I was in line at the grocery store the other day, and it seemed like it was taking forever to get through it. There was some kind of problem with the person ahead, and I was starting to feel impatient. The person who was standing behind me started chatting and noticed that I had ice cream in my cart. She said to me, “Well, at least it is nice and cool out so your ice cream won’t melt!” I was just stunned at her comment. Instead of being grouchy or complaining about our long wait, she commented about something positive to do with the situation. I want to be more like that. It definitely is not my immediate response to an annoyance or bad situation. Most of the time I do feel thankful for the many blessings I have such as food to eat, clean water to drink, a roof over my head, and my husband’s job. But, to feel thankful in the midst of hardship, or difficult circumstances, that is a whole other thing. Not that standing in line is really a difficult circumstance. But you know what I mean. It seems like a much better way to go through life. Instead of complaining about every little insignificant thing that bothers me throughout my day I want to recognize the small things I can be thankful for along the way. I have a long way to go. But I am grateful to that woman for showing me what it looks like.
On the other hand, this pie is not hard to be thankful for! Each year the only thing I am asked to bring to our Thanksgiving get together at my aunt and uncle’s house are 2 chocolate pies and homemade whipped cream. I am only happy to accommodate. In the past I have usually made the cook and stir Jello chocolate pudding for the pies, which actually is very good. For some reason this year, I decided to make the pudding from scratch. This recipe gave me the pie of my dreams! And it was really easy. I couldn’t have asked for it to turn out any better, at least as far as the filling goes. I still want to work on my pie crust skills, but I have been too busy working on my bread making skills. Maybe next year! In the meantime, Marie Callender Frozen Pie Crusts are really good.
Whether you make your own pie crusts or buy them, you have got to try out this chocolate pudding recipe. It is creamy, and chocolaty, almost velvety. You can use either bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, but I recommend using a quality chocolate bar such as Ghiradelli. And making homemade whipped cream. Homemade whipped cream is to chocolate pie as water is to a fish or something like that. Maybe I should say as feathers are to a turkey. It is totally worth the minimal amount of effort that it takes. It really is simple and if your bowl and the paddle of your mixer are nice and cold, it comes together in less than 5 minutes. This pie will make you even more thankful for the blessings in your life than you already are. Because it is hard not to have a good attitude when you are eating chocolate and cream. Maybe I should take one with me the next time I go to the grocery store!:)
Classic Chocolate Pie With Homemade Whipped Cream
For the Pie:
- 1 pie crust, baked and cooled (Marie Callender or Trader Joe’s brands taste very good)
- 1 1/2 c sugar
- 1/4 c cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3 c whole milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 6-1/2 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely (I used Ghiradelli semi-sweet)
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- whipped cream, for serving (see recipe below)
- Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large saucepan. Stir or whisk together. Set aside.
- Finely chop the chocolate and set aside until needed.
- Measure out your butter and vanilla so it is ready and set aside.
- Pour in whole milk and egg yolks into the sugar/cornstarch mixture, and whisk together.
- Stir over medium heat until the mixture just barely comes to a boil and becomes thick, about 6-8 minutes, stirring constantly so the bottom doesn’t burn. The second it starts to bubble and thicken, remove it from the heat.
- Immediately add the chocolate, vanilla, and butter, and stir until thoroughly combined.
- Pour the pudding into the cooled pie crust, and place into refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight. Make sure pie is cold before slicing.
- Cut into slices and serve with whipped cream. Refrigerate any leftovers.
For the Whipped Cream:
- 1 pint unsweetened heavy whipping cream
- 1/8 to 1/4 c sugar (depending on how sweet you want it)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Make sure your mixing bowl and paddle attachment are cold. If it is a warm day, place them in the freezer for a few minutes until chilled. Don’t take the whipping cream out of the refrigerator until you are ready to use it so it will be nice and cold.
- Beat the whipping cream on the highest speed your mixer will go. (You may need to wrap a towel around the top part of the bowl while doing this so your kitchen doesn’t get sprayed.) After a couple of minutes, check the whipped cream to see if it is thickening. You want to beat it until just before stiff peaks form. On a warm day this may take a little longer. Do not overbeat.
- Stop the mixer and add sugar to taste and vanilla. Continue beating until stiff peaks form and sugar is incorporated into the mixture. Whipped cream is best when made the day you are serving, otherwise it tends to get watery.
- You can use a large star tip and piping bag to decorate the pie with the whipped cream and add sprinkles or chocolate covered coffee beans to garnish or just serve the whipped cream on the side for everyone to serve themselves. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Pie recipe from Cook AZ I Do, originally by The Pioneer Woman