3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (corn flour)
1/4 cup (25 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-processed)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cup (400 ml) milk, divided (whole or 2% reduced fat)
1/3 cup (80 ml) heavy whipping cream (35-45% butterfat content)
3 large egg yolks
3 ounces (90 grams) semisweet (or bittersweet) chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature (cut into small pieces)
1 cup (130 grams) all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (35 grams) confectioners sugar (powdered or icing sugar)
1/2 cup (113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream (35 - 40% butterfat content)
1-2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
Grated or shaved chocolate
Chocolate Filling: In a medium-sized heatproof bowl whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt. Then whisk in 1/3 cup (80 ml) of the milk to make a thick paste. Add the egg yolks and whisk into the cocoa paste mixture. Set aside while you heat the milk and cream. Have ready a strainer placed over a bowl as you will need to strain the pudding after it is cooked.
Pour the remaining 1 1/3 cups (320 ml) milk with the cream into a medium-sized heavy saucepan. Bring this mixture just to a boil (the milk will start to foam up) and then remove from heat. Gradually pour the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, until the mixture is smooth. Transfer the pudding mixture to a clean, heavy bottomed medium sized saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of mayonnaise (about 3 - 5 minutes). Remove from heat and pour through the strainer to remove any lumps that may have formed during cooking. Add the finely chopped chocolate, vanilla extract, and butter, stirring gently with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth. Cover with plastic wrap, to prevent a skin from forming, let cool, and then chill in the refrigerator until thick (for at least four hours, or even overnight).
Shortbread Crust: Lightly butter, or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, a 9 inch (23 cm) pie or tart pan.
In your food processor, place the flour, sugar, and salt and process to combine. Add the cold butter and pulse until the pastry starts to come together and form clumps. Transfer the pastry to your pie or tart pan and, using your fingertips, evenly press the pastry onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Gently pierce the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork. Cover and place the pastry crust in the freezer for 15 minutes to chill.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven.
Place the tart pan on a larger baking sheet and bake the crust until golden brown, about 13 - 15 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Then fill with the chilled chocolate filling.
Topping: In a chilled large bowl, with the whisk attachment, beat the whipping cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Either pipe or spread the whipped cream on top of the filling. Garnish with grated chocolate if you like. Refrigerate, if not serving immediately.
Serves about 8-12 people.
Chocolate pudding lovers take notice. This Chocolate Pie takes a velvety smooth chocolate pudding and combines it with a buttery crisp shortbread crust. And if that weren't enough, it is garnished with swirls of lightly sweetened whipped cream. Absolutely delicious and the ultimate in comfort food.
The dilemna when making a Chocolate Pie is what type of crust to use. Sometimes I use a graham cracker crumb crust but my favorite is this buttery crisp Shortbread Crust that makes enough pastry for either an 8 or 9 inch (20 to 23 cm) pie or tart. This Shortbread Crust is easily made in your food processor. Make sure to have the butter cold from the refrigerator and cut it into small pieces so it blends easily into the flour. Pulse the ingredients just until the pastry starts to clump together, but is not a solid ball. Then transfer the pastry to your pan and spread it evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pan. This can be done with your fingers or the back of a spoon. The bottom of the pastry is then pricked to prevent puffing up during baking. Common practice is to line and fill the unbaked pastry crust with pie weights or rice before baking to prevent the pastry from shrinking and puffing up. But you can eliminate this step by putting the unbaked shortbread crust in the freezer for 15 minutes. This sets the crust which prevents these problems. Once the crust is baked until golden brown let it cool completely before filling with the chilled chocolate filling. If you like, you can make the crust a few days in advance. Just cover and store at room temperature.
The chocolate filling uses both unsweetened cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate, which gives it a deep chocolate flavor. It is really a pudding, which is like making a 'cooked' custard with a little cornstarch (corn flour) added to make it nice and thick. The danger zone is cooking it over too high a heat causing lumps or even worse, scorching. To avoid these pitfalls use a heavy bottomed saucepan and cook it over medium low heat, stirring constantly with a large heatproof rubber spatula. Make sure when stirring you reach the bottom, sides and corners of the saucepan to prevent the filling from sticking and scorching. As you cook the filling it may look lumpy but if you stir quickly the lumps should smooth out. Once the filling has become thick, like mayonnaise, remove immediately from the heat. Straining the filling will help get rid of any lumps that may have formed. Once you have added the chopped chocolate, vanilla and butter avoid over mixing the ingredients as the filling is quite fragile at this stage. The filling does need to be cooled and then chilled in the refrigerator until quite thick (at least four hours, or even overnight).
The final step is to make the whipped cream which is made with heavy (whipping) cream (cream with a 35 - 45% butterfat content) (cream that when whipped will double in volume and hold its form). You can simply spread the whipped cream over the chocolate filling or place it into a piping bag, fitted with a star tip, and pipe swirls of cream. Garnish with chocolate shavings, if desired. If not serving immediately, cover and store in the refrigerator. The day the Chocolate Pie is made, the shortbread crust will be nice and crisp. However, once stored the crust will soften, but it is still absolutely delicious.