We met at church one summer Sunday a bunch of years ago, and after our first brief conversation, he wandered out to the foyer. A church lady offered him a leftover doughnut, and he picked one with chocolate frosting. At which point I thought, "Yeah, I could spend the rest of my life with that guy."
We got engaged a few months later, and I've spent our marriage bringing him fully into the land of chocolate, where I live.
One of the chocolate desserts he loves best is chocolate cream pie. And I love my husband, so sometimes I make him chocolate cream pie.
My daughter Anna also loves chocolate cream pie. And I love my daughter Anna. So sometimes I make her chocolate cream pie, too.
Anna, in particular, is a chocolate-cream pie (CCP) fiend. When I ask what she wants for dessert, she'll answer "chocolate cream pie"--nonchalantly, as if I can just whip one up on the spur of the moment.
The thing is that my full-on CCP requires a significant commitment of time and the securing of certain special ingredients. But out of love for Anna and for my husband (and, admittedly, out of my own CCP addiction), I occasionally make the effort.
The Over-Achiever incarnation of CCP features the world's best pie crust (my mom's...so good it could make a grown man weep) and homemade chocolate pudding based on a gorgeous Dutch process cocoa worth the mail-order price tag. I top it off with whipped cream or whipped topping (more on that later) and a liberal shower of real chocolate sprinkles.
By "real," I mean that they are made of actual chocolate that melts in your mouth as opposed to the usual type of hydrogenated-oil sprinkles that, as far as I know, don't melt anywhere.
I think this pie is worth the investment of time and money. But I know life sometimes calls for a CCP infusion when both time and money are short. So, I'm also offering a Cheater CCP: bake off a packaged pie crust, fill it with instant or cook 'n' serve chocolate pudding, slather it with whipped topping or whipped cream, and shower it with mini chocolate-chips--which while not "sprinkly" are, in fact, actual chocolate.
(There are some compromises we cannot make in chocoholic land, and fake chocolate is one of them.)
OR: cobble together a Cheater Over-Achiever CCP using components of both recipes. In the interest of full disclosure, this is what I do, because I do not keep whipping cream in the house, but I do maintain a steady supply of "spray" whipped cream (actual cream in a handy if environmentally evil aerosol format) as well as totally-without-redemptive-qualities reduced-fat non-dairy whipped topping.
Whichever road you take to get there, if your journey leads you to Chocolate Cream Pie, I think it was worth the trip.
Speaking of which, if you want the recipe for either Over-Achiever or Cheater Chocolate Cream Pie (or just the recipe for my mom's pie crust), I'll have to ask you to take a little trip over to the lovely Her View From Home. They let me ramble on every second Wednesday of the month, and this is what I'm rambling on about in February. While you do that (thank you, by the way), I'm taking a trip to the kitchen. Because now that I'm done blogging about this pie, my husband and younger daughter would like me to actually make them one.