Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I have to admit it’s not my favorite “holiday”, but it has the redeeming quality of being near my birthday. I turned 25 on Saturday (yes, I’m an Ides of March baby) and celebrated by running my first half marathon of the year. One down, five to go. I got a new PR of 2:17:03, which makes me feel very confident I’ll meet my yearly goal of 2:10, and hopeful that maybe I’ll even meet my stretch goal of 2:00 (or close to it). My best friend also completed her first 10k which is super exciting! Judging by her smile, I’d say I didn’t completely scare her away from running. (Phew.) (Parentheses!)
I usually celebrate my birthday with a chocolate pie, but after the race and then attending a party with one of M’s Antarctica coworkers I didn’t feel up to making one. Instead, I made one yesterday and added a teensy bit of Irish flair for today’s post.
Chocolate pie is a long-standing favorite of mine and probably my most requested birthday dessert, although cherry pie would be a close second. Even from scratch, chocolate pie is an easy dessert to make, and a hard one to screw up, which makes it great for beginners. I can even personally attest that whipped cream is stiff enough for regular birthday candles, although I skipped those this year.
Flaky pie crust, creamy pudding, and fluffy whipped cream are a combination that can’t go wrong, unless you are one of those weird people that doesn’t like sweets. (Seriously, I do not understand this. No judgments, just confusion.) But if you are one of those people, you probably aren’t reading this post anyway.
This pie is fairly rich, but the whipped topping helps keep it from feeling overly dense. Even so, you may want to start with a smaller piece than I have in my pictures, and make a note to go back for seconds. It should keep for a few days in the fridge, but it would be best to have a few friends over to share it. I’m sure they won’t mind helping you out.
If you’re new to homemade pies, pudding, or whipped cream, have no fear! This is a great starter pie and will be sure to give you some confidence in the kitchen. If you’re still apprehensive, feel free to substitute a pre-made pie crust (but please, use the roll out dough) or a cookie crust. Or skip the crust entirely and pour the pudding into individual serving glasses. (Although this rather deviates from the “pie” idea.) You could also use cool whip for the topping: just thaw it in the fridge and add some Baileys. I’ve included recipes for homemade versions of all three steps if you really want to wow your audience (and your taste buds.)
Pre-baked Single Pie Crust
Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens
Makes one 9″ pie crust
1/3 cup shortening
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
4-5 Tbsp ice water
- Measure shortening into a small bowl and place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
- Pour water and a few ice cubes into a cup and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a small bowl, whisk the flour and salt together until well combined.
- After shortening is cold, combine with the flour and salt and mix with a pastry blender (or a fork) until blended into pea-sized pieces.
- Add ice water one tablespoon at a time, mixing gently after each addition. Repeat until all pastry is moistened and it all sticks together.
- On a lightly floured surface, gently flatten pastry into a disc, and then roll out large enough to fit your pie plate.
- Transfer dough to pie plate and crimp the edges.
- Prick liberally with a fork over the entire bottom and sides of the crust in order to prevent shrinkage.1
- Bake crust for 10-12 minutes, then set aside while you make the filling.
Chocolate Pudding Pie
Adapted from Ezra Pound Cake
Makes one 9″ pie
1 pre-baked pie crust
2 cups milk
1/2 cup half and half
5 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate
4 large egg yolks2
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp dark cocoa powder (optional)3
- Place milk, half and half, and chopped chocolate into a medium sauce pan. Over medium heat, warm the mixture until chocolate is melted, stirring occasionally.
- In a separate bowl, stir together egg yolks and sugar until well mixed.
- Add corn starch, vanilla, salt, and cocoa (if desired) and stir until completely combined.
- When the chocolate is melted, slowly pour the hot liquid into the egg mixture, whisking constantly until smooth.
- Return entire mixture to the saucepan, and heat on medium until it thickens and bubbles slowly. (5-10 minutes)
- Remove from the heat and stir gently until pudding is smooth, then pour directly into prepared pie crust.
- Cover immediately with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the filling to prevent a skin from forming.
- Refrigerate at least two hours, or until ready to serve. Then top with whipped cream.
Baileys Whipped Cream
Borrowed from The Cupcake Project
Makes about 6 cups
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp Baileys Irish cream liqueur4
- Using an electric mixer (whisk attachment for a stand mixer) beat the cream until very soft peaks form.
- Gently stir in the sugar and Baileys until just incorporated.
- Continue beating the cream until soft-medium peaks form.
- Spoon onto chilled pie, then use a spatula or spoon to create swirls.5
- Top with chocolate jimmies, mini chocolate chips, or chocolate curls, if desired.
- Return to fridge, or serve immediately.
1 I really don’t think you can over-prick a pie crust.
2 Don’t throw out the egg white, make meringues!
3 I like richer chocolate flavor, but if you’re not into dark chocolate just leave this out. It’ll still be delicious.
4 If you just want regular whipped cream, use 3-4 tsp vanilla instead.
5 You will probably have about a cup or more left over. Store in a sealed container in the fridge and it’ll keep for several days. It’s great to use on hot chocolate or ice cream or to eat with a spoon.