1 ½cupschocolate wafer cookie crumbs, (I used about 3/4 of a 9-ounce box of chocolate Teddy Grahams)
2ounces(57g)bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
⅓cup(28g)unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ¾cupswhole milk, divided
¼cupheavy whipping cream
4ounces(113g)bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
¾cupchilled crème fraîche (see note)
¾cupchilled heavy whipping cream
Crust: (can be made one day ahead of time, lightly covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated)
Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. In a food processor (or by hand in a ziploc bag with a rolling pin), blend cookie crumbs and sugar. If using a food processor, add melted butter (if using a bag, pour the crumbs into a bowl and mix in the butter); process until crumbs are evenly moistened.
Press crumb mixture onto bottom and up sides (not rim) of 9-inch glass pie dish. Bake until crust begins to set and no longer looks moist, pressing gently with back of fork if crust puffs, about 10 minutes.
Remove crust from oven, then sprinkle chopped chocolate over bottom of crust. Let stand until chocolate softens, 1 to 2 minutes. Using offset spatula or small rubber spatula, spread chocolate over bottom and up sides of crust to cover. Chill crust until chocolate sets, about 30 minutes.
Filling: (can be made 2 days ahead of time – keep covered in the refrigerator until ready to use)
Whisk sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt to blend in heavy medium saucepan. Gradually add 1/3 cup milk, whisking until smooth paste forms. Whisk in remaining milk, then 1/4 cup cream.
Using flat-bottom wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, stir mixture constantly over medium heat, scraping bottom and sides of pan until pudding thickens and begins to bubble at edges, about 5 minutes.
Add chocolate; stir until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Pour hot pudding into crust and spread evenly.
Cool 1 hour at room temperature. Cover with a cake dome or other covering that doesn’t lay directly on the pudding; chill overnight.
Topping: (Assembled pie can be made 6-8 hours ahead of time – cover with a cake dome or tall pot and refrigerate)
Using electric mixer, beat crème fraîche (see note), whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla in medium bowl just until stiff peaks form and mixture is thick enough to spread (do not overbeat or mixture may curdle).
Spread topping decoratively over top of pie, swirling to create peaks, if desired. Sprinkle chocolate shavings decoratively on the top of the pie, if desired. Cut pie into wedges and serve.
Make-Ahead: read through the recipe to see the notes about what parts of the pie can be made ahead of time. The pudding portion needs to be made at least one day ahead of time to chill overnight in the refrigerator. Substitution: also, if the crème fraîche part has you sweating bullets, you can sub the same amount of heavy whipping cream (making it 1 1/2 cups total) for the topping – but you will be missing out on a tastebud experience of silky proportions your tongue has never felt the likes of. Just sayin’.Crème Fraîche: crème fraîche is a tangy, thinner form of sour cream and is used a lot in French cooking/baking. The unique property of crème fraîche compared to sour cream is that it can be whipped to soft or stiff peaks, just like whipping cream. Crème fraîche is quite expensive to buy but the good news is you can easily make it yourself at home (which is what I did for this recipe). Here is the method I used:Filling: in a small saucepan, pour in 1 cup of heavy cream and over low heat, heat the cream until it is tepid and slightly warm to the touch (no need to overheat it – you just want to take the chill off). Stir in 1 1/2 tablespoons buttermilk. The cultures in the buttermilk are going to turn the cream into crème fraîche. Pour the mixture into a glass jar, cover it loosely and leave it at room temperature for 24 hours, stirring every 6-8 hours (don’t worry about it – the cultures in the buttermilk will protect it from going bad). You’ll notice it will start to thicken a bit. After 24-36 hours, put it in the fridge where it can be kept for 7-10 days. Once completely chilled, it can be used accordingly.