Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chocolate Cream Pie

Pie crusts freeze so well.  I always keep some on hand for a quick dessert or a pot pie for dinner.

When baking an empty crust, place a piece of foil on the crust and fill it with a handful of dry beans.  I used black beans.  They hold the crust down so it isn't full of air bubbles when you take it out of the oven.  Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool.

Mix a small box of chocolate pudding or any other flavor you would like with 1 1/2 cups of reconstituted powdered milk.  Chill until set.  Fold in 8 oz of frozen whipped topping, thawed. Fill pie crust with pudding mixture. We like to add bananas to our chocolate pie and coconut to vanilla pudding for a coconut cream flavor. Top with additional whipped topping before serving.

The last time I made pie crusts, I did 5X the batch so I ended up with 10 pie crusts. We used some at Thanksgiving and then I have had them ready to go since then.

Pie Crust
This crust recipe freezes very well. Double or triple the batch and freeze in individual crust sizes. It will keep for 6 months or more in the freezer.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup shortening
½ tsp salt
Ice water

Cut the shortening into the flour and salt mixture with a fork until the pieces of shortening are between the size of quarters and nickels (no smaller.) Add ice water a tablespoon at a time. Toss the moistened area with a fork until it begins to pull together into a ball. Set it aside and add more ice water to the dry parts, tossing as you go. When all the dough is moistened, but not sticky, separate it into two parts. Shape into disks about 4 inches across and wrap in plastic wrap. (You can freeze the dough at this point to use later. Thaw and roll out when it is still cold.) Refrigerate the dough for at least 10 minutes, but 2–3 hours is best. (The trick to a crispy crust is larger pieces of fat that are cold so they can create pockets of steam in the crust when it bakes.) Roll out between two pieces of plastic wrap to fit the pan. If baking empty, place a piece of foil over the crust and fill with a hand full of dry beans. This will keep bubbles from forming in the crust. Bake at 400° F for 8–10 minutes until lightly browned. If filling crust, use a precooked filling that is already thickened to speed up the baking process. Top with crust, cut a few vent holes, and bake at 400° F for 30–35 minutes or until golden brown. Check after 25 minutes and cover edges with foil if crust is browning too quickly.

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