Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Friday, 1st April 2011

Back when I was in high school I worked for a small diner, Town Lunch, and our two most popular desserts were Chocolate Cream Pie and Cherry Cream Pie. Believe it or not my favourite was the Cherry Cream Pie (I may be a chocoholic but a good Cherry Cream Pie is hard to come by).  We purchased them from a local bakery, Chapman’s, which has since closed.  What I wouldn’t do for a slice of that Cherry Cream Pie.

A photo of three mini Chocolate Cream Pies served on small white dessert dishes placed in a row, one behind the other with the first one garnished with a dollop of Sweetened Whipped Cream and grated chocolate.

When I first started my “Sweet” journey I researched online for months hoping to find a recipe for that Cherry Cream Pie but it was to no avail and I’d since given up. I’ve been reminiscing a lot about diner desserts lately because Liana is planning a dinner for friends.  She wanted to make a Jell-O dessert because they’d been discussing how long it had been since any of them enjoyed Jell-O for dessert.

A photo of 2 Chocolate Desserts in small glass jars with a ribbon tied around the rim of each jar and pictured with desserts spoons and placed on a white cloth napkin.

It got me to thinking about the diner; I can still picture it.  There were four-seater booths along a huge window and more booths in the centre. And, of course, we had the typical long counter with the metal swivel stools covered in a bright red vinyl. We had the big glass display case with the sliding doors where we showcased our desserts.  Directly next to it was the milkshake machine and across from the display case was our ice cream chest.  The walls were covered in the typical diner memorabilia.

A photo of four Chocolate Pie desserts garnished with whipped cream and grated chocolate.

And I can’t forget to tell you about the most important feature, the jukebox.  It played our favourite music endlessly throughout the day.  I enjoyed all the chatter and the hustle and bustle of the diner.  It was small but boy we were busy, all the time! Jimmy served the best breakfast (all day) and people would come for miles for his 3 eggs, thinly sliced home fries with bacon or sausage.

A photo of 3 Chocolate Pies with Sweetened Whipped Cream and grated chocolate displayed on a white cake stand.

We served the standard diner dessert fare, Jell-O, rice pudding (Jimmy’s Signature Dessert – the best!), fruit pies, sundaes and of course, cream pies.  Do you remember how the diners served Jell-O back then? Cut in cubes and served in the small-stemmed glass dessert dishes and it was always topped with whipped cream.  Not freshly whipped, but rather the ready-made cream in the aerosol can.  We weren’t concerned about presentation back then, it was a quick squirt and then the Jell-O was served.

A photo of 4 Chocolate Pies with a Chocolate Crust, Chocolate Filling and Sweetened Whipped Cream and garnished with grated chocolate.

It’s funny how certain foods can create long lasting memories and when you least expect it, they take you back in time.

A photo of 3 Chocolate Pies on a white cake stand.

I wanted to contribute to Liana’s dinner with a blast from the past.  So back online I went hoping to spot a Cherry Cream Pie recipe that would do Chapman’s proud.  Yet again, no such luck.  I guess that search will have to continue, but I did find a recipe for Chocolate Cream Pie.

A photo taken of 3 chocolate pies with whipped cream and grated chocolate.

Sometimes that’s the way life goes.  You have to let go in order to receive what you’re looking for.  But as long as you’re open, you’ll be surprised with lots of other treasures…like chocolate cream pies.

A photo of a Chocolate Cream Pie on a white dessert dish.

Other chocolate desserts you may want to try, Muddy Chocolate Cake (Pie?), Chocolate Caramel Tarts or One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes.

A photo of several mini Chocolate Cream Pies on a large white cake stand.

A photo of chocolate custard served in small glass jars.

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Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Basics, Crostate, Custards, Creams & Mousses, Dolci al Cucchiaio, Eggs, Fillings, Frostings & Dessert Sauces, Mini Desserts, Piccola Pasticceria, Pies & Tarts, Recipes, Ricette di Base, Spoon Desserts

Comments (32)

32 Responses to “Chocolate Cream Pies”

  1. Kathryn Says:

    These look delicious and I loved your story about the diner – I could just picture it. Thank you for another wonderful post.

  2. Evan Thomas Says:

    The more chocolate the better. The filling looks rich and decadent; definitely what I would want for a dessert.

  3. lauren Says:

    Oh those look incredible.I am drooling over my computer…hope i don’t break it ;)

  4. fooddreamer Says:

    Pass one of those my way, Grace! I will gobble it up.

  5. Joy Says:

    That pies looks so good.

  6. Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen Says:

    I wish I were invited to the party of 4 who got to enjoy one of these!

  7. Grace Says:

    Katrina I had to double the recipe and it was very difficult to say good-bye as they walked out the door. But I did get to indulge in a little leftover filling.

  8. Miss @Miss in the Kitchen Says:

    Nothing beats a chocolate pie. Gorgeous photos!

  9. Marly Says:

    Another delicious recipe accompanied by another fun story. How great that you can turn those memories of yesterday into fun treats for today! Hope Liana’s party goes well!

  10. Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. Says:

    looks wonderful!

  11. Cookin' Canuck Says:

    It sounds as though you have many fond memories of the diner – there are too few places like that. These pies are mouth-watering.

  12. Lauren at Keep It Sweet Says:

    Another gorgeous and delicious looking dessert1

  13. Jessica @ How Sweet Says:

    OH my goodness… I need these now!

  14. Chef Dennis Says:

    looks like another top 9 here! What a perfect little dessert, and it is amazing how food can take us back to another place and time. I would have devoured that left over filling, I bet it was delicious!

  15. Grace Says:

    Dennis that is exactly what I did considering I doubled the recipe and I didn’t even get one little pie. It was sad to see them go. (haha)

  16. Lizzy Says:

    Oh, these look delectable! My family would go nuts for them :)

  17. Bourbonnatrix Says:

    Beautiful presentation and photography! Looks yummy!

  18. Judi Says:

    LOVE the photos – they are making me salivate for the pudding. And . . . I love the jars – do you have a source for those?

  19. Grace Says:

    Thanks Judi! I purchased the jars at Pier 1 Imports, well actually they were candles and once they burned down I removed the wick, soaked them to remove the leftover wax and then sanitized them in the dishwasher. They are the perfect size for a rich pudding, the perfect amount.

  20. Cynthia Says:

    Hi Grace,

    You mentioned you couldn’t find any Cherry Cream Pie recipes online. I came across a few of the following recipes. Hope it helps :)

  21. Grace Says:

    Hi Cynthia thank you very much for the links. I was hoping to find Chapman’s recipe online because our local paper occasionally does a feature on long time established business especially when they are set to close or they feature some of the recipes but unfortunately I couldn’t find anything. There pie didn’t have a graham crust, probably a shortcrust pastry of some type. I am going to play around a little with the recipes you sent me, hoping I can come close. They were so delicious!

  22. Dina Says:

    this cake looks delish!

  23. Cassie Says:

    Hi Grace,

    Nothing drives me crazier than searching for that one fondly remembered recipe. Not sure if this is the “one” but thought I would try:

    Best of luck! Have you searched the town archives and contacted either the previous owner or surviving relative? Just a thought.

  24. Grace Says:

    I tried going back thru the local paper’s archive, but your post just made me think about reaching out to the library, I’m wondering if they may be able to give me a starting point. I never thought about a surviving relative, but again you jogged my memory to a friend’s family that owned a bakery down the street from Chapman’s, he may be able to give me a lead to the family. Thank you Cassie! Going to try this recipe, aside from the almonds, this one may do the trick. I will let you know. And so sorry it took so long to respond to your comment, I’ve been experiencing some difficulty with my spam filter and my comment inbox is overflowing with spam.

  25. Kimberly Says:

    Hi Grace, was it the Town Lunch on Maitland St. that you worked at? If so, it might have been my grandparents’ place. (I was just looking up any information on the Town Lunch and found your blog, small world I guess. :)

  26. Grace Says:

    I did in fact work at the Town Lunch on Maitland. Kimberly are your grandparents Jim and Sophie Vilos?

  27. Sophie Vilos Says:

    Hi Grace.
    Thank you for taking us back 33 years. As one of the owners of the Town lunch and a desert lover, it was my quest to have the best deserts. Mine was the cherry pie. There were times when I would buy an extra one and eat it all at once. I was upset when Chapmen’s closed but I guess I was saved from gaining 100lbs.
    Oh, Jim’s special desert was Greek style rice pudding.
    As for your question to kimberly. She is not our grand daughter. Jim and I do not have grandchildren yet.

    Take Care
    Sophie Vilos
    (Town Lunch owners)

  28. Grace Says:

    Sophie how could I forget about Jim’s rice pudding – the best! Such good times and good memories from my days working for you and Jim. Hope you are all doing well. I wonder if Kimberly was thinking of the High Lunch (I think that’s what it was called, the restaurant up the street at the corner of William and Dundas)? By the way I would do just about anything for Jimmy’s breakfast, especially the homefries.

  29. Pie Month Countdown: Chocolate Pie! | The ZocDoc Blog Says:

    […] 286. Chocolate Cream Pie from La Mia Vita Dolce […]

  30. Rhonda Boyle Says:

    I am so impressed with your desserts! Where do you get the little pans? You have inspired me to do a lot more on my new blog. I have major food allergies and have just started to document my struggles with eating healthy. With allergies to eggs, dairy and wheat/gluten, it was a major disappointment to lose my desserts. Thanks to a blog Chocolate Covered Katie, I have found ways to substitute ingredients and still eat things I love. Do you mind if I share a few of your posts with a link to your blog? I would love to reference some of your recipes and try to change them to “allergy free” recipes for my post. I will be following your blog. Thank you. Rhonda.

  31. Grace Says:

    Welcome Rhonda! Thank you so much for the kind words. The pans I used for these mini pies are the Wilton 4-inch springform pans. I believe I purchased at either Michaels, or the local Bulk Food store. By all means refer back, that’s why we blog right, to share. I couldn’t imagine having to deal with food allergies. My daughter is allergic to shellfish and just that in itself I find difficult. I’m so glad you found Katie. All the best!

  32. Pie Month Countdown: Chocolate Pie! - The ZocDoc Blog Says:

    […] 286. Chocolate Cream Pie from La Mia Vita Dolce […]

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