Mom’s Chocolate Cream Pie: A Holiday Tradition Born In the Kitchen

There is no other time of the year when traditions mean as much as during the holidays.  Big or small, simple or complex, it seems that just the term “holiday tradition” conjures  up something in all of us. It just doesn’t seem like the holidays if those things that have defined the season for us before are missing.  This can especially be true with food.  Yet, for many, this is also the time of year to try something new, maybe with the thoughts of introducing a new tradition for future celebrations.

Pie Pan and Recipes

My mom was someone who cultivated year-over-year traditions and tried new things.  We always had the same breakfast on Christmas morning, complete with her cinnamon rolls.  And Nanaimo Bars were standard, as was spiced eggnog.  But one year, she found a recipe in the newspaper for one of those Bûche de Noël (Yule Log) cakes. If you’ve never made one, or witnessed someone else making one, let me just say that it’s not a simple dessert to make.  My poor mom spent the better part of two days making that thing.  I watched her as she made the cake from scratch, and then rolled the warm cake up in a tea towel, then as she unrolled it after it had cooled to fill with the cream filling, only to roll it up again, all the while being patient and careful so that the cake wouldn’t crack during any of these calisthenics.  Then she frosted the whole thing and decorated it to look like a log.  And, while the dessert won points for effort, the cake was more work than it was worth.  Needless to say, that particular dessert didn’t become an annual tradition our house.

That is why this seems like good time to share my mom’s chocolate cream pie recipe with you.  It’s hard for me to think of the holidays, or any family gathering for that matter, without thinking how Mom would make this pie.  (Except for the year it got pre-empted by the Yule Log.)  This was always a family favorite at our house.

I guess I got my need for tradition and my need for experimenting from my mom.  I have made this pie countless times, for our holiday dinners and special occasion get-togethers.  But I’ve also tried many, many new recipes as well.  Some successfully (and worth repeating), and others, well, not so much.  My own renditions of the once-seen Yule Log, I guess.  Thanks, Mom, for showing me that both traditional and new have a special place in our kitchens.

Chopped Chocolate

Chopped Chocolate

Melting the Chocolate

Chocolate appears speckled as it begins to melt

Melted Chocolate

Chocolate mixture has thickened and first slow bubbles have appeared

Pouring Ingredients

Adding the warm filling to the eggs, and then slowly incorporating it all back into the custard, ensures you don’t end up with chocolate scrambled eggs.

Chocolate Cream Pie - Covered

Plastic wrap prevents skin from forming as the filling cools

One More Note:  There may be some of you who have been following along with my attempts at mastering the art of making from-scratch pie crusts and are looking at this picture and saying, “She finally did it!!”  Well, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have a confession to make.  This crust came out of a box.  Now, before you make a snap judgment about my lack of perseverance, let me just say that I actually did attempt another pie crust from scratch for this pie.  When it completely (and I cannot overstate the word “completely” here) flopped, I gave up (for today) and resorted to the can’t-fail-from-a-box pie crust.  But given that Mom always used the pre-made pie crusts, it somehow seems fitting that, for her pie, I did too.

Chocolate Cream Pie

Happy Entertaining!

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5 responses to “Mom’s Chocolate Cream Pie: A Holiday Tradition Born In the Kitchen”

  1. laureen says:

    Totally get the pie crust! I’ve had to resort to that nice red box many a time. (: I love to do something new every year to complement the traditional for every holiday. It keeps the memories alive and the taste buds working! Although, husband usually (actually, pretty much ALWAYS) just eats the traditional…. the “new” is just to keep it interesting for me! 😉

    • Hostess says:

      Mom was usually a little more enthusiastic about her trials than the rest of us. But it never stopped her from trying. Hope your holidays are the perfect combination of traditional and new!

  2. laureen says:

    PS The Chocolate pie looks decadently fabulous!

  3. Dina says:

    the pie looks amazing! i’d like a piece!

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