For me, the perfect pie is a necessary factor in terms of seasons and holidays. For spring and summer, the bittersweet rhubarb pie drenched in fresh whipped cream to mellow out the intense red stalks is a must (if you’re crazy enough to like rhubarb). Peach pie in the late summer early fall (aka “peach days”) has been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember and CANNOT be missed. Key lime pie, in my opinion, is appropriate anytime of the year, and for Thanksgiving, the notorious spicy, sweet pumpkin pie is suitable and can be seen at almost everyone’s table during the holiday. The list goes on. Moral of the story, pie is a glorious thing 365 days of the year.
In case you haven’t noticed the holiday seasons are already here (aka baking season) and this week’s recipe is one of my favorite things to make during the holiday. Being a Chocoholic, I somehow can’t get enough of it during this time of year. Chocolate oranges, peppermint chocolate bark, hot chocolate, and this chocolate cream pie are all responsible for my expanding waistline during the season. It is sweet, rich, fluffy, and so beautiful it can double as a centerpiece at your next holiday dinner. Or if you can’t wait, you can make it on an uneventful Sunday night to satisfy your sugar munchies. Either way, this pie is perfect for these colder months!
- 8 tablespoons butter
- 25 Oreo Cookies, finely crushed
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons high quality unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups whole milk
- ¾ cup sweetened condensed milk
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 large egg yolks
- 6oz high quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 4 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until browned (butter will begin to foam, bubble, crackle, then begin to turn brown. Watch carefully and be careful not to burn), 5-8 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Combine cookie crumbs, 4 tablespoons of butter, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. When fully combined, transfer to an 8 or 9 inch pie pan. Using the bottom of a measuring cup, evenly press crumbs into the pie pan and bake in oven for 5-7 minutes until set. Remove from oven and allow crust to cool completely. Place in fridge to chill.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk cream, milk, and cocoa powder until no lumps remain, then whisk in sweetened condensed milk. Carefully bring mixture to a BARE SIMMER over medium low heat (temperature control is key. DON’T BURN THE MILK).
- In a small bowl, briskly whisk egg yolks and a cup of the hot milk mixture (this is called tempering to avoid scrambled eggs), then, still whisking, pour egg mixture into the saucepan. Quickly add cornstarch and continue to whisk. Optional: If your mixture at this point seems to have clumpy bits of milk or egg, strain the mixture through a fine sieve. Put mixture back into a clean saucepan and continue the recipe. (I usually always do this step to insure a silky smooth texture in the final product)
- Continue to whisk over medium low heat until mixture is considerably thick, about 5 minutes. Add 6oz chocolate and remaining brown butter (don’t forget the brown butter!), whisk until smooth. Pour pie mixture into piecrust and chill until custard is set, at least 6 hours.
- Using a clean electric mixture beat egg whites on high until foamy. With the motor running, add cream of tartar and then gradually add sugar to egg whites. Continue to beat until mixture forms stiff peaks. Top the chilled pie with meringue and using a blowtorch evenly brown the top layer of meringue.
- When baking and or cooking, prepping your ingredient list before hand saves a lot of time and sanity. A recipe with a lot of ingredients and steps can seem daunting or confusing, mise en place (or prep) helps you and makes things a lot easier.
- If you do not own a blowtorch I suggest buying one (they’re really fun) or skip this step. The pie will be delicious either way. Or you could top the pie with FRESHLY whipped vanilla cream. Do not place pie in the oven under the broiler to brown the meringue.