This is simply the Ultimate Classic Chocolate Cream Pie Recipe. It’s creamy and milk chocolate-y with a touch of crunch from the nutty crust and a hint of cinnamon , the perfect chocolate dessert.
This is not your average chocolate pie. This is a pie with a past, a pie with a story. It’s a long story, but it’s a really good story. I call it “The Army Officer, The Bride and The Chocolate Pie.”
I don’t know exactly how long ago the history of this chocolate pie recipe started, what I do know about its past begins with Lola.
Lola was a warm and friendly woman that lived in a sunny yellow kitchen near main street. She always had a big breakfast or sandwich waiting for you when you came into her kitchen (whether you really wanted one or not). Lola was known for her cooking, but she was famous for her baking—especially her chocolate pie.
A telegram came to the sunny yellow kitchen one day. It was from Lola’s son who was on leave from the army after spending 5 years in the Philippines during World War II. Her son loved the chocolate pie and Lola knew she would have one waiting for him when he came through the door to her kitchen. What she didn’t know was that the young army officer was bringing his bride home to meet his mother for the very first time.
Lola took a picture of that day, a faded black and white photograph of the army officer in dress uniform, his arm around the bride in a wide-brimmed hat and polka dot dress with a chocolate pie stain on her lap. In her nervousness at meeting Lola, the bride dropped a piece of the chocolate pie on her lap. The camera captured the moment for everyone to share.
Over the years, Lola’s chocolate pie recipe has undergone some changes. When Lola passed, the bride became the official maker of the pie. The bride was not known for her cooking the way Lola was so, she did what any good homemaker in the ’60s would do, she changed little bits of the chocolate pie to make it easier to prepare. She also changed Lola’s flaky crust (the crust the bride could never quite master) into a graham cracker crust.
This new version of the chocolate pie was just as delicious and it kept her army officer happy for over 60 years.
Finally, the day came when the army officer’s son called on the telephone to say he was coming home from college for a visit. He asked his mother to make the chocolate pie for him. What she didn’t know was that the college student was bringing his best girl home to meet his family for the very first time.
There is no photograph to capture that day, the young college student with his arm around the girl (who was just as nervous to meet his mother). But, there was the chocolate pie and for 35 years, his best girl has been making Lola’s chocolate pie for their little branch of Lola’s family tree. Like her mother-in-law, the girl has put her own little touches on Lola’s cherished chocolate pie.
I hope you liked my little story. It is 100 percent true and this perfect little chocolate pie has captured every moment of the Hoopes Family’s life.
My mother-in-law (the bride) changed Lola’s pie and added a boxed pudding as the base so it will turn out perfectly every time, as well as the graham cracker crust. My little touches to Lola’s amazing chocolate pie recipe are the toasted pecans and cinnamon in the graham cracker crust. I also added my “method” for making the crust that leaves the crumbs larger for more texture than usual.
Please do try this chocolate pie. It’s fast, easy and just can’t fail.
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—posted by Sandy
- 9 oz whole graham crackers
- ½ cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1 stick butter, melted (sometimes a little more)
- 3 large (5 oz) packages Jello HEAT AND SERVE Chocolate Pudding
- (not chocolate fudge and NOT sugar free and NOT instant)
- 9 cups whole milk
- 1 stick of real butter, cut into cubes
- 6 ounces Hershey’s MILK Chocolate bars (not chocolate chips, they
- have too much wax and stabilizers), broken into pieces.
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (16 oz) heavy whipping cream
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- Break up the graham crackers and place in a food processor and process until they are crumbs but still have a texture. Do not over process into powder. Work with smaller batches to keep the size of the crumbs even. Pour into a bowl.
- Chop the pecans until finely chopped (I buy them chopped and then chop them a little more). Place crumbs in a dry frying pan over medium high heat and toast lightly until you can smell the aroma.
- Add the pecans, sugar, cinnamon and salt to the graham cracker crumbs and stir until well combined. Drizzle in the melted butter and stir well so that all of the crumbs are coated with butter.
- Divide the crumb mixture and scoop into each pie pan. Using the bottom of the measuring cup, press the crumbs evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate.
- Place in the refrigerator to set while making the chocolate filling.
- Pour pudding mix into a large sauce pan, add milk. Whisk together until there are no lumps. Stir constantly and cook over medium heat until the pudding comes to a full boil. If the heat is too high, the pudding will scorch. Keep stirring or the pudding will scorch and stick to the bottom of the pan. You may inch up the heat a little if necessary.
- Remove the pan from the hot burner the minute it comes to a boil.
- Quickly add the cubed butter and stir until melted. Then, add the chocolate pieces and stir into the pudding until melted and well combined. Add the pinch of salt and stir.
- Pour the pudding into the pie crusts. Cover each of the pies with a piece of plastic wrap. Make sure the plastic wrap touches the surface of the hot pudding and completely covers it so it will not get a “skin” on top.
- Return the pies to the refrigerator until chilled.
- Whip the cream until it begins to thicken. Add the powdered sugar and the vanilla and whip to stiff peaks.
- Remove the plastic from the surface of the pies. Divide the whipped cream over the pies and smooth all the way to the edges of the pie crust. The pudding that is not covered by cream will turn dark.
- Refrigerate again to set the whipped cream.