Like most grown-ups, I’ve been a fan of Peeps since childhood. More so now for reasons of nostalgia than for actual snacking, but I always pick up a box or two at Easter for old times’ sake. I often float them in hot chocolate, instead of a plain old white marshmallow, and while doing so the other day (as spring has not sprung yet where we live) it occurred to me that they might make a festive pie, taking the place of marshmallowy meringue atop a classic chocolate cream.
It turns out, a graham crust is reminiscent of a bird’s nest, when you have a flock of multi-hued day-glo chicks nestled inside. You could, of course, use any cream filling, but the marshmallow goes particularly well with chocolate.
This pie is perfect for Easter supper and can be made ahead of time – chill the pie with a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap directly on the surface of the chocolate filling (this will prevent a skin from forming), then peel it off and add the Peeps right before serving.
If you like, use chocolate wafer crumbs instead of graham crumbs, or use a regular pastry crust, baked before filling. (Here’s a tip: paint the bottom of a cooled, baked pastry crust with melted chocolate, then let it cool until firm – this will keep any soft fillings, including a pudding-like chocolate cream pie filling, from making the bottom of the crust go soggy.) After Easter, ditch the Peeps and top the cooled pie with a hefty pillow of whipped cream.
Chocolate Cream Peeps Pie
1 1/4 cups graham crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
4 large egg yolks
3 cups milk
1 cup chocolate chips
2 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
2 packages Peeps chicks, in contrasting colors
Preheat the oven to 325F. In a small bowl, stir together the graham crumbs and butter; press into the bottom and up the sides of a pie plate. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until pale golden around the edges.
Meanwhile, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa and salt in a medium saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and whisk in the egg yolks, then the milk. Cook until the mixture thickens and boils. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips and vanilla. Let sit a minute or two, then stir until smooth. Pour into the pie shell.
Let cool for about 10 minutes, then set the Peeps in alternating colors atop the pie. Chill Completely before serving. Serves 8.