Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chocolate Cream Pie with Pretzel Crust

A couple of weeks ago, when I went to the Brooklyn Flea to work the Bakesale for Japan, I happened across a tiny little stand where a girl named Rachel was selling pies. She had a classic apple pie and a chocolate cream pie, and considering the unseasonably warm day, I couldn't resist a slice of the cold, silky chocolate cream. It was possibly one of the best pies I'd ever tasted. Something about the salty pretzel crust coated with a thin layer of dulce de leche with the sweet chocolate pudding and fresh whipped cream culminated into some seriously dangerous pie perfection. And so, unwilling to trek out to Brooklyn every time I needed a pie fix, I Googled away until I found the recipe. It's not difficult to make, but it's certainly time-consuming (the dulce de leche alone takes 2 hours of simmer time to complete), so save this for a lazy Sunday morning when you don't have much else to do. xo

Rachel's Chocolate Cream Pie
For the pretzel crust:
1 can condensed sweetened milk
2 cups freshly broken pretzels
1 1/2 sticks melted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar

For the chocolate creme filling:
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons corn starch
3 tablespoons cocoa
2 egg yolks
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
6 oz milk chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

For the whipped cream topping:
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar
Small handful of chopped almonds (optional)

Pour the can of condensed sweetened milk into top of a double boiler and keep the water in the bottom constantly at a low boil. Add a pinch of salt, if you like the salty sweet combo.  Stir every 15 minutes for 2 hours, or until sweetened condensed milk turns brown and caramel colored.

In the meantime, bake your pie crust. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, and press into pie plate. Refrigerate until set, about half an hour. Bake for 15-25 min, dependent on how thick your crust is, until lightly golden brown. Set aside to cool. Once your dulce de leche is ready, brush it on the pie crust. It will cool onto the crust and set.

While your crust is cooling, start assembling the filling. First, have an ice bath ready for cooling the creme. Have one large bowl with water and ice, with a smaller bowl set inside.  Have a strainer ready as well. Set off to the side.

Whisk sugar, corn starch, and cocoa in a pot, adding egg yolks and whisking until blended. Over medium heat, add milk and cream, whisking constantly. Keep over medium heat until bubbles start to form and mixture gets thick. Once thick, turn heat down to low and keep cooking for about 3-5 minutes, continuing to stir.

Remove from heat and add chocolate and vanilla, stir until melted. Force the pudding through the fine mesh strainer into the chilled dry bowl. Once strained, stir to cool. Cover with plastic wrap (press plastic wrap directly onto the chocolate creme surface- this will prevent a skin from forming) and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

When ready to serve, mound milk chocolate filling into the cooled pretzel crust. Whip up some fresh cream (1 cup heavy cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 tablespoon sugar, all whipped together in a large bowl with an electric handheld mixer until peaks form) and pile it on top of the chocolate filling. Sprinkle some chopped almonds on top if you like.


  1. wow the pretzel crust sounds amazing.. great alternative

  2. Yep! And it's so much easier to make than a normal pie crust.

  3. This looks absolutely amazing.

  4. CANT WAIT TO MAKE THIS! yummmmmyyyy

  5. I wish I could grab this from the screen ! Yumiiiiiii *

  6. It's a good one! And def not as complicated as the recipe may seem!

  7. So sad. I just attempted to make this and the chocolate part is runny. I think I'm going to have to freeze it.

  8. Sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing...

  9. I made this for Easter Dinner - cheated a bit and used canned Dulce de Leche - this is crazy good. The saltiness of the crust balances the sweetness perfectly! Thanks for finding and sharing.

  10. Hey L--did you cook the pudding for long enough? It takes quite a bit of time to thicken on the stove, and I found that I had to keep stirring it constantly the entire time.

    And Carolina Girl, so glad it turned out well for your Easter dinner!

  11. I actually ended up freezing it after all. It was kind of like an ice cream pie, but maybe I'll try leaving the pudding on longer next time. Overall, it was pretty tasty!

  12. When calling for brown sugar, do you use the light or dark variety?