Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Mini Chocolate Cream Pies

A pie being enjoyed by my nephew Sam who is my official taste tester. He gave it thumbs up!
Mini Chocolate Cream Pies are delicious and so easy to serve because no utensils are needed. Guests can just pick a pie up and dive right in! These decadent pies were part of an assortment of 150 pies that I recently made for a wedding reception.

To make them, I used my favorite pie crust and chocolate cream pie recipes and pre-baked the crusts in muffin tins. I didn't have to grease or line the muffin tins for the crusts to easily lift out after baking. The only real trick is to not line the entire depth of the muffin tin with pie dough, you only want to line it two-thirds of the way up because you want pie-shaped pies, not muffin-shaped pies.

After baking, lift the crusts out, fill them with chocolate cream filling and let them cool for a bit before placing them in the refrigerator to chill for at least two hours.

Before serving, I garnished each pie with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of shaved dark chocolate.

Here's the recipe:

Mini Chocolate Cream Pies
(makes 18 to 20)

3 cups flour
1 cup Crisco
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup ice water

In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and sugar. Add Crisco and using your fingers, break it into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs with some large pieces remaining.

Add the water, just a few tablespoons at a time until the dough is moist enough to pull together into a ball. Divide dough in half and roll out each half into a rectangle on a floured surface. Use a cutter to cut 4-inch rounds and place each one in a muffin tin,  pressing the dough into the bottom and evenly up the sides so that 2/3 of the tin is lined. Gather up the excess dough and repeat until all the dough is used. Chill the crusts in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes then bake in a 375-degree oven for about 12 minutes or until the crusts are baked thoroughly and golden brown.
The baked crusts.

1 2/3 cups water
3 tablespoons cornstarch
5 tablespoons cocoa
1 (14 ounce) can eagle brand sweetened condensed milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a medium-sized saucepan, use a whisk to mix the water and cornstarch and cocoa until smooth. Stir in Eagle Brand milk and the three egg yolks. 
Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly until it becomes thick. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla.
Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes before filling the baked pie shells. My favorite tool for this task is a 1-inch cookie scoop. 
Let the mini pies cool at room temperature for 15 minutes before transferring to the refrigerator. Let the pies chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
A dollop of whipped cream adds a nice touch to the chilled pies.

And, a sprinkle of shaved dark chocolate on top of the whipped cream makes them even better!

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