There is something magical about a cold, creamy triple chocolate cream pie in summer. It is rich and decadent, but doesn't make you feel heavy and gross after having a slice for a summer dessert. It is one of my favorite chocolate things to make in summer and it could not be easier to make one yourself.
I have been making chocolate cream pie forever, and tried countless variations. I find this one to be my favorite. For years I made this simplified chocolate pudding pie, that is a cocoa-only pudding. But in the last several years I made the switch to a chocolate pudding using three kinds of chocolate, making my pie really packed with maximum chocolate flavor. The custard is thick and dense, not soft, and can hold up nicely when sliced into a big ole piece.
I like to to top this with a creme fraiche whipped cream. Creme fraiche is French sour cream, and it is so much better than it American counterpart. Additionally, here are two reasons you should buy some (I get mine at my regular grocery store in the fancy cheese section, I bet you can too) and try it out (and not just on this pie, but all kinds of pies - this one in particular):
1. Creme fraiche cuts the sweetness a bit, which is a good thing. It has a tangy flavor that compliments the sweetness and richness of the chocolate.
2. Creme fraiche has THE BEST texture. It has so much more body than plain whipped cream. Also it is not shiny and waxy like American sour cream either...I mean, the French just do it better.
For a crust on this, I used chocolate graham crackers that I pulsed in the food processor, but chocolate wafer cookies would work as well. Or and Oreo crust would be awesome too. Alternatively, if you are pressed for time...go buy one! The ready made chocolate wafer or Oreo pie crusts are fine and taste delicious! Improvise my friends and make it work for you. I happened to have chocolate graham crackers around from a failed s'mores attempt (DO NOT use these in place of regular graham crackers) where I thought they would be more awesome and different. Not good, and not recommended. But this pie sure is...
Chocolate cream pie
For the crust
- 1 cup of crushed chocolate graham crackers took about 9-10 whole graham crackers pulsed in food processor
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- pinch of salt
- 4 tablespoons melted (half stick unsalted butter - if using salted butter omit the pinch of salt
For the filling
- 1 ⅓ cups sugar
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 3 ½ cups half and half
- 4 large egg yolks
- 4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chopped
- 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon salt - if using salted butter reduce this to just a pinch
For the creme fraiche whipped cream
- 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
- ¼ cup of creme fraiche
- To make the crust, preheat the oven to 35Place graham crumbs, sugar and salt in a bowl and add the butter and mix together to moisten the graham crumbs. Firmly press mixture into 9-inch pie dish, pressing up the sides as well. Bake until crust sets, about 6-8 minutes. Set aside while making the filling.
- To make the filling whisk together the sugar, cocoa, and cornstarch in heavy medium saucepan - and do this gently or the cocoa powder with poof out all over your face. Next, slowly whisk in the half and half and yolks. Put over medium heat and continue whisking until the custard thickens and boils. Whisk the entire time or it will burn, separate or some other gross thing will happen to it. Remove from heat. Add both chocolates and butter; whisk until melted and smooth. Mix in vanilla and salt. Pour into the pie crust and immediately cover with plastic wrap, so that the plastic is touching the top of the custard (this prevents a skin from forming on the custard as it cools, so don't skip this part).
- Put the pie in the fridge for at least a few hours or overnight, it needs to be completely cold when eating and topping with the whipped cream.
- To make the whipped cream, beat the heavy cream and powdered sugar either in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Add the creme fraiche and beat until incorporated. Spread on the cold pie and garnish with some chocolate shavings or with nothing and just start eating.