Chocolate Cream Tart (Made in a Microwave)

slice Kay's Choc Cream pie

This tart tastes just as good made as a traditional pie.

Back in the 60’s, my mom decided to celebrate her birthday at Howard Johnson’s Restaurant and Motor Inn. Since there were none in my rural community, she invited her best friend along with me and one of my best friends to join her in traveling 50+ miles to the closest location.


Used with permission of

Mom concocted a crazy idea to try all 28 flavors of the ice cream they advertised on their road sign–in one sitting. She wanted only ice cream for dinner. It would be our entree.

The incredulous look on the face of the waitress as my mom explained her vision was the beginning of our laugh fest. I can only imagine what the cooks in the kitchen thought when they got the order. Seriously?? All 28 flavors–at the same time? How shall we plate it? What should we charge? (They couldn’t answer that question in the beginning.)

The waitress presented us with two plates of brightly colored scoops of ice cream arranged in a pyramid shape. As other diners noticed our “dinner,” we got really tickled and could barely control our giggles. I’m sure they wondered what we had been drinking.

When we could catch our breath from all the hilarity, we’d point to the various ice cream balls and speculate on the variety and taste of each but it wasn’t long before the icy pyramid began to soften and we had to get serious and eat fast. As it melted it looked much like an old fashioned ribbon candle after it has been lit a few hours with various colors running together in a sort of avalanche formation. Likewise, our appetites seemed to melt and run away as we started turning green about halfway through. I specifically remember my mom waving a white flag when the coffee and pistachio flavors threatened to contaminate everything else because she hates anything coffee-flavored. Ironically, coffee ice cream is now my favorite.

Circa 1960

Thanks for creating such a fun memory for us Mom…and Happy Mother’s Day.

Speaking of Mother’s Day and memories, many people have traditional family recipes for chocolate cream pie. I was mucking around in my sister’s recipe box and found her recipe as passed down by her mother-in-law years ago. I tweaked it a bit by adapting the cream for cooking in a microwave and made it as a tart instead of a pie using a standard graham cracker crust recipe out of my old Betty Crocker cookbook. My sister usually tops her pie with a meringue but I prefer whipped cream with chocolate.

We all like this tart because it’s sweet but not too much, velvety smooth but not too rich, chocolatey but not overpowering and all the ingredients can be found in the pantry. It would be a tasty way to tie a pretty bow on your Mother’s Day meal.

Kay's Chocolate Cream Pie 2 red

The velvety texture of this pie will have your taste buds wanting to dance in circles with every chocolatey molecule.


Chocolate Cream Tart (Made in a Microwave)
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Chocolate cream pie filling (made in the microwave) in a graham cracker pie crust.
  • 2 cups milk (skim, 2%, whole or any combination)
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa (Kay uses regular, I prefer Dutch)
  • ½ teaspoon instant espresso (Kay doesn't use, I do for a deeper chocolate flavor)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons butter (Kay adds 4 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (Mexican vanilla if you have it)
Graham Cracker Crust
  • 20 squares (5.5 ounces or 1-1/2 cups) graham crackers
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
Sweetened Whipped Cream
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Place first 7 ingredients in blender (or food processor) in order given and pulse until completely mixed with no lumps.
  2. Pour into a 2-quart Pyrex batter bowl and microwave on HIGH for 6-7 minutes, whisking after two minutes and thereafter, every 30-45 seconds until thickened.
  3. Whisk in butter and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour cream through a strainer or sieve for the smoothest texture imaginable. When cream has cooled down some but is still warm, pour into 8 or 9-inch baked pie or tart crust or graham cracker crust. Cover top with plastic wrap pressing it to the surface of the filling to prevent a skin from forming. Chill several hours.
  5. Top with sweetened whipped cream.
Graham Cracker Crust
  1. Use a blender, food processor or a plastic bag and rolling pin to crush graham crackers. Combine crumbs with butter, sugar and cinnamon. Press into pie plate or tart pan.
  2. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until light brown.
Sweetened Whip Cream
  1. Whip cream until soft peaks begin to form. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Pipe or spoon over the top


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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen Sellers January 25, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Ok!!! I cannot even look at the cake beacuse I just want this China!!!!!! Do you by chance know what it is called, who makes it, or where I can get it?!??! I am absolutely in love!!!!!


sarah beals June 3, 2011 at 7:13 pm

This is a gorgeous website! So glad I found you! Going to try your yogurt pie crust recipe!


Paula June 4, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Welcome Sarah. If you try the pie crust, I hope you like it.


Debbie May 8, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Looks wonderful! Will have to remember next Christmas as my guys love the chocolate pie for the holidays!


Susan W May 7, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Love this story! The old drawing of HJ is just what I remember. When we traveled to China to adopt our daughter, I rolled my eyes when I was told we were going to stay in a Howard Johnsons in China! Imagine my surprise when we get there and find the most fabulous hotel. 5-Star! Not like USA HoJo’s at all.


Sandy May 7, 2011 at 9:40 pm

What a wonderful post. Loved the story and the recipe. I will have to make this soon. It looks so easy and my family will wonder who made this. Tee Hee. I know where you get your love for ice cream now! I should have known. Anytime I have been at your moms home she serves us ice cream. By the way, I know who Kent looks like now. Great picture of you and your mom. Happy Mother’s day.


Kirstin May 7, 2011 at 5:32 pm

That pie is beautiful. On a side note, does Mexican vanilla ever go bad? I have a rather large bottle of it in my kitchen.


Paula May 7, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Good question Kirstin. As long as it smells good, I would keep using it. But that’s just me. Check out this link for more specific information.


Kirstin May 8, 2011 at 10:58 am

Thank you for the information! This post brought back happy memories of stopping at Howard Johnson’s during summer road trips, by the way. : )


Geni May 7, 2011 at 5:56 am

This pie looks scrumptious and I enjoyed picturing the scene with the 28 scoops of icecream. You website is inspiring and I love and have never heard of the salad in a jar idea. Thanks for stopping by my blog as well.


Nina May 6, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Paula, what a fantastic post and fun, fun memory. I miss Howard Johnson’s! Your tart looks delicious…the whipped cream topping is perfect for it. Happy Mother’s Day to you! xo


Paula May 6, 2011 at 10:34 am

What a blast you must have had with your Mom that day! I don’t know of any other Mom’s who have driven all that way to eat all that ice cream. Hilarious.
Your chocolate cream tart looks delicious (can’t believe it’s made in the microwave!)


Vicki V May 6, 2011 at 8:58 am I LOVE chocolate pudding and chocolate cream pie and will be trying this for sure. Your ice cream memory is hilarious! I guess your mom was a trendsetter: maybe Ben & Jerry’s Vermonster was copying her?! Have a great Mother’s Day!


Gary May 6, 2011 at 7:21 am

How I miss Howard Johnson’s. When we travelled from Indiana to Long Island to see my grandparents, it was HJ’s all the way! Beautiful pictures!


Peggy Helmick May 6, 2011 at 12:13 am

I tried your cream pie only made mine coconut. Wonderful!! I’ll never make it anyother way now. I think the recipe called for some cream which I didn’t have so I used a little van. yogurt. I didn’t put it through the sieve either and it was still as smooth as when I make it on top of the stove. I probably will try this choco. tart too or the French Silk one.
Thanks again.


Paula May 10, 2011 at 5:53 am

I have never tried the yogurt, but why not? Great idea. I didn’t use to put mine through a sieve either–and I still don’t with coconut. But I’ve found it really smooths out the chocolate.


Der May 5, 2011 at 9:48 pm

What a terrific story about Grandma… I can just picture the whole event!
I have also decided that ANY pie tastes better with graham cracker crust.
This sounds delicious!
Happy Mother’s Day to you.


Paula May 7, 2011 at 9:27 pm

You might be right about the graham cracker crust. Happy Mother’s Day to you too.


Betty @ scrambled hen fruit May 5, 2011 at 9:18 pm

I can just picture the faces around the table at that very special birthday celebration- what fun you must have had! 🙂 Your tart is lovely, and looks like something that could cause smiles around my table. Thanks! 🙂


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