This pie isn’t for amateurs. This is a hard-core, chocolate-lover's dessert, so get ready for the ultimate chocolate experience. This pie utilizes three different types of chocolate including cocoa nibs, cocoa powder and semisweet chocolate for a no-holds-barred choco-rama extravaganza!
Let’s start with the basics, and define this exotic and complex ingredient. Chocolate comes from cacao beans, which grow on cacao trees in Central and South America, as well as in parts of the Caribbean and Africa. The beans are fermented, dried, roasted, and ground and the resulting products include cocoa butter, which is the fat extracted from the cacao bean and chocolate liquor, which is when the roasted cocoa nibs are ground into a thick paste. The type of chocolate (unsweetened, bittersweet, semisweet, milk) is determined by the various amounts of chocolate liquor and cocoa butter the chocolate contains, as well the amount of sugar and any additional ingredients added to the mixture such as milk and vanilla.
The first chocolate ingredient we come across in this recipe is cocoa nibs (also known as cacao nibs) which are incorporated into the pie dough. The nibs are just dried and cracked bits of the cocoa bean. They have a very intense burst of earthy and fruity chocolate flavor, are pleasantly bitter and add great crunch to any recipe. We use them as an added ingredient in the pie dough recipe for complexity, flavor and texture, but you can sprinkle them in oatmeal or granola, put them in smoothies or fold them into your favorite muffin recipe. What’s your favorite way to use cocoa nibs?
Cocoa Nib Pie Dough
Yield: One double-crust pie or two tarts
Active time: 10 minutes
Start to finish: 2 hours, 10 minutes
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch fine sea salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, chilled
1/4 cup shortening, chilled
1/3 cup cold water
1/4 cup cocoa nibs
1. Place flour, sugar, cocoa nibs and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.
2. Cut the butter and shortening into small pieces and add to processor. Be sure to keep them as cold as possible.
3. Pulse the mixture until crumbly and the fat is in small pieces throughout the flour.
4. Working quickly, start the processor and pour in the water. Process until the mixture just starts to form a ball.
5. Add the cocoa nibs, and pulse 1 to 2 more times to distribute. Note: You want to avoid blending the nibs into the dough, so wait to add them until the last pulse.
6. Turn out dough onto a work surface and shape into an oval.
7. Cut the dough in half, and press the cut side down to form two disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days before rolling out.
Because the filling for this chocolate pudding pie is fully cooked, the cocoa nib pie dough needs to be completely blind baked first. To accomplish this, follow these directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375º.
2. Roll one disk of dough out onto a well-floured surface into a 10- to 12-inch circle. Carefully transfer to a pie or tart pan and crimp the edges. Allow to chill for 15 minutes in the refrigerator. This will relax the gluten, preventing the crust from shrinking.
3. Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork.
4. Cover it snugly with either parchment paper or aluminum foil. 4. Place pie weights or dried beans on top of the paper or foil.
5. Bake the crust until the edges are light golden brown and the bottom is no longer glossy, 15 to 20 minutes.
6. Remove the paper or foil with the weights.
7. If a filling will be added and baked in the crust, remove from the oven and cool. If the filling will not be baked in the crust, continue to bake the crust for 15 to 20 additional minutes without the weights, until the middle of the crust is golden brown. Cool before adding filling.
Now that the pie dough is complete, it’s time to focus on the over-the-top chocolate filling. The pudding itself is a simple recipe that comes together in one pan, and includes not only cocoa powder but semisweet chocolate chips for an extra rich and deep burst of chocolatey goodness.
- Cocoa powder is derived from the cacao bean after the fat (cocoa butter) has been removed. The leftover fermented and dried solids are then finely ground into what we know as cocoa powder. Because it’s pure chocolate without any other additives, it really packs a punch. It’s tempting to eat a spoonful of cocoa powder because it looks and smells so good, but it’s earthy and bitter flavor is best when mixed into baked goods.
- Semisweet chocolate contains chocolate liquor, cocoa butter and a higher percentage of sugar than found in bittersweet chocolate. The range of sugar added can vary greatly between the different brands. Like unsweetened and bittersweet chocolate, semisweet chocolate is most frequently used for baking and is commonly sold in larger quantities such as blocks or in easy-to-use chips.
To prepare the filling, whisk together the granulated sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, fine sea salt, eggs, whole milk and heavy cream in a saucepan. Set over medium-low heat, and cook, while whisking frequently, until it starts to bubble and thicken. Once thick, remove the pudding from the heat and add the semisweet chocolate chips. Whisk until fully melted, which only takes about a minute. Not only does this add exceptional flavor, it helps the pudding set when chilled. We all know what happens when melted chocolate gets cold… it becomes firm again, and the 5 ounces of chips in the filling aid in the beautiful texture of the pie.
Pro tip: To weigh ingredients on a scale, turn on the scale, place your container on the scale and hit the tare button. This will zero out the scale weighing only the ingredients and not the container.
Pour the pudding into the blind baked crust, cover just the filling with plastic wrap so the crust doesn’t get soggy, and allow to chill in the fridge until completely cold and set, at least 4 hours, but overnight is best. I had some extra filling that wouldn’t fit into the pie shell, so I poured it into a container, refrigerated it and enjoyed it as a treat while waiting for the pie to set!
The moment had finally come to serve the pie, so I dolloped whipped cream on top of each slice along with some chocolate shavings and was blasted up to chocolate heaven. The pie was ridiculously amazing. From top to bottom, it was packed with extreme chocolate flavor and texture. If you call yourself a chocoholic, then this recipe is your chocolate nirvana. Look no further.
Triple Chocolate Pudding Pie
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Yield: One 9-inch pies; 10-12 servings
Active time: 40 minutes
Start to finish: 4 hours, 40 minutes (includes chilling time)
For the pudding:
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
5 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 Cocoa Nib Pie Shell, blind baked
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate shavings or cocoa nibs for garnish, optional
1. In a large saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, salt and eggs until smooth. Stir in the milk and cream.
2. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until thickened. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, whisking until it is fully melted. Pro tip: If the eggs scramble, pass the pudding through a fine sieve.
3. Pour the pudding into the blind-baked pie shell, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely set, about 4 hours but overnight is best.
4. When ready to serve, prepare the whipped cream. Measure together the heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla into a large bowl. Using a whisk or electric mixer, whip the cream until you have medium peaks.
5. Top each chilled slice of pie with a dollop of the whipped cream followed by chocolate shavings or cocoa nibs.
This is just one great example of a divine chocolate dessert, but if you’re hungry for more, you will not want to miss our Virtual Chocolate Desserts class this Saturday at 2pm CST. Learn how to make our famous chocolate-toffee cookies and chocolate pudding with whipped cream. Enjoy the cookies fresh, and save the pudding for the next day… or, dip the cookies in the pudding!
Chocolate is also this week's challenge for our private Facebook group members. Join the group, make a chocolate dish and share it with the group and get other ideas.