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Chocolate Pudding Pie

To make decorative chocolate curls, wrap a medium-size chunk of semisweet chocolate in plastic wrap. Rub the wrapped chocolate between your hands for 1 or 2 minutes to warm it; the chocolate should not melt. For larger chunks, microwave on low for about 5 seconds. Unwrap the chocolate and, using a vegetable peeler, slowly and evenly scrape the edge of the chunk until curls form. If the chocolate is cold, the peeler will make ragged shavings rather than curls, so repeat warming the chocolate as necessary.

Ingredients:

For the filling:

  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 5 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped into slivers
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3⁄4 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1⁄4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cookie crumb crust (see related recipe at
       left), made with chocolate cookies

For the topping:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbs. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Chocolate curls for decorating

Directions:

To make the filling, in a heavy nonaluminum saucepan over low heat, warm together the milk and chocolate, whisking until the chocolate is melted; the mixture will be speckled.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow. Add the cornstarch and salt, then the vanilla, and whisk until well blended. Slowly pour the warm chocolate mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly until well blended. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until it thickens and begins to bubble slowly, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth, about 1 minute.

Pour the filling into the crumb crust and smooth with a spatula. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface, and refrigerate until completely cold and firm, 2 to 3 hours.

To make the topping, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed or a whisk, beat together the cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Spread the whipped cream on top of the pie. Decorate with chocolate curls. Refrigerate until ready to serve, but let the pie stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving to take the chill off.
Makes one 9-inch pie; serves 8.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Pie & Tart, by Carolyn Beth Weil (Simon & Schuster, 2003).