This is a great make-ahead pie, and won't heat up your kitchen, so it is perfect for the summer! The most work is making the filling, which is chocolate pudding in this case, or you could use a flavored pastry cream for the filling instead of the chocolate and make other flavors of cream pie.
Make the cookie crumb crust
Crunch chocolate grahams, wafer cookies or sandwich cookies into crumbs, then pour in melted butter until forms a sort of dough.
If you don't have cookies or grahams for the crust, you can make cookies and then crumble them into the crust.
Press cookie crust into the pie pan and set aside. Or you can put the cookie crust into the bottom of individual glass cups or tumblers.
Chocolate cream pie filling is really just a rich chocolate pudding (see below), or you can make a "chocolate fool" which would be more of a chocolate sauce folded into whipped cream.
Put 7 oz of bittersweet chocolate and 2 TB butter in a heat proof bowl and microwave gently until mostly melted. Stir until the entire bowl of chocolate is combined and melty. Now add 1 TB vanilla, stir and set aside.
Mix together until combined in a large saucepan on the counter:
4 egg yolks
1/4 C cornstarch
2/3 C sugar
1/2 tea salt
Now add in a stream 3 cups of milk or cream while whisking. I used 1.5 C half and half, 1 C heavy/whipping cream, and 0.5 C rice milk, but the original recipe called for 3 C whole milk.
Put the saucepan with the milk mixture on the stove, over medium heat. Bring to boiling, stirring occasionally to scrape the scum off the bottom of the pot.
Once it boils, turn heat down a little to simmering and cook, stirring/whisking constantly for 1-2 minutes, until it thickens up a bit.
Turn off heat, pour chocolate into saucepan and stir to combine.
Pour pudding into another bowl, cover with wrap (plastic wrap or wax paper) and chill until set, 1-2 hrs.
Assembling the Pie
Pour the chilled pudding/filling into the crumb crust, either in individual cups or a pie pan, spooning to level out the pudding. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, start whipping cream in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, adding vanilla and 1 TB sugar once it is half-way whipped.
Top slices of pie with whipped cream, melted chocolate, cream anglaise sauce, or serve as is!