Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Mayans Grew Cocoa - Celebrate 12.12.12 With A Chocolate Pie

Happy 12.12.12 to you one and all.  Not only did the Mayans give us a calendar, but they also were growers and consumers of chocolate.  So what better thing to give you today than a wonderful and easy recipe for chocolate cream pie made with cocoa powder.  Yum.  Yum.  Yummmy.  Yum.  Yum.

According to my research, cocoa has been used forever in middle America by the Mayans and Aztecs.  It was actually used as currency it was so highly valued.  (Smart people!)  Here is some information I found on Wikipedia.

Mesoamerica history

A Mayan chief forbids a person to touch a jar of chocolate
Chocolate has been used as a drink for nearly all of its history. The earliest record of using chocolate dates back before the Olmec. In November 2007, archaeologists reported finding evidence of the oldest known cultivation and use of cacao at a site in Puerto Escondido, Honduras, dating from about 1100 to 1400 BC.[9] The residues found and the kind of vessel they were found in indicate the initial use of cacao was not simply as a beverage, but the white pulp around the cacao beans was likely used as a source of fermentable sugars for an alcoholic drink.[9] The Maya civilization grew cacao trees in their backyards,[10] and used the cacao seeds it produced to make a frothy, bitter drink.[11] Documents in Maya hieroglyphs stated chocolate was used for ceremonial purposes, in addition to everyday life.[12] The chocolate residue found in an early ancient Maya pot in Río Azul, Guatemala, suggests the Maya were drinking chocolate around 400 AD.

 Not only were the Mayans mathematical geniuses, the knew a really good thing when it came to what we call chocolate!  What would our world be like today without chocolate?  I can't even conceive of such a world, can you?

Now I really, really like chocolate, but I would classify Dan as a chocoholic.  Do you know any of those?  I checked to see if there is a dictionary definition of such a thing and there actually is!


  [chaw-kuh-haw-lik, -hol-ik, chok-uh-]  Show IPA
a person who is excessively fond of chocolate.

This really made me laugh - who knew?  I thought it was mostly just a crazy word we used to describe someone who REALLY loved chocolate.  Like Dan.  Like how he keeps going to the cabinet and eating chocolate covered raisins as I type this.  Yes, that kind of chocoholic.  He even eats my chocolate chips if there is nothing else here that is chocolate.  How many times have I gone to the cabinet to get out the chips to make cookies and there may be one or two lonely little chips in the bottom of an otherwise empty bag?  I can't even count the number of times.  It could be worse, I know. Chocolate does raise those endorphin levels and maybe that's why Dan is such a happy guy.  Guess I should eat more chocolate.

Today, I thought I would share this easy and fabulous chocolate cream pie recipe with you that I have been making for years and years.  Just looking at the picture made me want to jump up and run to the stove and make one.  Maybe I will still do that.  It is 12.12.12 after all.

Here is what you need:

1 9 inch DEEP dish crust  (if you make your own crust, makes sure and use a deep pie pan) 

Using a fork, poke holes all over the bottom and sides of the crust to keep it from forming big bubbles while baking.   Bake in a 400 degree oven until lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.  

For the Filling:

1 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks beaten  (save the whites if you are making a meringue to top the pie)
a pinch of salt
2 TBSP cornstarch (or 4 TBSP AP flour)  I use cornstarch so the pie is gluten free
6 TBSP cocoa powder
2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla

Mix the sugar and egg yolks in a deep saucepan.  Add the salt, cornstarch, cocoa and milk.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly so it doesn't stick.  Cook until thickened.  

If you have never made your own cream pie filling before, it takes a while so don't get frustrated with all the stirring.  It can take up to a half hour for the filling to thicken.  You may ask how you will know when it is thickened.  It's really cool how "all of a sudden" the pudding mixture will tighten up and it will be hard to stir.  At this point, remove it from the heat and add the vanilla.  Mix it well.

Pour the filling into the baked pie crust.  Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap all over the pie filling to the edge of the crust.  Remove any air bubbles in the plastic with your fingers.  This keeps a film from forming on the top of the filling.

Put in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  Add Cool Whip or fresh whipped cream.  You can also make a meringue and bake it in the oven.  If you do this, do not cover the filling with plastic wrap.  Just sayin'.

Just look at that beautiful chocolate filling.  Doesn't it make you wish you had a piece to eat right now?

If you want to make a gluten free pie crust, here is what you need.

1 cup gluten free Bisquick
5 TBSP cold butter
3 TBSP  cold water

Put the Bisquick in a deep bowl.  Cut the cold butter into small cubes and put in in the bowl with the Bisquick.  If you don't have a pastry cutter, use your hands to squeeze the butter into the Bisquick until it forms small pea like clumps.  Otherwise, cut the butter in with your pastry cutter until you have small pea sized pieces.  Add the cold water a tablespoon at a time.  Mix with a fork until the dough forms a ball.  You may need a tad more water.  Just add a few drops at a time until you have a nice ball.


Place the ball of dough in the bottom of a deep pie pan.  Using your hands, press the dough down, out and up the sides of the pie pan until you have a smooth crust covering the entire pan.  Crimp the top edges like a regular pie crust.  Don't roll this dough, it won't work.  Gluten is what makes dough stretchy and this dough doesn't work that way.  Using a fork, punch holes all over the bottom and sides of the crust.  Bake in a 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned.

This is actually easier than trying to roll a crust and place it in the pie pan.  Who knew?


If you want to make a meringue, use the three egg whites that have been brought to room temperature.  Beat them with a mixer or whisk until soft peaks form.  At this point, add 6 Tablespoons of sugar, 2 at a time and beat until stiff peaks form.  A stiff peak will stand on it's own like a small mountain.  Using a spatula, spread the meringue over the pie filling and place the pie in a 350 degree oven.  Watch closely and remove when the meringue has turned a light brown on the top.

Now, I have a hankering for chocolate pie.  Guess I better fire the oven up and get busy.  Happy 12.12.12 everyone.

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

We won't see 12.12.12 again until 2112, which means most of us won't see it.  Celebrate today!  Make a chocolate pie.

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