Baked Sunday Mornings: Classic Diner-Style Chocolate Pie

I'm going rogue again this week. I previously made the tasty Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl that is on the Baked Sunday Mornings schedule for today (you can read my post about it here), so I made the Classic Diner-Style Chocolate Pie from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking instead.

I have to admit that I have no idea what a diner-style chocolate pie is. Because the number of times I have eaten a chocolate pie in a diner -- or in a restaurant of any type -- is exactly zero. But the recipe is pretty straightforward. The crust is just a mixture of chocolate cookie crumbs (I used Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers), a little sugar, and some melted butter. You're supposed to press the mixture into a 9-inch pie pan, but I used a 9-inch cheesecake pan with a removable bottom instead. I didn't want to have to deal with trying to dig slices of pie out from a pie pan. I put the crust in the freezer while I made the chocolate filling.

The filling is essentially a fancy chocolate pudding. You make it by bringing a mixture of sugar, chocolate Ovaltine, salt, cornstarch, egg yolks, milk, and heavy cream to a boil, and boiling it for 30 seconds. (The recipe says that you can substitute cocoa powder for the chocolate Ovaltine to get a richer, darker chocolate pie, but I split the difference and used half cocoa powder and half malted milk powder instead of the Ovaltine.) Then you take it off of the heat and add dark chocolate, milk chocolate, vanilla, and whiskey. I thought I saw a few lumps in the pudding, so I put the mixture through a sieve before letting it cool for about 15 minutes, whisking occasionally to avoid having a skin form. I poured the warm pudding into the frozen crust and put the pie in the fridge overnight to set.
The next morning I was able to easily release the pie from the pan and get nice, intact slices. The filling had formed a dark skin on top while it was in the fridge (you can see it in the photo above), but the skin didn't affect the taste. The pie is meant to be served with sweetened vanilla whipped cream, but I didn't bother. Even without any sort of accompaniment, this pie was freakin' delicious. The filling was just set enough to be able to hold its shape after slicing, but it was rich and creamy and delicious. The chocolate flavor was intense and not sweet -- whipped cream would be the perfect topping but it's not necessary if you don't mind eating pure chocolate on chocolate. I couldn't detect any malt flavor, but this was definitely no ordinary pudding. Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers taste just like Oreo cookies, and the crust was the perfect base.

This pie reminded me a lot of the fantastic Aunt Sabra King's Pudding Bars from Baked Explorations, which are bars with a graham cracker crust topped with chocolate pudding. The two pudding recipes are similar but slightly different -- and I love both. The only downside to the pie is that it definitely declined a bit after two days in the fridge (the recipe doesn't say anything about how long it should keep), so I would advise making this pie when you have a crowd ready to consume it all. Your guests will thank you!

Recipe: "Classic Diner-Style Chocolate Pie" from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito; recipe available here from or here from

Previous Post: "Baked Sunday Mornings: Aunt Sabra King's Pudding Bars," June 17, 2012.