I’m always looking for delicious desserts to share with friends and family, especially over the holidays when people are ready to splurge a bit. Over the years, I have collected a few really dependable, basic recipes which I tweak as necessary to create something new. After all, no one wants to eat the same thing over and over again.
Since Thanksgiving is a holiday known for pies, I wanted to make a few pies for our holiday dessert table that did not require a lot of effort. One of my all time favorites is chocolate cream pie and when I come across an old time diner that makes its desserts from scratch, that’s what I always order. This scathingly rich and decadent wedge of chocolate heaven usually comes topped with either meringue or whipped cream — whipped cream being my favorite. Usually, the crust is a pastry dough, but to be honest, I prefer a chocolate cookie crust. When I make it at home, I always use either a chocolate hydrox wafer or these Nabisco ‘famous’ chocolate wafers used in those ice box cakes. If you choose to use a pastry dough, remember that you will have to blind bake the crust first, and once it’s cool, pour in your chocolate filling.
This year, I jazzed it up a bit by making a dark chocolate cream AND a white chocolate cream, then I topped it with a thin layer of my quick ganache. This version of chocolate cream pie is so delicious, and it made the final result even more elegant. This dessert is best enjoyed about 2 or 3 days after it is made because the chocolate crust softens slightly after absorbing some of the moisture from the custard and provides a softer mouth feel, along with slicing a little better.
So if you want to make a really delicious, classic chocolate cream pie, I would suggest that you stick to using a really good bittersweet chocolate. Whether you make it all dark chocolate or part white and part dark chocolate, this delicious dessert never fails to please.
Black And White Chocolate Cream Pie
1 recipe Vanilla Pastry Cream
½ cup good quality white chocolate (I use Cocoa Barry)
½ cup bittersweet chocolate (I use Guittard or Ghirardelli)
1 box Chocolate wafers
1 stick butter, melted
Chocolate ganache (see recipe below)
1 cup whipped cream slightly sweetened with powdered sugar (and some cocoa powder if you like) to top each portion
Place the chocolate wafers into your food processor, finely grind them and place them in a small bowl. Place the stick of butter into a microwave safe bowl and melt then pour over the cookie crumbs. Use a spoon to stir the butter evenly into the cookie crumbs.
I like to use a stainless steel rim to make these types of pies, so if you have one, place it on a parchment lined sheet pan. You can also use a pie dish or pie pan for this. Place about half of the cookie crumbs into the bottom of the rim (or pie dish) and use a flat utensil (I use the flat lid of an old jar) to press the cookie crumbs into the base to compact them. Once you’ve done this, it’s time to build the sides. Take 1 heaping tablespoon of cookie crumbs and place it on the side of the rim, then repeat this until you have used up all of the crumbs around the edge of the rim. Use the flat utensil to pack the crumbs against the side so that it is even all the way around. You can check the link here for step by step pictures of how to make the crust. Bake the crust in a preheated 350° F oven for about 12-15 minutes, then remove and cool completely.
Before you begin preparing the vanilla custard, place ½ cup of bittersweet chocolate in one bowl and ½ cup of a good quality white chocolate in another bowl. Prepare the vanilla custard according to the directions at the link above, and once completed, pour half of the custard into each bowl, then stir with a spoon to combine the custard with the chocolate in each bowl.
Once the custards have cooled slightly, pour the dark chocolate into the crust first and even it out as best as you can. Then, pour over the white chocolate custard and try to even out the top again as best you can. Take a piece of plastic wrap, and cover the entire surface of the white chocolate custard so that it does not develop a skin. Allow it to cool completely at room temperature, then refrigerate it overnight.
The next day, prepare the quick ganache and pour a thin layer over the top of the pie, and refrigerate this again. This isn’t necessary but adds a little more elegance to the pie. Top each portion with some whipped cream, and keep refrigerated until ready to serve. To slice cleanly, use a large knife dipped in warm water and then wiped clean. The warm knife will cut cleanly through the ganache, custard and crust.
Quick Chocolate Ganache
1 cup heavy cream
2½ cups chocolate chips
Heat the cream in the microwave until hot then add in the chocolate chips and stir until melted completely. If you need to heat it a little more, then just do it for short burst of time, about 15-20 seconds each time so the chocolate does not burn. Stir each time and then once the chips have melted, pass this through a sieve into a clean, dry bowl. Use this right away to pour over the pie, or allow it to cool completely then cover and store in the refrigerator or freezer.