetened chocolate, flour, salt, milk, beaten egg yolks, butter and vanilla. Although I'm normally a fan of low-fat milk, whole or 2% works best here.
You put the sugar, chocolate, flour and salt in a saucepan. Slowly add the milk while cooking the mixture over medium heat and stirring it with a whisk to avoid lumps. Continue cooking and whisking until the chocolate melts, the mixture thickens and you see big bubbles. Cook for another two minutes (set a timer), while whisking. Then take the pan off the burner.
Now, it's time to add the egg yolks. They help give the filling a nice, rich taste. But to keep them from cooking too quickly, you'll need to raise their temperature slowly or "temper" them. Pour about a cup (eyeball it) of the hot mixture into the yolks, whisking until they're well combined.
Pour the filling into the cooled crust and top with some wax paper before popping the pie into a preheated 350° oven. 15 minutes later, pull it from the oven, remove the wax paper and place the pie on a wire rack to cool.
After it cools completely, cover this chocolate-lover's dream with whipped topping (we like Cool Whip Lite) and roasted pecans before refrigerating. Or save the toppings and spoon as much (or as little) as you like on each slice before serving. Either way, you've got a winner!
Bake pie shell according to package directions and let it cool completely.
Preheat oven to 350°. Spread a single layer of chopped pecans on a baking sheet. Bake 5 - 8 minutes or until slightly browned. Set aside.
Combine sugar, chocolate, flour and salt in a medium saucepan. Gradually add milk, whisking and cooking over medium heat until chocolate is melted and very large bubbles form. Continue cooking and whisking for 2 minutes. Remove pan from burner.
Pour around a cup of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks, stirring to combine. Return the egg yolk mixture to the saucepan. Cook over medium heat 2 more minutes, whisking constantly. Remove pan from burner. Add butter and vanilla, stirring until butter melts.
Pour into cooled pastry shell. Cover filling with wax paper. Bake in preheated 350° oven for 15 minutes. Cool completely.
Spread on whipped topping and sprinkle with roasted pecans. Store in refrigerator.
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