Whenever my husband, the strapping stallion I call Marlboro Man, imagines chocolate pie—and I imagine that he imagines it frequently, because it’s one of his favorite desserts—he doesn’t think of French Silk Pie or Chocolate Chiffon Pie or Chocolate Chess Pie or any other variation. He thinks of this one. This is just good ol’ basic, can’t-go-wrong, everyone-loves-it, super-easy-to-make, been-around-forever chocolate pie with a pudding filling, and my beloved could seriously eat a slice every day of his life and never get bored.
I could too, I might add.
And speaking of that: This pie is always one of those things that drives home to me the differences between Marlboro Man and me, and let me explain: In no universe would he ever,ever consider adorning his chocolate pie with anything. Not whipped cream, not fruit, not nuts, not sauces…nothing. To him, that would mar the beautiful simplicity of this luscious dessert and he sees absolutely no logical reason for it.
I, on the other hand, will keep adding stuff to the top of my chocolate pie until my fridge is empty, my pantry is cleaned out, and the cows come home.
Differences make the world go ’round!
Now, the first step to making this homemade pie is to put a storebought frozen pie crust into the oven. Ha. At least that’s what I did. I was out of my frozen crusts and I didn’t feel like making one on the spot, so I used a storebought frozen one.
I am not ashamed.
Now, if you really want to impress your friends, forget about the pie crust and come close to burning it, as I did above.
They’ll be amazed at your talent!
All of that’s about to be forgotten, though, when you make this luscious pie filling, which is nothing more than chocolate pudding. (So consider this a chocolate pudding recipe, too!) Start by putting sugar into a saucepan…
With some cornstarch…
As a thickener.
Add a little salt (about a fourth a teaspoon; don’t be thrown off by the 1/2 teaspoon measure you see here, as I only added half. Don’t be like me)…
Stir it together gently—I say gently, because if you stir it violently or vigorously, you will create a cloud of cornstarch in your kitchen! And who needs that?!?
Now, pour in some whole milk. Normally, I’d say “or you can use 2% or skim milk” but in this case, I absotively, posilutely insist that you use whole milk! You must! It makes the pie creamier and gives it the texture it needs. You can always use the skim milk on your Wheaties tomorrow!
Sorry for being bossy.
Separate four eggs…
Pour in the yolks…
Then stir it together and start heating it up over medium heat, stirring very gently but constantly.
The bubbles will calm down and it will start to heat up and thicken. This will seem to take forever at first…
But then, before you know it, it starts to bubble/boil! And AS SOON as this happens, you need to remove it from the heat.
Oh! I forgot to tell you that way earlier, I grabbed some bittersweet chocolate…
And chopped it really finely.
(Note on the chocolate: I have tried this pie with cocoa powder, with semi-sweet chocolate, with unsweetened chocolate…and I prefer bittersweet. You can play around with the different chocolates to see what you like.)
It’s important to have the chocolate all chopped and ready ahead of time, because the second you pull the filling/pudding off the heat, you’ll want to throw it right in…
With some vanilla…
And stir it around to start melting the chocolate, which will happen pretty much instantly because of how hot and lovely it is.
The final step, of course, is to add a little butter for silkiness, flavor, and richness…
And stir it until it melts. Again, this should only take about 4.2 seconds.
Pour it into the baked (and cooled!) pie shell…
Then smooth it out, lick whatever you use to smooth it, and pop the pie in the fridge (uncovered) for at least 3-4 hours. You want it to be totally cool and set!
This filling amount is enough for a deep-dish pie crust, so when I use a standard crust, I always have a little filling left over. So I just scoop it into little cups…
And stick those in the fridge. Ready-to-go pudding!
At long last! The pie is chilled and ready. And gorgeous. And seductive. And irresistible.
Just like Marlboro Man.
Cut a nice, big wedge…
And, if you’re serving it to my husband, just stick it on a plate.
Positively perfect pie!
If I’m eating it, though? Oh, how about some squirt whipped cream and a raspberry?
How about some chocolate syrup?
I actually forced myself to stop there, but I could have gone nuts (literally): Chopped pecans, chopped walnuts…and man, oh man, a drizzle of caramel sauce would be just decadent.
Here’s the handy dandy printable. Make it today! It’s the easiest pie there is. (Note that you could change it up and do an Oreo or graham cracker crust—totally delicious, too.)
Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir or whisk together.
Pour in milk and egg yolks, and whisk together.
Stir over medium heat until the mixture just barely comes to a boil and becomes thick, about 6-8 minutes (maybe less, maybe more; just watch it!) The second it starts to bubble and thicken (note: It should be thick like pudding!) remove it from the heat. Add the chocolate, vanilla, and butter, and stir until everything is beautifully combined.
Pour the pudding into the pie crust (if there is extra, spoon it into small dishes) and place in the fridge to chill for 4 hours uncovered.