Chocolate Cream Pie

Chocolate cream recipe adapted from Food and Wine
Sweet Tart Crust recipe adapted from Pierre Herme, Chocolate Desserts



For the Crust (makes enough for four 9-inch tarts):

  • 2-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 cup finely ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the Filling (makes enough for one 9-inch tart):

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Chocolate shavings, for garnish


Step 1:  Preheat the oven to 375°F. 
Step 2: To make your tart crust:  Place the butter in the bowl of a food processor and mix until creamy.
Step 3: Add the powdered sugar and pulse until blended.
Step 4: Add the ground almond powder and salt and pulse to blend.  Then add vanilla and eggs and pulse to blend ingredients, scraping down the blade and the sides of the bowl as needed. The dough may look curdled – that’s alright. Add the flour in three or four additions and pulse only until the mixture comes together to form a soft, moist dough – a matter of seconds. Don’t overdo it.
Step 5: Gather the dough into a ball and divide it into four pieces to make four 9-inch tarts. Gentle press each piece into a disk and wrap each disk in plastic. Allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or for up to 2 days, before rolling and baking. The dough can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to a month.
Step 6: Place a buttered tart ring on a parchment-lined baking sheet and keep close at hand. Work with one piece of dough at a time; keep the remaining dough in the refrigerator.
Step 7: Working on a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a thickness of between 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick, lifting the dough often and making certain that the work surface and dough are amply floured at all times. (I find it easier to roll the dough between two pieces of wax paper). Roll the dough up around your rolling pin and unroll it onto the tart ring. Fit the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the ring, then run your rolling pin across the top of the ring to cut off the excess.  Chill it for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Putting it in the freezer is even better.
Step 8: To fully bake the crust: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil (or use nonstick foil) and fit the foil, buttered side down, tightly against the crust. (If you froze the crust, you can bake it without weights.) Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for 25 minutes.
Step 9: Carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon (or prick it with the tip of a small knife). Bake the crust about 10 minutes longer, or until it is firm and golden brown, brown being the important word: a pale crust doesn’t have a lot of flavor. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the crust to room temperature.
Step 10: To make the chocolate cream: In a medium saucepan, heat the milk with 1/4 cup of the sugar until bubbles form around the edge. 
Step 11: In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 1/4 cup of the sugar, the cornstarch and salt. Gradually whisk in the hot milk mixture. Pour the mixture into the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until very thick, about 3 minutes. 
Step 12: Remove from the heat and whisk in the semisweet chocolate until smooth. Strain the chocolate filling into the pie crust through a coarse sieve and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pie filling and refrigerate for 3 hours, until chilled.
Step 13: Let the pie stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the cream with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and the vanilla until firm. Spread the whipped cream over the pie, cut into wedges and serve, garnished with chocolate shavings.

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