Chocolate cream pie is good. No, it's great. But I made it better by burying a thick layer of ganache under the homemade chocolate custard. And then I added a bunch of cacao nibs.
Yup: this pie features, in this order, from the bottom up:
- Pie crust
- Chocolate ganache
- A scattering of cocoa nibs
- Chocolate custard
- Another scattering of cocoa nibs
What makes this pie extra special, though, is that it features chocolate from Asheville's French Broad Chocolates.
I have had the good luck of befriending the chocolate lounge here in Asheville--I designed yoga pants (which you can buy, too!) featuring illustrated versions of their chocolate desserts...
and they gave me a bunch of chocolate and cacao nibs to bake with.
If you are able to, you really should buy chocolate from them. Their dark chocolate tablets are just so freaking good. Rich, almost coffee-like in their dark flavor, they make any chocolate dessert a true shining star.
Each layer on its own is great; together, they're mind blowing. It's like, CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE...but with just a little salty-buttery-non chocolate contrast from the crust, which adds the slightest contrast. That slight non-chocolate element actually heightens all of the chocolate, if that makes sense.
This pie evolved as a recipe. When I first made it, I was just going to make a fairly simple ganache-filled pie crust, because I figured simple was best when using exquisite ingredients. But when I poured the ganache in the shell, there was still a lot of space to fill in the crust. So I made a hasty custard of sorts, grabbing some cocoa and milk and an egg and some starch. I made it based on memory rather than a recipe, and was amazed that it worked. So after this happy accident, which my sweetheart declared his favorite pie ever, I decided this was the only way to make this pie ever again!
Two-layer chocolate cream pie
Makes 1 pie
1 blind-baked pie crust, cooled
- 6 ounces chocolate
- 6 ounces milk or cream
- loose handful of cacao nibs
- 1 cup cold milk
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- pinch salt
- another loose handful of cacao nibs
* Have the pie crust at the ready, and make the ganache.
Chop the chocolate (or don't and use this method) and place in a heatproof bowl.
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk or cream to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Mix until combined; it will be pretty liquid. Pour into the pie shell, garnish with a loose handful of cacao nibs, and put it in the fridge to set.
Make the custard. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan. Heat on low, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat; I like to give it a stir to re-incorporate anything that might have set on the bottom of the pan at this point. Then pour on top of the ganache layer, and sprinkle with the remaining cacao nibs.
Refrigerate for a couple of hours to let the custard set.