Grammy Ruth’s Chocolate Pudding Pie

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The best thing about this pie is that it calls for a commercial crust (find them in the baking aisle, often made from Oreo or other cookies) and real whipped cream from a can.  Should you choose to trouble yourself, you can grind about 30 chocolate wafer cookies with a half-cup cup of sugar and a stick of butter, melted, then press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan, and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. But your results will be far less perfect and probably no healthier.

3 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
5 T cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, grated fine
½ teaspoon almond extract, optional
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2½  cups whole milk

Put the egg yolks in a medium bowl, mix gently and set aside.  Mix the sugar, cornstarch, salt and chocolate in a non-stick saucepan with a wooden spoon until well mixed.

Add the extracts to the milk, and add the first cup of milk in small increments, stirring constantly to keep the cornstarch from clumping.  When it’s all mixed well, pour in the remaining milk.

Cook on low-medium heat, stirring constantly, until pudding boils; boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat, and put a couple of spoons of the mixture into egg yolks, stir well and return to pot. Return to a boil for 1 minute. Pour into pie shell and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Top with whipped cream, which is a good camouflage and richness tamer.

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