Strange as it may seem in this season of squash and nut themed desserts, there are some of us who feel the chocolate portion of the food pyramid should not be overlooked on Thanksgiving. A little sliver of chocolate cream pie and a steaming cup of strong coffee will supply the jolt necessary to compete in a family friendly game of post turkey Scrabble.
Jessie’s chocolate cream pie was a classic in my family, generally reserved for birthdays or for surprise announcements such as, “I’ve scheduled an appointment for your tonsillectomy” or “Tomorrow I’ll pick you up early from school so you can have your wisdom teeth extracted.” Comfort in a flaky crust, topped with swirls of whipped cream and a few chocolate shavings, perfect for what ails you. Even if what ails you is just a little too much family togetherness on the last Thursday in November.
Your favorite fully baked 9” all butter pie crust, cooled
The filling- (adapted from Alice Medrich and Jessie)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
pinch of salt
2 cups whole milk
7 oz. good quality semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (I prefer a combo of chocolates, semi and 60% Cacao bittersweet; Trader Joe’s has a great selection)
additional dark chocolate for garnish
In the top of a double boiler, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and salt. Add ¼ cup of the cold milk, whisking until the ingredients are smooth. Gradually whisk in the remaining 1¾ cups of milk. Set the top of the double boiler over simmering water, stirring the pudding with a rubber spatula until it becomes thick. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until completely melted and smooth. Pour the pudding through a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl, then pour the strained mixture into the pie crust. Smooth the top with an offset spatula, cover with a piece of plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming, and let cool. Refrigerate the pie for several hours before serving. When ready to serve, top with coffee flavored whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
Coffee Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons espresso powder (I like Medaglia D’oro)
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
dark chocolate shavings (use a box grater or a microplane grater)
In the bowl of a standing mixer, stir the espresso powder and confectioners’ sugar into the whipped cream. With a whisk attachment, whip the cream on medium speed until soft peaks form. Increase the speed to high, beating just until the cream forms stiff peaks. Swirl the cream over the chilled chocolate pie, garnish with a few chocolate shavings, if you wish.