Now Accepting Applications

Proposed Chocolate Pudding Pie (From Scratch)*

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process 2 packages honey graham crackers (total: 2 1/4 cups) until they resemble fine crumbs. Add 5 tablespoons sugar and 10 tablespoons melted butter (unsalted) and pulse to combine. Using your fingers, press the mixture into a 9-inch pie dish. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool. Make this chocolate pudding, then pour into prepared crust. Chill for at least 3 hours (and up to 24) and top with freshly whipped cream.

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This is so funny. But perhaps sadly I can totally relate to the one who wrote the questionnaire. I am always wary of people bringing “newfangled” things to my Thanksgiving table. I like Thanksgiving one way and that is the way I’ve been having it my whole life!


This is fantastic! I am expecting some similar reactions when I make some changes to the pumpkin pie this year. Gave me a giggle thinking about it. 🙂


Sadly, I’m one of those people who laments the lack of plain pumpkin pie whenever people get creative with the pumpkin cheesecakes and the pumpkin bread puddings. However, I love a good chocolate cream pie, and save it for Christmas, when our family is more flexible about the menu. Love the one from Gourmet, Feb. 2004 (only I use a regular pie crust, because that’s what we like). The pudding is to die for, and (shhhhh) beats Grandma’s Jello pudding pie hands down.


This is so cute and awesome. My mom and I always do a non-traditional dish or two on Thanksgiving, and it proves to be a risky maneuver every year (to say the least). This year I am changing up the yams and making my favorite smoked scalloped sweet potatoes that I found a few months ago, and it has yet to do anything but WOW the people we have made it for! …. I will let you know how it goes 🙂


This sounds so good! In our family we always have two desserts – one traditional pumpkin pie and one chocolate concoction. I am not a pumpkin pie lover and a cousin in the family is not a chocolate lover (seriously?), so everyone wins.

Normally I fear change in life in general. But at Thanksgiving I welcome it, I love it when people get crazy with the side dishes.


I love the application form. As one of 6 kids in an ever growing family we need something like this :). We have wars over the amount of butter in the mashed potatoes. Is there a governing body for Thanksgiving?


I have never posted before – even after I’ve made many of your dishes to rave reviews from my family (including beef/broccoli stir fry last night.) But chocolate cream pie has driven me to it.

Farmstead in St. Helena, CA has taken the classic chocolate cream pie to another level with an easily adaptable technique. They add a layer of melted, hardened chocolate between a flakey graham cracker crust and the chocolate mousse/pudding. That one simple step makes for a truly outrageous pie. I have been dying to try it.

Since my mother doesn’t accept any applications for new recipes at all, I always make a follow-up Thanksgiving dinner in early December. We invite a few friends over and have a turkey meal, take two – using all of the recipes that I want to try. Its a win win.


This just made me “snort laugh” quite loudly. We were actually talking this very morning about this issue! Our family is beyond obsessive about the dishes that are shared for our annual holiday meals and any change to the well versed menu is met with fierce resistance. Think pitchforks and flaming torches! If we ever show up with something that is not immediately recognized as the standard fare, we are met with heavy glares of distain and contempt. This year, just for fun, I will print your post and put it on the Thanksgiving banquet table right next to the new dish of roasted brussel sprouts, grapes, and walnuts that I will be smuggling in UNDER the pumpkin cheesecake. lol Blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Beth Cregan

Great post – it made me laugh out loud! In Australia we have taken to Halloween but sadly Thanksgiving goes almost unnoticed! time to change that! I no longer have my mum alive which makes me love this even more. May we long celebrate mothers and their ability to pull together a family celebration!


Hysterical! I laughed out loud at-“does it possess any trait that might be described as odd or creative” because that is exactly why I have been making the same apple pie and deviled eggs for the past decade when I really just want to break out something different! I think I need this application for my grandmother.


This is hilarious! But it’s nice that your mom can sort of laugh at herself for resisting change. My MIL is just like that except for the laughing part – it’s more of a passive-agressive insistence on keeping things just as they are, and any new additions or changes to the traditions are met with deafening silence. We just fill in the laughter for her afterwards 😉


“For the kids” is code for, “for the grownups while watching the latest episode of Bones once the kids are in bed,” right?



And have I ever told you how many compliments I get for my bumper sticker (Make Dinner Not War) here in Los Angeles? At least five times a day!


LOVE it! My turn to host TG this year and I was terrified to tell my extended family that I was banishing all those bland root vegetable purees and mashes (except mashed potatoes – I’m not a heathen!) and the onions in cream sauce for a large pan of roasted root vegetables! However, they completely surprised me with their enthusiasm!! Now, it better turn out okay….


I love “newfangled.” I have no particular attachment to tradition (except that mashed potatoes must MUST have lumps) but I don’t care for pumpkin pie.


I’d also like to request a blank version of this form. I’ve been trying to get my mom to bend even a little on tradition for years.


Liza – I’ve updated the recipe thanks to your comment. A regular pie dish works just fine, so don’t bother with springform.


I love this post. Since we started having Thanksgiving at our house, my mother worries over the historic green bean casserole. Our food co-op does not sell frozen green beans, so I buy fresh ones for the casserole, which just about makes her head spin 360 degrees!!! We somehow manage! 🙂


if this is not exactly like my mother! ESPECIALLY the weird/unusual ingredients and newfangled labels (organic, freerange, artisanal) parts.
I’ve already sent her the link to this post.

Kitchen Ninja

OMG, I am laughing so hard at that form! Especially because I was accused of “messing with Thanksgiving” because I changed the stuffing recipe this year.


Do I win the feast?

Also, I think chocolate pie from scratch will always win, hands-down. SO fabulous.


Omg. I just had a lick of the pudding that I made for this pie and words can not describe the awesomeness! Can’t wait for dessert tomorrow!


So, I made this pie exactly as recipe. It was good … but three hours is not long enough for it to set. I would ensure to have it made and in the fridge the morning-of so it has all day to set.

Also I took the 6th commenter’s advice and added a thin layer of melted chocolate to harden. It sounds divine in theory, but the reality was that the pie was thus really difficult to cut once cooled! Like, embarrassingly difficult. And honestly, the pudding is so lovely and silky that the addition of more chocolate was sweet-overkill (this from someone who happily eats chocolate cake for breakfast).

Otherwise, thank you so much for the inspiration, and I love your book.


My aunt Joanie brought what she called a “chocolate knock-out cake” to Thanksgiving dinner for the better part of 25 years. It was a Bundt cake constructed of a pudding-in-the mix chocolate cake mix, a box of instant chocolate pudding, a pint of sour cream, and a bag of chocolate chips for good measure. Now, my mother “owned” Thanksgiving dinner, and was a meticulous student of Julia and Marcella; my dad was the Pie Man, and also baked bread and made weeknight bolognese and red-cooked chicken. No cake mix was ever seen in our pantry. Yet by combining the scientific advancements of Duncan Hines, Jell-O, and Nestle, Aunt Joanie could express herself as the anti-snob, the renegade, ever-so-subtly commenting on the bobo attitude that seasoned our giblet gravy. In her honor, I make her recipe exactly as she specifies.


Brilliant – I love your mom. And I had to google “lardo,” so she might approve of me, too.
I think I’ll do a test pie this weekend (without the chocolate lining – thanks, Heidi!), and we’ll see if it will be allowed onto our Thanksgiving table. I have high hopes.