Nothing like a good pie, good company

There are few things better than spending an even?ing eating and socializing with friends and family outdoors in the summertime.

We were recently gifted with a great evening of good food and excellent conversation in Newton (Thank you, Bruce, Laurie, Michaela and Andrew!). Our contribution to the meal was dessert, and in an attempt to not heat up the kitchen, I found a great no-bake pie that is intensely simple but also really tasty.

I found the recipe for a chocolate cream pie on the Food Network website. You can find the original at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/chocolate-cream-pie-recipe.html. I added more vanilla, and I also decided to make my own chocolate crust since I couldn?t find one in our local grocery store. (But do not feel guilty about buying a crust for this one if you can find it. It?s summer. You should be out enjoying yourself!)

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Chocolate Cream Pie

Ingredients

Crust:

1 cup crushed chocolate graham crackers

5 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon sugar

Filling:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened (I used fat free)

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/3 cup milk (I used skim)

2 teaspoons vanilla

Topping:

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons sugar

chocolate bar for shavings

Directions

If you?re making your own crust, use a 9-inch glass pie plate. Put your butter in the plate and microwave until it?s melted, about one minute or so. Crush enough chocolate graham crackers to equal one cup of crumbs and dump them along with the sugar into your pie plate. Stir to coat the crumbs and then press them out evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate (mine was extra deep, so I ended up adding a little extra butter and crumbs to cover everything). Put it back in the microwave for one to one and a half minutes to set the crust. Let your crust cool before pouring in the filling. (I put mine in the freezer to speed that up a bit.)

For the filling, beat the cream cheese, sugar, cocoa powder, milk and vanilla until it?s well-combined and fluffy. Spread it into the crust. Put it in the refrigerator to keep it a little more solid while you complete the next step.

Beat the heavy cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over top of the chocolate filling. (I also ended up making extra whipped cream for mine since I had heavy cream left over. You can?t have too much whipped cream, right?)

Top the pie with shavings from a chocolate bar. (These are easy to make if you use a vegetable peeler. I found that I got long strips when the chocolate was at room temperature and nice little shavings when it was cold from the refrigerator).

Refrigerate your pie until it?s time to eat it. Otherwise, it gets a little soupy. It?s still delicious, but it won?t come out in nice, neat slices.

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We really enjoyed eating this pie out on the patio. The best part about it is that it won?t heat up your kitchen, and if you buy your own crust, it should only take you 10 to 15 minutes to put together.

It?s not a bad way to spend a nice summer evening, especially when you?re in the company of good friends.