Chocolate Cream Pie

Again from Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book.  I made this for Easter and it was absolutely delicious.  I used my regular butter pie crust but the recipe uses a chocolate cookie crust.


2 1/2 cups half-and-half

1/3 cup sugar

pinch salt

6 large egg yolks

2 tablespoons cornstarch

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine (I omitted this and simply used chocolate chips for all the chocolate)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the filling:

Bring half-and-half, 3 tablespoons sugar, and salt to simmer in medium saucepan, stirring occasionally.

As half-and-half mixture begins to simmer, whisk egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining sugar in medium bowl until smooth.  Slowly whisk 1 cup of simmering half-and-half mixture into yolk mixture to temper, then slowly whisk tempered yolk mixture back into remaining half-and-half mixture.  Reduce heat to medium and cook, whisking vigorously, until mixture is thickened and few bubbles burst on surface, about 30 seconds.  Off heat, whisk in butter, semisweet chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate until completely smooth and melted, then stir in vanilla.

Pour warm filling into baked and cooled pie crust.  Lay sheet of plastic wrap directly on surface of filling and refrigerate pie until filling is chilled and set, about 4 hours.

For the topping:

Once pie is chilled, use stand mixer fitted with whisk to whip cream, sugar, and vanilla on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute.  Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes.  Spread whipped cream attractively over pie and serve immediately.





Quick Cinnamon Buns

For Sunday mornings, from Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book.  They really are easy.

Quick Cinnamon Buns


3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups buttermilk (I made this by adding slightly more than a tablespoon of white vinegar to milk.)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons buttermilk

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

(Instead of this icing I mixed together confectioners’ sugar and almond milk.)

My own simplified directions:

Mix together all ingredients for filling and set aside.

Mix together dry dough ingredients in a medium bowl and buttermilk and melted butter in a separate bowl.  Mix together just until a rough dough forms (I had to add flour for the right consistency).  Knead the dough briefly.

Pat out dough into a 9 by 12 inch rectangle.  Spread melted butter all over the rectangle, leaving a 1/2 inch border dry.  Pour filling mixture onto the dough and spread evenly, patting it down gently into dough.  Roll dough from the long side tightly into a cylinder.  Pinch the edge closed.  Cut the cylinder into 8 pieces and place these pieces, cut side down, into a buttered non-stick cake pan (or an 8, 9 or 10 inch pie plate or casserole dish would work, too).  Brush or drizzle melted butter on top.  Bake at 425 degrees in the middle of the oven until cinnamon buns begin to turn golden brown.  Transfer to wire wrack and let cool slightly before drizzling icing over the top.