I must confess– I have never made a pie before. Actually, I’ve never even finished a whole slice of pie. Pie is not really my favorite thing to eat. I have always found the crusts too dry and the fillings too sugary. But, when I woke up on the morning of Thanksgiving and realized that we had not a single dessert planned, I got to work on fixing this.
I taught myself a little bit about how to make the crust and what options there are for the fillings. As it turned out, I still wasn’t that enthused by my options. So, I took a pie crust recipe from inspired taste and changed it up a bit. I used Italian tipo 00 flour, and salted butter. I really wanted the crust to stand out in contrast to the filling.
I actually used a chocolate pudding recipe for the filling- whoops. The recipe was inspired from this one, but I used less sugar and, again, salted butter. I knew I wanted something that wasn’t cloyingly sweet and I knew I needed a smooth, melt-in-your-mouth texture to contrast with the crisp, flakiness of the crust.
I also gave in and just used cool whip for the topping. I know, I know, it’s such a cop out! But homemade pie crusts are time consuming, and all of the recipes are strangely written and confusing! I was so done with the pie at this point- and I do not have any mixer other than my own two hands, so homemade whipped cream was not about to happen.
To be honest, after tasting this pie, I will probably just use cool whip again! It was pretty darn good! The BF loves pie, so he just ate it cold. I had to heat mine up because, well, it turns out I’m just not that into pie! He tells me that this one is a winner, though, so I’m posting it! (Also, it made for some really pretty pictures, and that was encouraging.)
I tried to simplify the pie crust instructions as much as possible, to make this recipe really accessible to beginners. If you’re an expert with pies, I would love to hear about any helpful hints or tips you have! I’m sure they will prove useful, as I will probably be making this again, since it was such a big hit!
Though it may be time consuming, I promise that the end result is worth it and this is the kind of pie that could work for any nice dinner, not just a holiday. Next time, I am considering decorating the top with some fruit, to give it some color and freshness!
One last note- since I used two separate recipes, there was extra pudding. I just left it in my fridge and I’ve been snacking on it since Thanksgiving. This has worked out well, and I have no complaints! 🙂
serves about 15 (one 8″ pie, and 6 minis)
for the crust
2 1/2 cups Tipo 00 flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 sticks chilled, salted butter
7 tablespoons ice water
for the filling
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups whole milk
4 egg yolks
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons salted butter
whipped cream and berries for topping
First, prepare a cup of ice water and set it aside to chill.
For the next part, I used a food processor, but you could just as easily make the crust by hand (you might need to soften the butter a bit). Add 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the salt, and the sugar to a food processor. Mix everything together just a few times. Cube the chilled butter.
Add the butter to the food processor and pulse until it becomes grainy, and the butter is mixed throughout. It will look a little like crumbled feta.
Next, add the contents of the food processor into a medium bowl. Add the rest of the flour (1 cup) and mix together with a rubber spatula until there is no dry flour left and the “dough” becomes less grainy.
Add the ice water to the bowl and mix together until the dough forms a ball.
Using a sharp knife, cut it in half and flatten each half to form two discs. Wrap the discs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.
While the dough is chilling, prepare the filling. In a saucepan, mix together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
Using a whisk, combine everything. Next, measure out your milk and separate the egg yolks. I know that it is super annoying when a recipe calls for just egg yolks, but whenever this happens I use it as an excuse to make a delicious egg-white omelette for breakfast the next morning! If you pour the whites into tupperware and seal it, they will keep fine in the fridge overnight, and you don’t need to feel like they are going to waste!
Add the milk and egg yolks to the sugar mixture and whisk together over medium heat. Stir the mixture with a rubber spatula, paying close attention to the consistency. You will need to remove the mixture from heat the minute it begins to boil or become thick (and trust me, you will know when this happens).
Continue stirring occasionally, and keeping an eye out for the boiling. Prepare the chocolate by chopping it finely.
After the sugar and milk mixture has become thick, take it off of the heat and mix in the chocolate, vanilla, and butter.
You can really see how thick it has become by the way the chocolate is swirled into the sugar-milk mixture!
After you have added in the butter and vanilla, continue to stir!
You are done once the mixture has become thick and smooth.
Set this aside to cool in its pot. Now that the filling is done, return your attention to the crust!
Start by preheating the oven to 425°F and placing a baking sheet on the middle rack. This is important, as you are preheating the pan as well as the oven.
Roll out one of the circles of the dough onto a floured surface, so that it is 1″ wider in diameter than your pan. I used an 8″ pie pan, and also made six individual, mini pies. But this makes enough dough for two bigger pies if you prefer.
Press the dough into your pie (or muffin) tin and prick the crust with a fork.
(I used this muffin tin to make my mini pies, and they are so precious, I’ll definitely do that again!)
Now, normally at this point you would insert a pie weight or dried beans into the pie to keep the dough from shrinking. This sounded really weird to me as a novice, so I just didn’t do it. Everything turned out totally fine, and I will probably ignore those instructions again. BUT if you want your pie crust to stay as big as it is and to wrap around the filling fully, I would suggest weighing it down. After you have weighed it down (or not, if you’re like me, and too lazy) put the crust in the freezer for 10 minutes.
After the crust is firm, place it into the preheated oven, on the preheated baking sheet. Turn the temperature down to 400. Bake it for half an hour, and do not be alarmed if it shrinks. It will look so weird, but it turns out fine in the end!
Give the crust some time to cool before you put the pudding inside of it.
You do not need much to fill them up, as they will be topped with whipped cream later!
Now comes the fun part- the waiting game. Place your pies in the freezer uncovered for at least 4 hours. They can keep in the freezer for much longer, but will need to be covered to prevent freezer burn. Find something good on Netflix, and start your marathon!
After they have chilled and completely solidified, take them out and give them about five minutes to defrost. Using a rubber spatula, spread the whipped cream over the top and cut the slices, just before serving!
You can even have them without whipped cream, and heated!
I will warn you, the pie can “melt” pretty fast, so it is in your best interest to use your sharpest knife and cut it into slices before the pudding becomes sticky and goopy again. You can also pre-slice it and refreeze it for easy serving!