Is there anyone reading this, right now, that does not like chocolate cream pie? A show of hands please?
Yep, I didn’t think so. For most of us chocolate cream pie is an adventure in connecting with our inner piggy. Sweet and crunchy graham cracker crust, creamy chocolate filling and that cloud of perfect meringue piled on top – well that creates something even most restaurants can’t screw up.
When I was a kid I was addicted to those commercially created chocolate fried pies. Maybe they were something we only get around here but OMG they were sooooo good. I was so excited when I got my driver’s license because not only did it mean freedom – it meant I could pick up one of those fried pies on the way to school without my mother pointing out the zit-producing potential of what I was eating… for breakfast….
I have since made homemade chocolate fried pies… more than once… I’ll share them eventually. Maybe. [pullquote]Always rinse your mixing bowl and beaters with vinegar or lemon juice before making meringue. The acid helps to stabilize the meringue and it whips up light and fluffy.[/pullquote]
Anyway. Needless to say (but I am saying it anyway) I like chocolate pie.
I wondered what it would be like to have a chocolate cream pie cupcake. After all, chocolate cupcakes – chocolate cream pie? What’s not to love? I wanted it to be firm enough not to be incredibly messy but also to give you that rich, luxurious texture, the bits of graham cracker and the cloud of meringue. I wanted it to be the perfect juxtaposition between cupcake and pie. It was really good – I took them to a potluck at church and there were none remaining when we left.
I will say that these are not easy to transport with the meringue so if you want to take them somewhere I think you’d be better off using stabilized whipped cream as a topping. There are a lot of ways to make stabilized whipped cream but one of the easiest is to just add a couple of tablespoons of white chocolate instant pudding mix to your cream when you are whipping. It doesn’t change the texture unless you use too much and it does give it a little flavor boost. Using it by the tablespoon a box will last for a long time.
You want the texture of the cupcakes to be dense or they won’t hold up to the filling. Be sure to leave at least a 1/4 inch thick wall when you are hollowing out your cake. Once you fill it and pipe on the meringue you will just use that handy dandy blow torch from Home Depot (that’s what I use… it makes me feel invincible) or your little kitchen torch to brown the meringue. it isn’t as difficult as you might think. Although these can be kept out of the refrigerator for a couple of hours with no problem remember that they do contain dairy and so should be stored in the refrigerator if you make them more than 2 hours ahead. Do not put the meringue on them until you are ready to serve them if you are making them ahead of time and refrigerating. Meringue and refrigerators often don’t get along well.
Graham cracker crumbs mixed with a little butter and added to the bottom of the cupcake liners before the batter is put in. The cupcakes bake with a layer of graham cracker crust at the bottom. Once the cake cools you just hollow them out and fill with the pudding. These are cute, delicious and pretty darn easy. Best of all? You WILL have plenty of chocolate pudding leftover. Chocolate pudding, snuck from the refrigerator with a spoon, has no calories if no one sees you. And THAT, my friends, is my favorite way of eating it.
One of my favorites for dense chocolate cupcakes is from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours . That is the recipe I used here with maybe a few tweaks. you can use any chocolate cupcake recipe you like.
Chocolate Cream Pie Cupcake
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 cup flour
- 1/4 cup dark cocoa
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate , melted
- 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate melted
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup dark cocoa
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 3/4 cups milk
- 2 egg yolks , beaten
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 egg whites
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- Fit a muffin pan with cupcake liners
- Mix the graham cracker crumbs with the 2 tablespoons of melted butter until crumbly
- Divide between the cupcake liners
- Whisk the 1 cup flour, 1/4 cup dark cocoa,1/4 tsp baking powder,1/4 tsp baking soda, and salt together in a bowl.
- Beat the 1/2 cup of butter until creamy.
- Add the 3/4 cup sugar and beat for about 3 minutes at medium speed, until well blended
- Add one egg and beat until blended in
- Add the egg yolk and beat until well blended
- Scrape down the sides of the mixer bowl and beat for another minute or so
- Add the 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
- With the mixer on low add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and blend well
- Add 1/2 of the buttermilk and blend
- Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and blend
- Add the rest of the buttermilk and blend
- Add the remainder of the dry ingredients and blend
- Blend in the melted chocolate
- Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners
- Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until done. DO NOT OVERBAKE
- Remove cupcakes from oven and allow to cool
- Meanwhile mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa, 1/4 cup cornstarch, and pinch of salt in a microwave safe bowl
- Whisk in the 2 3/4 cups milk until well blended
- Microwave, stirring every minute or so until the pudding thickens
- Mix a little of the hot pudding into the yolks and then beat the yolks into the pudding
- Microwave for another minute or two or until very thick - stir often
- Remove from microwave and stir int h 1/4 cup butter and the vanilla
- Set aside to cool
- Add about a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice to a clean mixer bowl and stir it with the whisk attachment
- Pour out the vinegar - this makes the bowl and beaters acidic and helps the meringue whip up light and fluffy
- Add the 3 egg whites and the pinch of cream of tarttar and beat until foamy
- Continue to beat while adding the 3/4 cup of sugar very slowly
- Beat until meringue holds stiff peaks and is no longer grainy
- Hollow out cooled cupcakes
- Spoon in chocolate pudding
- Pipe on the meringue
- Brown the meringue with a kitchen torch