I’m pretty sure whoever thought to combine pretzels into a buttery, sweet pie crust is the most brilliant human being on earth.
Further topping that divine crust with decadent chocolate ganache, homemade (easy) chocolate pudding, and a whipped creamy topping is almost too much.
I’m a huge fan of pudding pies, but this one has kind of snuck into my life and skyrocketed the top. There just is too much to love. The salty, sweet, creamy, chocolate combo completely rocks my world.
If you wanted to get completely wild and crazy, this would be divine and totally cute portioned into individual servings instead of one humongo pie. Let’s be serious, though, it’s going to taste amazing no matter what.
I feel like I search all year long to find the perfect dessert to serve on Christmas Eve (alongside some kind of cheesecake, usually this Pomegranate one) and this luxurious chocolate pudding pretzel pie is totally and most definitely the one. Everyone else can have the cheesecake, this baby belongs to me.
Don’t be put off by the lengthy recipe. It’s broken into steps and none of them are difficult. Promise.
Plus the pie can be made ahead of time which saves us all a bit of sanity this time of year.
5 1/2 ounces (about 3 1/2 cups) pretzel sticks (lightly broken in pieces to fit in the measuring cup if measuring instead of weighing)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (chips or bar chocolate)
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 cups milk
5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (chips or bar chocolate)
5 large egg yolks
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Chocolate curls for garnish, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the crust, crush the pretzels in a blender or food processor until finely chopped. Stir in the brown sugar and butter. Press the pretzel mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate.
Bake for 8 minutes. Let cool for 15-20 minutes.
For the ganache, chop the chocolate if using bar chocolate. Place the chocolate in a small bowl. Heat the cream to just barely simmering in the microwave or on the stovetop. Pour the cream over the chocolate. Let sit without stirring for 2-3 minutes. Stir until glossy and smooth. Spread evenly over the bottom and up the sides of the pie crust (it will be a pretty thin layer, don't worry if there are a few bare spots here and there). Refrigerate until set.
For the pudding, in a medium saucepan, combine the milk and chocolate (chop the chocolate in pieces if using bar chocolate). Heat over medium-low until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is warm.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Carefully ladle in 1/2 cup or so of the warm milk mixture into the bowl, whisking vigorously (this is tempering the eggs so they don't curdle when cooked on the stovetop). Continue ladling in another one or two scoops of the milk mixture and whisk until the egg mixture is smooth.
Pour the tempered egg mixture into the saucepan with the remaining chocolate milk mixture, whisking constantly. Cook over medium heat, continuing to whisk the entire time, until the mixture is bubbling and thick, 4-5 minutes.
Off the heat, stir in the vanilla. Transfer the pudding to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the pudding come to room temperature. Spread the pudding evenly in the pie plate. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours until the pudding is somewhat set.
For the creamy topping, whip together the cream cheese and powdered sugar with an electric mixer (I often do this in my Blendtec blender) until creamy and smooth. Stir in the vanilla and heavy cream and whip until the mixture is thick and well-combined.
Spread the creamy topping over the chocolate pudding. Top with chocolate curls or sprinkles, if desired.
Chill the pie for another 2-3 hours before serving.
Plan Ahead: keep in mind that this pie needs to set up and chill so plan ahead for that - it can be made a day ahead of time with good results.
For the Chocolate Curls: I usually get a large block of chocolate, heat it just barely in the microwave and shave curls off the sides with my vegetable peeler. Otherwise, you can use this method from the chocolate cheesecake post.
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