I have a confession to make… I am not a chocoholic. There. I said it. I feel better now. What’s the big deal you ask? Well it’s precisely this: Evidently the world believes that you cannot be a real woman if you are not hopelessly addicted to chocolate. I have gathered from people’s responses to my confession that if you don’t constantly need chocolate like a heroin addict needs a fix then you have committed treason against woman kind and cannot count yourself as one of them. Personally I think that’s stupid. That’s like saying a man isn’t a man unless he absolutely can’t live without beer. My husband hates beer- and believe me he is all man! So when it comes to people talking about how they just can’t go a day without chocolate I just smile and try to not comment. That being said, I think a world without chocolate would be a sad place indeed. While not my absolute favorite thing in the world, I do enjoy it quite a lot from time to time. Every now and then I just want something rich and chocolatey. This pie is perfect for that. Actually this pie is perfect for a few things now that I think on it. Not only is it perfect for a little something chocolatey, it’s also good for those who don’t keep baking chocolate and whipping cream on hand. It’s also perfect for those who are still intimidated by the process of tempering eggs. (For those not yet in the know: combining small amounts of boiling mixture into eggs while stirring like crazy so the eggs don’t curdle in the finished product is “tempering the eggs”.) And for those who are with me in committing treason against women this might just get you back in good graces! :.)

Start with a blind baked pie crust. Blind baking is, of course, baking the pie crust while it is empty. To do this you really do need some pie weights so that it doesn’t bubble in places and ruin the crust for the filling. These are my pie weights…

That’s right- they are just beans. Plain old, ordinary, cheap beans. Sure, you can buy pie weights. They are sold as either clay balls (similar in size to beans) or as a steel chain of beads (also similar in size to beans) for anywhere from about $6 up to about $20. But why in the world would you do that if you can use beans for a fraction of the cost?! For my pie weights I used a bag of beans I had kicking around the back of my pantry for the last 2 years and they work a treat! Just line your pie pan with your crust, line your crust with parchment paper, and pour in your beans. Here’s a tip for a faster baking crust: preheat your beans in another pie pan in the oven. If you don’t, the crust that should take 10-20 minutes to bake will take 40-50 minutes because the beans have to heat up first. You can reuse the beans just like the purchased pie weights- you just can’t ever use them in anything else. After they’ve been baked like that they will never be edible again. But you can use them for years as pie weights so it’s ok :.)

Once you’ve baked your crust you should have something that looks like this…

“It’s broken!” you say. Yes, it is. But that’s ok. They are small cracks and once the filling goes in it won’t matter. Small cracks are not a big deal. Big bubbles because you didn’t use pie weights are the deal breaker.

Next, make your pudding. As I mentioned, this recipe does not call for cream or baking chocolate. This is all it takes for a chocolate cream pie…

I bet you already have all of this in your pantry (and fridge), don’t you? Good! Now on to making the pudding. Once you start this it is going to look like it will never work. When you beat the eggs and the sugar together the result will be very grainy. I couldn’t get a picture that wasn’t blurry so I don’t have one to include. And when you add the rest of the ingredients to the egg & sugar mixture it will look like this…

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking the same thing I did the first time I made this pie. “How on Earth will that ever turn into smooth chocolate pudding?!” And the next step really isn’t any more comforting. Now is when you whisk in the milk. This is what you end up with…

It’s foamy and grainy and not much of a confidence booster. But all will be well! Put this over medium-low heat and start whisking- constantly. Don’t go anywhere. Stay at that stove whisking because the amount of cornstarch in this recipe means that once it heats up the mixture will thicken incredibly quickly. As in all of a sudden you’ve magically gone from liquid to pudding. It’s that quick cooking! Here’s what you’ll end up with…

VERY thick, wonderfully rich chocolate cream pie filling. Or you can chill it at this point and have an excellent pudding. It’s not quite as smooth as pudding made with baking chocolate but it’s still very tasty. Add some whipped cream to smooth it out a bit and it would be perfect with just a bowl and spoon. But today we’re making pie so transfer this to a bowl and put some plastic wrap on it, making sure that the wrap actually touches the surface of the pudding so it doesn’t get a skin.

Once the pudding has cooled for about 15 minutes you can put it in the pie shell. You will have just enough to fill a 9 inch pie. Once you put the filling in the crust put plastic wrap on it again to prevent a skin and put the pie in the fridge to chill completely. This is what you will end up with…

It’s a thing of beauty! Now you have a few options for topping the pie. You can use a meringue, you can use Cool Whip if you must, or you can go the classic route and use homemade whipped cream. As it happened I had just enough whipping cream left over from another recipe to make a batch of freshly whipped cream for the top of my pie. I LOVE fresh whipped cream! It really does make Cool Whip look and taste absolutely pitiful in comparison. Here’s how my finished pie looked…

It tasted better than it looked, I assure you. Had I let the filling chill completely before trying to cut the pie it would have been alot cleaner. As it was, I needed it for after dinner and had gotten a late start on making it. I tried to get a good photo of a slice of the pie but it just wouldn’t cooperate. Nevertheless, it was an excellent pie that I didn’t need any special ingredients for. Easy, tasty, and way better than what you can get out of a box in the freezer section!

The Recipe:

Adapted from Chocolate Cream Pie II on Allrecipes.com

1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked

4 Egg Yolks, beaten

1 1/2 C Granulated Sugar

4 T Cornstarch

1/2 C Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

1/2 t Salt

3 C Milk

1 T Butter

1 1/2 t Vanilla Extract

The Method:

*In a large mixing bowl, cream together egg yolks and sugar. This will not cream completely- it will be grainy but that’s fine.

*Mix in cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt. Add milk and stir gently.

*Pour mixture into a large saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until boiling.

*Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla extract.

*Cool 15 minutes, then pour mixture into pie shell.

*Chill completely before serving.

*Garnish with desired topping.

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