Thursday, March 14, 2013

Time for Pi


Know what that is? It's pi. Know what day it is...3-14...otherwise known as pi day. So, obviously there's nothing else to do but...make pie. Here in the US we are kind of devoid of any delicious and fresh produce to make pie at this time of year, so I'm going to show you my pie that dreams are made of...Double Chocolate Pudding Pie. Oh baby!  And if you want to make this for St. Patrick's Day this weekend, just put some green dye in the whipped cream.  Perfect St. Paddy's dessert.  This post is long, but that's because there are a few steps to making this pie.  None of them are difficult, but be prepared for a read....but do it because it's worth it.  Trust me.

double chocolate pudding pie

I come from a legacy of fine pie makers...well, one anyway. My Grandma Evelyn is known for making pies and I have the fondest memories of eating pie all year long at my Grandma's house. Whether it was fresh raspberry pie in the summer or Homemade Apple Sauce Pie in the winter, it was ALWAYS pie. And I have failed for so long when it comes to making pie crust. And I was desperate to make a good crust! I have almost achieved that.

My crusts still aren't beautiful, but they are tasty! So, I am almost there! Use This Tutorial when making your crust, especially if you live in the dessert.  If you have zero humidity in the air, it makes it very difficult to get an amazing crust.  This will change your life.

The first step to making Heaven in a pie, is to make your crust and blind bake it.

Here are the instructions for blind baking pie crust.

Blind Baking Pie Crust
Heat oven to 425.
Place your pie crust in the pie plate, I use and love the Pyrex pie plates. Crimp the edges if you're fancy.
Place parchment paper over the crust and fill it with pie weights, or be like me and use uncooked beans. This will keep your crust flat and smooth during baking. Bake for 15-18 minutes until the edges are lightly browned.
Reduce oven temp. to 375.
Remove the parchment and beans from crust and place back in oven until golden brown all over. This took me approximately 10 minutes.

The picture above is my crust with drippy, hot ganache poured in...this pie has layers and layers of goodness.  Once you've baked your crust and let it cool, it's time for the ganache.

Ganache Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living Enough to coat 2 pies
5.5 oz coarsely chopped dark chocolate (use the good stuff...and don't make the same mistake I did and coarsely chop the chocolate too coarse. It needs to be fine enough to melt fairly quickly)
2/3 C. Heavy Cream
Pinch of Salt

Have your chocolate chopped and ready and waiting in a nearby bowl with the salt in it.
Bring your cream JUST to a boil.
Pour the hot cream over the waiting chocolate. Let it sit without touching it for 10 minutes. If you decide to stir early, it can cause your ganache to go grainy.
Whisk the cream and chocolate until smooth and shiny. This will emulsify the cream and chocolate and complete your ganache.

Pour the ganache into the cooled pie crust and twist the pie plate around and around until the ganache has evenly coated the pie along the bottom and up the sides. Swirl until the chocolate has begun to settle a bit and won't all pool in the bottom once you stop the swirling.

Chocolate coated pie after spending a night in the fridge.   The nice thing about this pie is that you can make it partially ahead of time.  Blind bake your crust and pour in the ganache the night before and you'll be ahead of the game!

Now for the pudding part...

Remember the 7 P's when it comes to this pie. It is very important. Proper Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. It is very necessary to have your chocolate chopped and ready to go. Have your vanilla sitting there waiting for you and have the necessary tools that you are going to need. Today instead of using all Caullebaut Dark Chocolate, I used 1/4 Callebaut milk chocolate to make it a little more kid friendly. My Youngest not only licked her spoon clean, but when she saw Daddy and his taste of pudding, decided she would trade him her spoon (already licked)  for his. He feels he got the short end of the stick on that deal.

I mostly used Smitten Kitchen's Best Chocolate Pudding recipe. But as she does, I mixed it up a little bit. So here is my recipe and step by step instructions.  My mother tried making this pudding and she followed Smitten Kitchen's instructions to the letter and her pie ended up watery, as the pudding never set up. Here's the thing about making home-made pudding or custard. It takes a LONG time!!! So be ready. She used a double boiler as the recipe calls for. Don't use a double boiler. Just use a heavy-bottom pan and be prepared to stir, non-stop, for the entire time!

Make sure you have the appropriate tools. You need a rubber scraper and a whisk. And have the chopped chocolate and vanilla sitting close by as when you're ready to use them you need them handy!

Homemade Chocolate Pudding
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Serves 6 in pudding form and fills 1 pie shell if you're making if you're making 2 pies, double this

1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3 cups whole milk ( this is important. Do not skimp and use 1% instead)
6 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped. (Use the good stuff. I like Callebaut
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Put the cornstarch, sugar and salt in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Stir to combine. Add the milk slowly, whisking all the while to prevent lumps. Turn your heat to medium. 3/4 of the time I use the rubber scraper and 1/4 of the time I whisk. I make sure to scrape all over the bottom of the pan as well as along the sides and make sure you get the crease where the sides meet the bottom of the pan with your rubber scraper.

The thing is, you don't want your pudding to scorch! This will happen if the pudding sits for too long without having been stirred and will ruin your pudding. Once the pudding heats up a bit, but WAAAYY before it boils, turn your heat to low/medium low. I am too impatient to continuously cook it on low. It really would take forever. But because I am cooking it faster, I have to be extra vigilant that it doesn't scorch. So I will use the rubber scraper for about 3 minutes or so and then for 1 minute I will whisk whisk whisk. I do this for the entire time.

You are looking for the pudding to thicken into a nice thick consistency that will coat the back of your spoon. This is a tricky thing to figure out. Here it is not thick enough. The pudding was beginning to seep back over the line I made. You want it to hold the shape you make in the pudding. You will actually be able to feel when the pudding begins to thicken. As you stir, it will feel different. At this point BE EXTRA CAREFUL!!! and make sure you scrape everywhere all the time!  Pay extra attention to the sides and the spot between the sides and the bottom!!

Here's the pudding at the point I felt it was ready. I hope you can see the difference, it was thick, held it's shape and really did not seep back into the line I made.

2. Add the chocolate! Dump the chocolate in and whisk until combined.

3. Remove the pudding from the stove and add the vanilla. Whisk like crazy again. Once you put the vanilla in, the pudding will look like it's going to separate for a minute, but after you've stirred it in, it will be perfect and thick and delicious!

Like this!!! See how thick it is. It completely coats that rubber scraper and isn't going anywhere!!!

Again, I am the impatient sort, so to help my pudding cool faster, I put it in the fridge. I make sure to whisk it every couple of minutes as it cools. I do not want it to form a skin on the top. GROSS! The reason I want to cool it, is, I don't want it to melt the ganache that's already on the crust.

Once mostly cool, pour into your pie.

Smooth out the tops.

Then put in the fridge to cool...


Make extra sure that you press plastic wrap directly on the top of the pudding. This will prevent a nasty skin from forming and keep your pudding smooth and creamy.

3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

I wanted to show you the bottom of my pan so you can know what it should look like. As you can see there is nothing that has cooked onto the bottom of the pan. It is clean of any scorched pudding. This is due to diligent scraping and whisking. After having everything prepped and ready to go, this is the most important step.

Once the pudding is fully cooled, whip up a batch of vanilla whipped cream and top the pie with an excessive amount of the good stuff.

Prepare to be in heaven.

Make this pie....and when it comes to be gooseberry season make: Fresh Gooseberry Pie
Thanks for reading!



  1. One word...yum! Pinned!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Mmm I want chocolate pie! It too me a while to get Pi day because we say our dates the other way eg 14/3/2013 but it sounds like a very fun tradition :)

  3. Hi Heather,
    Oohhhh yeah baby!! Dang, that looks good. I usually take the easy way out with my recipes but you really have my mouth watering with this. I may have to break down and try it:) Thanks for sharing. Di {CookTheTV}
    PS that little pie decoy on your VW bus page worked on more than just hubby, heehee.


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