A chocolate lovers Black Forest Pie has a creamy chocolate filling between a layer of ganache and a layer of cherries. A chocolate crust adds even more chocolate to this decadent dessert.
You may not think you need another chocolate pie recipe, but if you’re a chocolate lover, then there can never be enough chocolate pies. A black forest pie has it all, a chocolate crust, a chocolate ganache layer and a creamy rich chocolate filling. It might sound like too much chocolate but when you add fresh cooked cherries to the top and cover it with whipped cream, it compliments the chocolate and you get a showstopper pie.
This is the chocolate pie you’ll want to make for special occasions like birthdays or for the holidays or for special guests. There are a few more steps than with a simple chocolate pie, but one bite and you’ll be convinced that it’s worth it.
I’m calling it a Black Forest Pie because it has a lot of the components of a Black Forest Cake. The one big difference, other than it’s a pie and not a cake, is that it doesn’t contain Kirsch which is a cherry liquer that’s used to soak the layers of a Black Forest Cake. What it does have in common is chocolate, cherries and whipped cream.
Why is it called a Black Forest Pie
Did you know that Black Forest Cake is not named for the Black Forest region in Germany, it’s actually named after the Kirsch that’s used to soak the layers which is made from Black Forest cherries. I didn’t think cherry liqueur would be good in my pie so it gets all the cherry flavor from fresh cherries that have been cooked down until they’re soft. You could add some cherry liqueur to the cherries if you’re a fan and want a more traditional flavor.
A the beginning of Covid when Natalie moved back home, she saw a photo of this pie in Bake from Scratch magazine and has been begging me to make it. Don’t get me wrong, I like chocolate, give me a fudgy brownie and I’m in heaven, but this pie seemed like it would be too much chocolate for me so I kept putting her off. Well a year and a half later and she’s moving to NY, so of course I had to make this pie for her.
As a chocolate lover, she has claimed this to be her favorite. She ate the leftovers for a week, and even though the crust eventually got soggy it didn’t matter. It does taste heavenly, but you need to like chocolate, it has a lot in it. The cherries and whipped cream will cut the chocolate a bit, but it’s a chocolate lovers dream! A couple of bites was enough for me, so make your slices small, it’s rich.
Types of Chocolate Pie
- Chocolate cream pie – think of chocolate pudding in a pie crust. Some are thick and dense and others are smooth and creamy but the filling is cooked on the stove.
- French silk pie – this is a no-bake pie with a mousse like filling.
- Chocolate chess pie – it’s a thick pie that is baked, most chess pies have cornmeal in them.
- Chocolate brownie pie – like it sounds this is a brownie batter baked in a pie crust.
A black forest pie falls into the chocolate cream pie category with the filling being cooked on the stove.
Why you’ll love it
- A ganache keeps the crust from getting soggy
- It looks beautiful whole and when sliced
- Leftovers will actually taste great for a couple of days
- Since it’s so rich, you can cut this into smaller slices than a typical pie
What you’ll need
- Pie crust – it does not need to have cocoa powder in it, this gives it a beautiful look, but the cocoa powder doesn’t add that much chocolate taste. The pie has so much chocolate that the cocoa powder can be left out and you can use a regular crust.
- Chocolate – you can choose the chocolate you use depending on your preference. I used a mixture of dark and semi-sweet as I thought all dark was a little too chocolaty for me. You will need a total of 9 ounces. I used dark in the ganache and a mixture of dark and semi-sweet in the filling.
- Dairy – you will need heavy cream for the ganache and also in the filling along with whole milk. If you substitute, you won’t get a creamy filling.
- Eggs – this gives the filling texture and keeps it from being runny, but you will also need some cornstarch to make sure you have a thick filling that can be easily cut.
- Cherries – you can use fresh or frozen.
- Pantry items – sugar, cornstarch, butter, vanilla and lemon juice.
Pro tip: To make sure a cream pie is not runny, use both egg yolks and cornstarch.
Step by step directions for a Black Forest pie
Step 1: Make a pie crust and fully bake it. You can use a store bought pie crust, or you can leave out the cocoa powder and use a traditional pie crust.
Step 2: Heat heavy cream and add dark chocolate to it. Once melted and smooth, pour it into the baked and cooled pie crust.
Step 3: For the chocolate filling, heat the cream and milk and add chocolate. In a separate bowl combine sugar, cornstarch and egg yolks. Add a little of the hot chocolate mixture at a time to the egg mixture so as not to curdle the eggs then add it all back to the chocolate mixture and cook until thick and bubbly.
Step 4: Remove the chocolate filling from the stove and add butter and vanilla and pour it on top of the ganache layer. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface and refrigerate for 45 minutes. Putting plastic wrap directly on a warm custard will keep it from forming condensation and the plastic wrap will come right off the pie without taking any of the pie with it.
Step 5: Cook the cherries with some sugar and lemon juice until soft and thickened. Spread it out onto a cookie sheet to cool. Once completely cool, spread it over the chocolate layer and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.
Step 6: Before serving top with whipped cream.
When you’re ready to serve this amazing chocolate pie, let it warm up just a little. The ganache will get hard in the refrigerator and it will be easier to cut through if it sits on the counter for a couple of minutes.
FAQs and tips
You can use a regular pie crust, or store bought crust. The cocoa powder is not necessary. An Oreo crust will not be strong enough to hold the ganache.
To keep a cream pie from being runny, try adding both egg yolks and cornstarch.
To fully bake a pie crust, place the dough in the pie pan and freeze it. Then Place parchment paper on top of the pie dough and add pie weights or dried beans and bake at 425º for 15 minutes. Remove the pie weights and parchment and continue to cook for 3 minutes.
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Black Forest Pie
- 1 cup flour
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons butter Cold and cut into cubes
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ⅛ cup water
- 4 ounces semi sweet or dark chocolate finely chopped
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
- 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate finely chopped
- ½ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon butter room temp
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups fresh cherries pitted and halved
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- splash bitters optional
- Cherry Pitter
- Pie crust: In a food processor, add flour, cocoa powder, sugar and salt and pulse to combine. Add cold butter, cut into 1 inch pieces, and pulse until you have pea size chunks of butter. Add vinegar and water and pulse until the dough starts to come together. Place on floured surface and knead until all flour is incorporated, it won’t be smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Roll the dough out and place in a pie pan, poke with a fork all over and let it chill while the oven preheats to 425º. Place a piece of parchment paper or foil covering the pie crust and add pie weights or dried beans etc. Bake for 15 minutes, remove the pie weights and parchment and continue to bake for 2-3 minutes until it is golden brown and looks dry. Cool completely.
- Ganache: Place the cream in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let it sit for 15 seconds, then gently stir until it is smooth. Pour the warm ganache into the cooled pie crust and spread it evenly over the bottom. Let this cool for 15 minutes before adding the pie filling.
- Chocolate filling: In a saucepan, heat the milk and cream over medium heat until it simmers. Add chocolate and stir until melted. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, cornstarch and salt together then whisk in the egg yolks. Pour about a quarter of the hot chocolate into the egg mixture a tablespoon or so at a time, whisking constantly. Add the egg mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat stirring constantly until it is very thick and large bubbles form. 3-5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Pour on top of the ganache in the pie crust and cover with plastic wrap, with the wrap pressing directly onto the warm surface. Place in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes.
- Cherry Topping: In a saucepan, add cherries and lemon juice. In a small bowl stir surge and cornstarch together and add to the cherry mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until the cherries are soft, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla and bitters and spread out onto a cookie sheet to cool. Once cool, remove the plastic wrap from the chocolate pie filling and add the cherry mixture on top, spreading it evenly. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Serve with whipped cream. (to make whipped cream combine a cup of heavy cream with ¼ cup sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla and beat until medium peaks form.)
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- You can leave out the cocoa powder in the pie crust.
- Add the hot chocolate filling to the eggs a little at a time so that you don’t curdle the eggs.
- Make sure the chocolate filling is thick before removing it from the heat.
- You can add Kirsch to the cherries after they’ve softened.
- This pie will need to be refrigerated.