My family will tell you that I’ll find any excuse to bake. They may also tell you that I’m a little bit nerdy. My nerdiness shows up in a variety of ways. Remember π in geometry in high school; you know, Pi, 3.14, the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Well, some of us baking nerds like to celebrate on March 14th, aka 3/14, aka 3.14, by making Pi(e). Today’s blog post for chocolate pudding pie with crunchy toffee crust came about because I wanted an easy recipe that anyone can make on a weeknight, since Pi(e) Day is on Tuesday this year.
I’m not the only baking nerd around; Marie Porter, a badass baker, cosplay costumer, writer, and cookbook author in Minnesota, has 159 digits of Pi tiled into her kitchen backsplash, and Marie and her husband have a Pi Day party every year. Oh, and they also have a Fibonacci sequence tiled into their bathroom. Marie rocks!
So, back to the recipe for chocolate pudding pie with crunchy toffee crust. I added brown sugar to the crust recipe from my Easy Beach Pie to give it a rich toffee flavor. Toss the saltines, brown sugar, and a little salt into your food processor and buzz it all until the crackers are broken up into small pieces. With the machine running, add the melted butter and corn syrup until everything’s evenly coated, then pat it into the pie plate and bake it. I forgot to take photos. <<hanging my head in shame>>
Here’s the crust after it’s been baked; it’s golden and crunchy and it’s got a salty sweet flavor that’s irresistible. I have a friend who can’t eat nuts, so, while it looks like there are nuts I let her know that it’s perfectly safe for her to eat when I was distributing pie today. After I take photos and do taste testing of my recipes, I share what I’ve baked so I don’t eat it all myself!
A while back, I jazzed up my old chocolate pie filling recipe with better chocolate and half & half to give it a little more oomph, as my Mom used to say. I like Ghirardelli’s chocolate bars that you’ll find in the baking section of the grocery store. I use 3 ounces each of their bittersweet chocolate bar and semi-sweet chocolate bar and just break the pieces by hand. Many recipes say that the chocolate should be finely chopped, but I find that unnecessary and messy, and the chocolate melts just fine when you stir it into the hot pudding base.
Be sure to whisk the filling’s dry ingredients together well, then slowly whisk in the combined egg yolks and half & half until it’s all smooth. Switch to a wooden spoon and cook on medium, stirring constantly until the pudding base is thick and just starting to boil. Immediately take it off the heat and add the chocolate and butter and stir till it’s all combined. When the filling is done, pour it into the baked crust and let it cool for about half an hour, then put it in the refrigerator to chill before serving.
I couldn’t find my deep dish pie plate, so I had extra crust and pudding that I put into a couple of custard cups.
Serve slices of chocolate pudding pie with crunchy toffee crust with a generous scoop of freshly whipped cream, a maraschino cherry, and a cup of coffee.
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Thanks, and bon appetit!
- 6 oz (172 grams, about 1-1/2 sleeves) saltine crackers
- 1/3 cup (2.5 oz, 70 grams) brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 10 tablespoons (5 oz, 142 grams) salted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons (1 fluid oz) light or dark Karo corn syrup
- 1-1/2 cups (10.5 oz, 300 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (1 oz, 28 grams) cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cups (24 fluid oz) half & half cream
- 4 large egg yolks
- 6 oz (168 grams) Ghirardelli chocolate baking bar, broken up
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons (1 oz, 28 grams) salted butter
- 1 cup (8 fluid oz) heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons granulated or confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F with the rack in the middle position, and lightly coat a 9" deep dish glass pie plate with non-stick spray.
- Combine the saltines, brown sugar, and salt in food processor and pulse to coarse crumbs, 10 to 15 pulses. Add melted butter and corn syrup and pulse until crumbs look like oatmeal, about 10 to 15 pulses.
- Pour the saltine mixture into the prepared pie plate and press the crumbs into even layer on the bottom and sides of the plate.
- Slide the pie plate into the oven and bake 18 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown and fragrant.
- Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan; whisk together till thoroughly combined.
- Whisk the milk and egg yolks together, then slowly whisk into the dry ingredients.
- Cook, stirring constantly over medium heat until the mixture just starts to come to a boil and is thick, 8 to 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add the chocolate, vanilla, and butter, and stir until the chocolate and butter are completely melted.
- Pour the filling into the pie crust and allow to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then refrigerate, uncovered.
- Combine the heavy cream, sugar, and extracts and beat to soft peaks.
For the filling, a mix of Ghirardelli bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate will provide a more complex flavor.
Pie and leftovers should be refrigerated, but wait until the filling is completely cooled before covering to avoid condensation.