This no-bake mini Chocolate Cream Pie is rich chocolate pudding set in a graham cracker crust. It's easy to make, will satisfy your chocolate pudding cravings, won't heat your kitchen, and is perfectly sized for two!
Why this recipe works
- Rich chocolate pudding pie filling that's easy to make
- A no-bake graham cracker crust means you don't need to heat the kitchen
- Mini sized for two, yet can easily be doubled to feed a crowd
I love chocolate pudding. Like thick, rich pudding.
Then put that pudding in a pastry pie shell, top it with whipped cream...yummm...
[pausing to wipe drool from the keyboard]
This classic Chocolate Cream Pie is similar to those you'd find in a diner, except here we use a no-bake graham cracker crust for the standard pastry pie shell.
And because there's only two of us (and I don't want an entire pie enticing me), making a mini pie is perfectly sized for two!
What you need
You can choose between regular or dark cocoa powder. Likewise, the espresso powder gives a richer chocolate flavor. It’s optional, but I wouldn’t skip it!
To use a 7-inch pie pan, the pudding filling and crust ingredients are scaled down the by half from the original (like for a Mini Butterscotch Pie). If you prefer a pastry pie crust, try my No Recipe Pie Crust using a 6-4-2 recipe ratio for a half a single pie crust.
How to make Chocolate Cream Pie
The pudding for this pie is really a version of chocolate custard in that you're cooking a cream was mixture with egg yolks and thickening it with cornstarch.
It's also like a ganache in that you're pouring this hot custard mixture over the chopped chocolate, then stirring until it's smooth.
A hybrid custard-ganache pie filling, as it were.
Step 1: Prepare the graham cracker crust
Prepare a no-bake graham cracker crust using half the amount of ingredients and press into a 7-inch pie pan (a pastry dough tart tamper can help this process). Chill the crust in the freezer for 15 minutes to set the melted butter after pressing it into the pan.
Step 2: Cook the chocolate custard
Start by whisking the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt together. Add ¼ cup (60g) of heavy cream and the egg yolks, then gradually whisk in the remaining cream and milk. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly as the mixture thickens (photo 1).
Step 3: Add the custard to the chopped chocolate
Pour the custard over the chopped chocolate, butter, and vanilla extract. Whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth, then strain the pudding into a clean bowel (photo 2).
Cover and allow the pudding to chill for at least two hours.
Step 4: Fill the graham cracker crust
Spoon the chilled pudding into the cooled graham cracker crust. Level the top with a small offset spatula (photo 3).
Step 5: Garnish as desired
How you choose to serve the pie is totally up to you. You can serve it plain, but I prefer some lightly sweetened whipped cream and a few chocolate shavings for garnish.
Questions asked and answered
Here are some questions that you might have...
I like using dark chocolate for its intensity, but that might not be for everyone. You can customize the chocolate to your taste, by using bittersweet, semisweet, milk chocolate, or any combination of these that you like. Also, don't forget to create some chocolate shavings to garnish the top of the pie before chopping the rest.
Sure! You can use cookie crumbs using the same recipe for a graham cracker crust, especially chocolate cookie crumbs or shortbread crumbs. If you don't have any on hand, make some! Other items you can use in place of graham crackers are saltines, crushed pretzels, or potato chips.
Just double the ingredients and use a 9-inch pie pan. If you want a standard pastry pie shell, use the 9-6-3 recipe ratio for a single crust pie.
Rich pudding pie goodness
This pie is luscious, rich, creamy, and chocolatey, and the graham cracker crust adds a nice texture counterpoint to all that creamy goodness.
I'm glad that this is a mini pie. It's enough to last my husband and I a couple of days at least. If I'm serving a crowd, then yes, I'll make a full-sized recipe for Chocolate Cream Pie.
Just save me a slice!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
Remember, even though these recipes use dark chocolate, you can generally substitute the chocolate type of your choice. Go ahead and use your favorites!
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Easy No-Bake Mini Chocolate Cream Pie
For the crust
- ½ recipe Graham Cracker Pie Crust
For the filling
- ⅔ cups chocolate, chopped, see Recipe Notes
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1½ tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, see Recipe Notes
- ½ teaspoon espresso powder, optional, see Recipe Notes
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large egg yolks
- ½ cup heavy cream, divided
- 1 cup milk
- whipped cream, lightly sweetened, for garnish
- Make the crust: Prepare a graham cracker crust using half the amount of ingredients and press into a 7-inch pie pan (a pastry dough tart tamper can help this process). Chill the crust in the freezer for 15 minutes to set the melted butter after pressing it into the pan.
- Make the filling: Place the chopped chocolate, butter, and vanilla extract in a small mixing bowl; set aside.
- In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and salt. Add ¼ cup (60g) of heavy cream, whisking until the mixture is smooth and lump-free. Whisk in the egg yolks.
- Place the saucepan over medium heat, and gradually whisk in the remaining cream and milk. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly as the mixture thickens. Boil for 1 minute more. The finished custard's temperature will be around 200°F.
- Remove the pan from the heat and immediately pour the custard over the reserved chopped chocolate mixture. Whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Pass the filling through a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl to remove any lumps or scrambled eggs.
- Place plastic wrap or buttered parchment paper on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming, and chill thoroughly for at least two hours.
- Assemble the pie: Spoon the chilled filling into the cooled graham cracker crust. Level the top with a small offset spatula.
- Chill the pie until you're ready to serve. For best slicing, refrigerate the pie overnight before serving.