I was on a MISSION! Rob’s birthday was coming up, but we wanted to surprise him so I couldn’t just come right out and ask him what kind of dessert he’d like for his birthday. So, over beers at The Cask one night, I ever-so-subtly started this conversation:
“My niece, Ana, didn’t know how to reply when I asked her about what kind of birthday cake she’d like. I don’t remember ever not knowing how to answer that question. Strawberry Ice Cream in an Oreo Cookie Crust for me! What would you say?” Rob replied, “I like the perfect Chocolate Cream pie! It is at once luscious, and chocolate-y, and creamy, and crunchy. Not your store-bought chocolate-pudding-in-a-crust pie.”
Okay, then. I went on the hunt for the perfect Chocolate Cream pie and this one definitely fits the bill. The butter in the filling makes it richer and more special than just a pudding, and the cookie crumb crust adds a nice crunch that you don’t get from a pastry crust. Happy Birthday, Rob!
- OREO COOKIE CRUST:
- 16 Oreo cookies (with filling), broken into rough pieces)
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- CHOCOLATE CREAM FILLING:
- 2½ cups half-and-half
- pinch table salt
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 6 large egg yolks at room temperature, chalazae (protein strands attached to yolk) removed
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter (cold), cut into 6 pieces
- 6 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- WHIPPED TOPPING:
- 1½ cups heavy cream (cold)
- 1½ Tbsp. granulated sugar
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- FOR THE CRUST: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350°. In bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade, process cookies with 15 one-second pulses, then let machine run until crumbs are uniformly fine, about 15 seconds. (Alternatively, place cookies in large zipper-lock plastic bag and crush with rolling pin.) Transfer crumbs to medium bowl, drizzle with butter, and use fingers to combine until butter is evenly distributed.
- Pour crumbs into 9-inch pie plate. Press crumbs evenly onto bottom and up sides of pie plate. Cover with plastic wrap and use a spoon to evenly cover the bottom of the pan while pressing crumbs into the corners and all the way up the sides of the pan.
- Refrigerate lined pie plate 20 minutes to firm crumbs, then bake until crumbs are fragrant and set, about 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack while preparing filling.
- FOR THE FILLING: Bring half-and-half, salt, and about 3 tablespoons sugar to simmer in medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally with wooden spoon to dissolve sugar. Meanwhile, stir together remaining sugar and cornstarch in small bowl. Just as the half-and-half mixture starts to simmer, sprinkle the cornstarch mixture over yolks and whisk until mixture is glossy and sugar has begun to dissolve, about 1 minute. When half-and-half reaches full simmer, drizzle about ½ cup hot half-and-half over yolks, whisking constantly to temper; then whisk all of egg yolk mixture into simmering half-and-half (mixture should thicken in about 30 seconds). Return to simmer, whisking constantly, until 3 or 4 bubbles burst on the surface and mixture is thickened and glossy, about 15 seconds longer.
- Off heat, whisk in butter until incorporated; add chocolates and whisk until melted, scraping pan bottom with rubber spatula to fully incorporate. Stir in vanilla, then immediately pour filling into baked and cooled crust. Press plastic wrap directly on surface of filling and refrigerate pie until filling is cold and firm, about 3 hours.
- FOR THE TOPPING: Just before serving, beat cream, sugar, and vanilla in bowl of standing mixer on low speed until small bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium; continue beating until beaters leave a trail, about 30 seconds more. Increase speed to high; continue beating until cream is smooth, thick, and nearly doubled in volume and forms soft peaks, about 20 seconds. Spread or pipe whipped cream over chilled pie filling. Cut pie into wedges and serve.