Published: May 3, 2020  · Modified: January 19, 2024 by Cindy Gibbs

This Old Fashioned Chocolate Cream Pie is made with pure rich cocoa powder, and it’s silky smooth and easier to make than you might think.  The filling is poured into a homemade pie crust, just like your grandma made.  You can finish it with freshly whipped cream or homemade meringue.

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cream Pie.

If you love the old fashioned pie recipes like you find in little country diners, you’ll love this Chocolate Cream Pie. Whether you top it with meringue or whipped cream, it’s super delicious.

When I was a kid, my Aunt Helen made 100’s of homemade Lemon Meringue and Chocolate Cream pies for our small-town restaurant.  She made other pies as well, but these two seemed to be in the highest demand.  This was back in the day before people put their modern-day twist on these old fashioned pies.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like all the modern-day twists on old fashioned pie recipes, but sometimes I like to indulge in a piece of old fashioned simple goodness!   Old fashioned chocolate cream pie is made with pure cocoa, egg yolks, and either cornstarch or flour for thickening.  No other chocolate is used.  Just plain ole’ bittersweet cocoa.

Grab these ingredients & one pre-baked pie crust

Pie Crust: I used Aunt Elsie’s Flaky Pie Crust recipe for this pie, but you can use your own recipe or even store bought, if you prefer. 

Cocoa: I used Hershey’s regular cocoa powder in this recipe, like my mom did back in the day, but if you prefer a darker pie, feel to use the special dark cocoa or Dutch processed.

Granulated Sugar: You can add up to an additional 1/4 cup of sugar for a sweeter pie, but I don’t recommend any more than 1/4 cup. I don’t add additional sugar. I think the sweetness is perfect and I love how the bittersweet flavor from the cocoa shines through.

Egg Yolks: The eggs add structure and stability to the filling along with richness. If you prefer to omit the eggs you can. However, it won’t be as rich in flavor like true old fashioned chocolate pie. You might also have to cook the filling a minute longer for it to thicken enough.

Milk: You can use a combination of milks in this recipe. I don’t recommend using anything lower than 2% milk if you want a rich flavor. I like to use 1/2 milk and 1/2 half & half. If I’m out of half & half I sometimes use 1/3 heavy whipping cream to 2/3 milk.

Flour: Don’t omit the flour. It’s used to thicken the filling. It’s important to cook the filling long enough to cook out the raw flour taste, which doesn’t take long. As soon as the filling starts to thicken, the flour has done its job.

Butter: Adding the butter after cooking the filling, gives it more flavor and and a glossy smooth texture.

Vanilla: Use pure vanilla extract, not imitation. It makes a huge difference in anything you bake.

Salt: A small amount of salt always brings out the other flavors in baked goods.

How to prep & bake the pie crust

Make the pie dough as directed on your recipe. Form your pie shell and place it in the freezer for about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Use a fork and fork the bottom of the crust. This is called docking. Line the pie shell with parchment paper filled with pie weights or beans. Bake on the lowest oven rack for about 15 minutes or until the edges are starting to brown. Remove the pie weights and paper, and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes until the bottom is baked through. Set aside while you make the pie filling. For more information on how to pre-bake a pie shell click here.

The filling

This filling gets cooked without the eggs until it comes to a boil. Then part of the hot filling gets whisked into the egg yolks, then poured back into the pan. This is called tempering. Then you simply bring it back to a boil and boil for about 1 minute until the filling begins to thicken, (the eggs will also be cooked enough). Remove it from the heat and pour it into your baked pie crust. That easy!

What is tempering?

How to add the eggs yolks without cooking them into scrambled eggs…

This old fashioned version of chocolate cream pie uses egg yolks.  Egg yolks add richness to the pie filling and also aid in the structure of the pie filling.

The process of adding egg yolks to hot pie filling without turning the egg yolks into cooked pieces of scrambled eggs throughout your pie filling is called tempering.

Here’s how to temper the egg yolks as you add them.  Once you bring the hot mixture to a boil and cook it for about one minute, you’ll pour half of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks, while whisking vigorously for a few seconds.  Then you’ll return the mixture back to the pan and continue whisking and cooking for at least one minute or until the mixture thickens.  If you were to simply add the egg yolks to the pot of hot filling, you would end up with bits of scrambled cooked egg in your filling, and no one wants that!!

How to cool a cream pie

Allow the pie filling to cool for about 30 minutes at room temperature. Refrigerate it for 1 hour, then cover the filling with a piece of parchment paper. This prevents a skin from forming on the top. Don’t use plastic wrap like many recipes instruct you to do. When you remove the plastic wrap, the top layer of the filling will stick to the plastic. The parchment paper works perfect. Refrigerate the pie for 6 hours or overnight for best slicing.

Whipped Cream Topping

If you prefer to top your pie with whipped cream, it’s very easy to whip some up, and it takes less than 5 minutes. Simply add 1 cup of heavy whipping cream to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 1/3 cup of powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract. Using the whisk attachment, whisk on high speed for about 1 minute until medium soft peaks form. I suggest covering the mixer with an old kitchen towel so it doesn’t splatter. Cover and refrigerate until you’re ready to use.

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cream Pie.

Meringue Topping

I grew up eating and loving meringue on pies. However, I have found that most of the younger generation prefer whipped cream and aren’t big fans of meringue. So, it was a coin toss as to which topping to use here. My daughter voted whipped cream and won. If you do want to use meringue on this pie, here is the meringue recipe I use on my lemon meringue pie.

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cream Pie.

More chocolate pies you might like…

Chocolate Chiffon Pie

French Silk Chocolate Pie

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Old Fashioned Chocolate Cream Pie.

Old Fashioned Chocolate Cream Pie

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.3 from 4 reviews
  • Author: Cindy Gibbs
  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 Minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 Servings 1x
  • Category: Pies
  • Method: Cook
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This Old Fashioned Chocolate Cream Pie is made with pure rich cocoa powder and it’s silky smooth and easier to make than you might think.  The filling is poured into a homemade pie crust, just like your grandma made.


Ingredients

Units Scale

PIE FILLING

  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa (I use Hershey’s)
  • Dash of salt
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 deep dish 9-inch pre-baked pie crust

WHIPPED CREAM

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Grated chocolate or chocolate shavings, optional


Instructions

PIE FILLING

  1. Place the egg yolks in a 2 cup measuring cup or medium bowl and lightly whisk.  Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa, and salt.  Add the milk and whisk until smooth.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to thicken.  Pour half of the hot mixture in with the egg yolks while whisking constantly with a fork, then transfer the mixture back into the pan.  Continue to cook for 1 minute over medium heat while stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla.
  3. Pour the hot mixture into the prepared pie crust.  Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the pie filling.  Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.  Serve with freshly whipped cream.

WHIPPED CREAM

  1. Add the whipping cream to a large mixing bowl.  Using the whisk attachment, (or use a hand mixer), whisk the cream on medium speed until it’s just starting to slightly thicken.  Add the sugar and vanilla and whisk on high speed until the whipping cream forms soft to medium peaks.  Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Notes

  • The process of cooking the filling and whisking half of it into the egg yolks before returning it to the pan is called tempering.  If you add the egg yolks directly into the pan of the hot mixture, the heat will cook the eggs and you will have bits of cooked egg in your pie filling.
  • You can omit the egg yolks in this recipe if you prefer.  The egg yolks add richness to the pie, but you can omit them.  If you omit the egg yolks, cook the pie filling over medium heat until it starts to form bubbles on top, while stirring constantly.  Cook for an additional minute or until the mixture begins to thicken and remove from heat.  Add the butter and vanilla.
  • If you don’t have flour or prefer not to use it, you can use 1/3 cup of cornstarch in this recipe.
  • For a even richer pie, feel free to swap out some of the milk for half & half.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 3582
  • Sugar: 344.3 g
  • Sodium: 1482.5 mg
  • Fat: 153.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 77.8 g
  • Trans Fat: 1.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 520 g
  • Fiber: 17.6 g
  • Protein: 60.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 964.2 mg