Chocolate pudding pie is an easy make ahead dessert that takes a few simple steps where planning ahead pays off. Sometimes simple desserts are just what you need to end a meal—nothing fussy, just yummy homemade chocolate pudding with some freshly whipped cream topped with even more chocolate could be grated on top. You could hardly go wrong with that combination. Make this chocolate pudding pie gluten free by choosing a gluten free graham cracker– I bake with Pamela’s gluten free Graham Style Crackers which come in cinnamon, honey, or chocolate. And be a detective when it comes to labels on items that you might assume are gluten free (especially the chocolate in this case) and make sure that you are using certified gluten free ingredients.
I like this pie for a few reasons: First and foremost, it is delicious. Second, this pie takes me back to the dessert my grandmother often made for family gatherings—a prepared graham cracker crust filled with Jell-o chocolate pudding then covered with cool whip. There’s no shame in making the short cut version! I’ve been known to eat leftovers for breakfast just to be the first to get that last piece of pie. Another plus for this chocolate pudding pie is that it’s great to share with company because you can make the crust and filling ahead of time then whip the cream right before serving.
Chocolate Pudding from Scratch: You can do it!
Making a chocolate pudding pie from scratch is not a tough assignment. The crust comes together easily with graham crackers and butter; the topping is freshly whipped cream. The pudding does take patience and a steady whisk to create a smooth texture but it is well worth the effort. Get ready for a messy bite and savor the crunch of the graham cracker base, the creamy chocolate pudding filling and the fluffy whipped topping. This is one tasty creation.
Plan ahead to make this pie the day before you’d like to serve it. The chocolate pudding needs time to set. Well worth the effort!
For the Crust
- Gluten Free: 1 Box Pamela’s Mini Grahams (or 12 graham crackers traditional style of any brand)
- 6 Tablespoons melted butter
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
For the filling: (directly from Martha Stewart’s recipe)
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the topping:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- Start with the crust: Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease the pie plate with butter. Use a food processor to combine all of the ingredients for the crust. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom and sides of a pie dish. Press firmly with your fingers or with a greased glass, starting in the middle and working your way out to the sides of the dish. Refrigerate for 30 minutes then cook in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Let cool.
- Meanwhile move on to the filling: Use a saucepan to melt the chocolate with the milk, whisking as the chocolate melts. In a separate heatproof bowl combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Ladle one cup of the milk chocolate mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Keep your whisk going as you pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Continue to cook for 5 minutes. The mixture will come to a boil (keep whisking) then it will thicken (yes, keep whisking!).
- Now we move onto the eggs. Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl. Temper the eggs by slowly adding a small amount (1/2 cup would do) of the hot chocolate mixture into the egg yolks while you whisk. Then add the eggs back into the saucepan and continue whisking for a few minutes until the custard thickens. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla. Cool the pudding and –guess what—WHISK again! 2 or 3 times in the next 10 minutes. Is your arm tired yet? Whisking is harder than it looks!
- Slowly pour the chocolate custard into the cooled crust. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the pudding. Cool for 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator.
- The topping is simple: whip the heavy cream with a mixer (give your whisking arm a break) until you have soft peaks; add the confectioners’ sugar and continue to whisk until stiff peaks form. Spread this cream over the set pudding. Sprinkle with more chocolate if you wish. I like to use a microplane (grater) to grate chocolate over top of the pie.
Note that the majority of the prep time is a minimum of 4 hours in the refrigerator or, even better, overnight.
The chocolate pudding recipe ingredients come from a Martha Stewart recipe on page 17 of her cookbook, Martha Stewart’s Pies and Tarts. Here is a link to a similar Martha Stewart milk chocolate pudding pie.
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This post was originally shared on September 17, 2012 and was updated in February 2018.