Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Grandma's chocolate pie

There are pies and then there is my grandma’s chocolate pie.

It’s a luscious chocolate custard resting on a flaky, almost salty crust, topped with a springy meringue. For me, it’s la pièce de résistance and whether times are good or times are bad, it’s always welcome and appropriate.

I can’t remember a period in my life when it wasn’t my favorite dessert. My family has always been pie eaters, but we fall into several camps: there are the peach enthusiasts, the pecan lovers and then there are those of us who prefer the chocolate. My mom loves the chocolate best so that’s probably why it’s my (and my brother’s) favorite as well. But that doesn’t explain why Mom doesn’t make it. Nope, only one person can make my grandma’s chocolate pie and that’s my grandma.

When I went to visit her in August, I told her I wanted a chocolate pie. That was no surprise—I always insist that she bake me a chocolate pie when I visit. But this time I was determined to document her making it so I could try and recreate it back here in NY.

She had all the ingredients spread out on the counter and then I saw it: her recipe card. I hadn’t noticed before that she uses a recipe—I always assumed she baked chocolate pie from memory. The old card was yellowing and splattered with spots. And it called for Oleo as one of the ingredients. What a treasure! Before we started baking, I decided to take a photo of the card and as the light was waning in the kitchen, I took the card out to the front porch to shoot it before she started cooking.

I ended up spending more time than I meant to photographing the card. And as I saw the sun setting, I realized I should probably go back inside to watch her make the pie. Unfortunately, as I walked into the kitchen Grandma was sliding the chocolate pie into the oven. Curses! My original assumption was correct: she did not need a recipe card to make chocolate pie. And I had spent so much time shooting the dang card, I had missed my opportunity observe her crafting a chocolate pie.

Of course, being a brat, I whined: “Why didn’t you wait?” She replied that she didn’t know how long I’d be taking photos of the card and she had other important things to do, such as baking another pie—this one apple. “You’re welcome to photograph me making that,” she said. She had, however, left me a consolation prize: I could lick the bowl.

I’m disappointed that I missed the chance to photograph her making a chocolate pie but at least I have a photo of her recipe card. I know that it’s not quite the same, but it’ll just have to do, until next time.

Grandma’s chocolate pie
Filling ingredients:
4 tablespoons of cocoa or 1 1/2 squares of baking chocolate
3/4 cups of sugar
5 tablespoons of flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 cups of milk
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
2 egg yolks, beaten slightly
1 tablespoon of butter

Meringue ingredients:
2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon of salt
4 tablespoons of sugar

Your favorite pie crust

Method:
Mix your sugar, flour, salt, cocoa, eggs and milk (all except vanilla and butter) with a whisk.
Cook while stirring on medium until it bubbles and thickens, about five to 10 minutes. If it becomes lumpy, just beat out the lumps. (It will not get any thicker in the oven so cook until it's as thick as you want it.)


Remove from heat and stir in your vanilla and butter. Meanwhile, poke holes in your pie crust with a fork and bake it at 350 until it’s brown, about 20 minutes.

Beat your egg whites with salt and when they start to get fluffy add the sugar. Pour the chocolate custard into the baked pie shell and top with the beaten egg whites. Bake it until it the peaks on the meringue are lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Grandma says: “It’s real good hot, wonderful cold and you can even eat it frozen—then it’s like a popsicle!”

Note: All that's happening in the oven is the browning of the meringue. So be sure and keep cooking the custard in the pan until it's your desired consistency.

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249 comments:

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oneordinaryday said...

What a great post and I love the photo of your grandma carrying her masterpiece. Wonderful recipe!

Tanya said...

This pie is absolutely amazing. I made three this weekend, and everyone has loved it. This will be my go to dessert. Thank you for posting this.

Nancy Brewer said...

This is IT! This is the chocolate pie my grandmother made. I used meringue powder to add the equivalent of another egg white to make the meringue higher, but the filling was perfect. I never could get the filling right using cornstarch, but this is the right texture and thickens up nicely. Chocolate pie has come back home to Honey Grove, Texas! Thank you so much!

Natalie said...

Made it the other day!!! Tasted wonderful!!! Thanks for the recipe!!

Posey Lynn Poole said...

I used this recipe today. The chocolate pie was so yummy and was gone in a few minutes!! This is truly a treasured southern recipe. Thanks for sharing.

M Eley said...

Oh my gosh I made this pie by the recipe and it turned out just like my Mother made... That is the ultimate compliment as far a I am concerned My Mom was the very best cook in our home town. Thank for shareing I love it I have made the pie 4 times over the holidays and everyone wants more you know it is a very easy recipe. Thanks Mona from Arkansas

Anonymous said...

MMMMMMMMMMM!!!!! I absolutely love it Its amazing I'm making it right now so good second one made so far

Ally said...

I did this for an anti-birthday anti-cake birthday party on the weekend. The chocolate pie went so fast I had to fight my way to getting the last piece just so I could taste my handy work. There were so many compliments. Thank you!!!

Anonymous said...

I made this pie over the weekend. This pie is absolutely delicious. I have never made a chocolate pie in my life and this was the easiest pie to make. This will definitely be a pie that I make often especially for holidays. I don't believe I will beable to make just one. I have never commented online but the pie was so good I had to let you know. Thank you so much for sharing.

MissV said...

THIS IS IT! My momma's chocolate pie recipe! I looke dall over the internet at Christmas and could not find it. I settled for another, it wasn't good and didn't all get eaten either. Today is my daughters 18th birthday and i thought I would bake a chocolate pie for supper. She wants her birthday cake over the weekend so I will surprise her with a chocolate pie, one of her fav's. Thank you so much for posting this recipe and the blog with it makes is special. Better get to baking! Thanks again

Brooke said...

Chocolate Pie and Buttermilk Pie are my most favorite! I have shared this recipe with friends and it is the hit of DC! Thanks for posting.

Regards,
A homesick West Texas girl

Anonymous said...

Aww! Your Grandma sounds just like mine did! I think it's awesome that you still have a wonderful Gma like that. I love your stories and how you make me feel like I am right there with y'all (yes, I am a country girl y'all ) lol! Thank you for sharing this with us. I am going to make these pies for Thanksgiving (I usually bake around 20-25 pies, yes I looove baking), everyone loves them and know how much love I put into them. I give them to friends and family. Thanks again, and tell Grandma I said "thank you for sharing her special recipes"!

Julie said...

G'day from Australia! On my last trip to the US a dear friends mother made us a traditional pumpkin pie and we loved it. I brought home the recipe and have made so many since. I am just so pleased to fine one of those wonderful cherished family recipes....they are the best. I am going to make your chocolate pie for my family tomorrow, I just know my hubby and son will be in chocolate heaven. I will also send it to my daughter in Michigan...I just know she will love it too. Thank you for sharing your much loved Grandma's recipe with the rest of us. I so appreciate your kindness. (((hugs)))

Aimee said...

This was my grandmother's recipe, too. I've tried making it, but it never comes out quite the same as hers. My husband wanted to make me a chocolate pie for mother's day since it's my favorite and when we googled the ingredients we came across your blog.

I normally wouldn't comment, but it was such a coincidence that I couldn't resist. A couple of weeks ago I was visiting a friend and she showed me your cookbook. She has an autographed copy from her friend, who is none other than your grandma! Now, I'm not sure this is the same grandma (Jean Jernigan.) My friend is Lena Hobbs--she was a neighbor of ours and her dear husband suffers from alzheimers so I help them out a few days a week.

My husband and I both love to cook and I have plans to buy him your cookbook for his birthday next month. Your grandma was working on getting an autographed copy for me, but I didn't want it to be too much trouble.

Oh and last weekend we made your poblano mac n cheese for our dinner guests and it was a huge hit--there was nothing left!

I hope you have a great weekend!
Aimee Steward
same4steward{at}gmail{dot}com

Aimee said...

I had to add that my grandmother's recipe also calls for "oleo"--I don't remember her ever calling it "butter."

Good memories. ;)

Felicia said...

I've baked this pie 3 times now! It is a keeper. My family LOVES it. Thank you for sharing it!

Christina said...

Your grandma's recipe was a hit! My family absolutely loved the pie. Thanks for the share.

Caitlin Guthrie said...

I made 2 of these last night and the filling turned out PERFECT and delicious, the meringue however took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up "weeping" I will have to retry it with a different technique!

Cristi Harris said...

This is really similar to my Granny's recipe. It is just a little different. I made this today but substituted cornstarch for the flour. Very yummy. My granny was from Southern Oklahoma so similar cooking styles. Thanks so much for posting.

Cristi

Anonymous said...

I<ve never seen a post with so many comments : )

I keep coming back to this recipe, it<s the best. The first time I made this for my mom she just looked up at me and demanded where I got the recipe. Her words: This is devine, it<s a real chocolate pie like they used to make em...Thanks for sharing.

Amy said...

This is fantastic! My family loves it. Made one for us and one for church tomorrow. Love that the ingredients are so simple.

Wuesties said...

We live in Nashville Tn but my husband is from LakeTravis and I somehow stumbled across your site. This weekend I have made 3 of your dishes since finding your site on Friday and I must say each one is better than the next! The chocolate pie was absolutely to die for served hot with homemade ice cream! My husband and I are thrilled to have a little taste of Texas in TN! Thanks so much!!

Lisa Walker said...

This is priceless. And being that chocolate pie has always been my favorite I can't thank you enough for sharing something so personal and awesome.

Thelamechef.blogspot.com

donna said...

A couple of years ago I went thru my mom's
recipe cards and made copies for my siblings and my children. Some recipes are in mom's handwriting and some in both grandmothers' handwritings. Made a recipe binder for each of us as a keepsake, which we all treasure! Donna - Fort Worth, Texas

Megan in Santiago said...

Greetings from Chile!

Thanks for a little taste of our home back in Texas. Super-delicious and easy chocolate pie. I can't wait to check out your other recipes.

Gracias!

DJ said...

Great recipe. Couldn't get my wife a birthday cake today because of Hurricane Sandy, so I made this instead. Amazing!

Stephanie Catoe said...

Stumbling across this is very errie. Its almost like finding something I've written. My grandmother, or G MA as I like to call her because it always ensued a laugh from her, cooked very many different pies. Chocolate was always my favorite, and the recipe was written on a stained note card, just as yours is. My grandmother, who basically rasied me, passed away in 2008 and I recieved her "Pie" recipe in her favorite Bible. My mother has tried to make the pie, to no avail of it coming out like my grandmothers...finally 4 years later, I have worked up the courage to try myself. I almost do not wish to suceed but I hope to funnel a little of her out of it. Thanks for this, it was a little ray of sunshine.

Terry Johnston said...

The only things I changed in your recipe are: I use three eggs, I use a 12 ounce can of evaporated milk instead of 1 and a half cups of milk, and I use four tablespoons of butter. Your recipe was so close to my mother's but something was missing. It was the evaporated milk! I kept experimenting with it until I got it right. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

la femme natale said...

I have numerous dietary restrictions and allergies. No gluten, dairy or sugar for me! So I made this with coconut milk, coconut oil (for butter), and swerve (a sugar substitute). It is amazing!! For crust I use 2 tbsp. melted coconut oil, one egg, 1/2 cup almond flour, 1/3 cup coconut flour, salt, and a tbsp. swerve.

bill mizell said...

My wife's aunt gave me a similar receipt about 30 years ago and I had good results, but this receipt looks good, I will try it this
Thanksgiving, Oh by the way I am a MAN and I love to cook the holiday meals and eat them as well.

DBStar said...

It's hard to believe that some people have never had chocolate pie, but it's true. When I first came to Utah nobody even knew what I was talking about when I wanted chocolate meringue pie, all they knew was chocolate cream. Not as good. Anyway, I've been trying to get the choc/meringue down for years now, and this is the one. I've tried foodnetwork, Martha Stewart, etc. THIS IS THE ONE. The only thing I will change next time I make it will be to triple or maybe even quadruple the meringue because this recipe doesn't use near enough. The crust and filling are perfect though. Thank you!

Kathy W said...

My husband's favorite pie is chocolate. His "Aint Honey" used to make him one every year at Christmas and gave me her recipe when we got married. It was written in pencil on a scrap of paper. I cherished having that recipe, but a countertop flood (coffee pot) did it in. Thank you for sharing your grandmother's recipe which is just like Honey's. And my husband will thank you, too!

Godfrey said...

This was the first chocolate pie I've made, my wifes gma tried to make me one to no avail so I tried this recipe its awesome I made the pie crust which made it that much better. Thanks again now I'm tryin with the chocolate squares :). Godfrey

Z said...

I made it tonight. Delicious. Unbelievable! I could eat the whole pie. My whole family loved it. Quite easy to make with standard pantry ingredients, I love that!

Nick Ferrara said...

Great pie! I made this for a bunch of people who came over for dinner, everyone liked it including someone who is not a big fan of chocolate. Thanks for posting.

Jerusha said...

I made this with a couple changes. First, I used cocoa mix (as in hot chocolate) instead of baking cocoa cause I was trying to get a hot chocolate flavor. Second, I didn't do the meringue because since it was a hot chocolate pie I topped it with whipped cream and a chocolate sauce drizzle. It was awesomesauce. I ended up making two of them for Thanksgiving and they were gobbled up quick.

Ubermutti89 said...

I made your recipe, since I do not have my Granny's recipe and it was delicious. Although, my Granny's pie seemed to maybe have more eggs, her's was more like a custard. My only negative comment was that I made 9" pies and it was not enough filling. Next time I will do a 1 1/2 recipe or find use my late mother's 8" pie dishes.
Thanks for the recipe...Denise in Michigan

Jessica Beyer said...

Hello I visited this post last night trying to figure out if I'm making my custard pie right.. any way your post really hit home to me my grandma used to make baked Mac and cheese and Cole slaw and they were amazing. She show/told me how to do it but it was when I was in my teen years but cant remember how to make them. I have had 4 grandparents die with in 4 years and I really wish I can go back and have another chance to talk to her and my grandpa. So if you can I highly recommend you take another trip to her house and make that pie with her.

Oh I just scrolled up and looked at the date... I am a a few years late...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe!
Its simple and my family loved the pie.

Anonymous said...

Hello! This recipe is extremely helpful and the pie was delicious! So chocolaty and scrumptious. It was gone in 2.5 hours! Could you please put a recipe of the apple pie your grandma bakes? Thank you in advance!

Jessica

Anonymous said...

Im going to make this for my husband tonight. He loves his grandmothers chocolate pie but she doesnt measure anything so I cant make it like her. I think its awesome how many people responded to this and the story was touching so im convinced this is the recipe to use. It may never give him the same satisfaction he gets from his grandmothers but its better than pretending my attempts at trying to copy hers were anything close. lol

Courtney Champion said...

Can I use store bought Graham cracker crust

Lisa (Homesick Texan) said...

Courtney--Yes, you can use a store-bought graham cracker crust.

Melissa French - The More With Less Mom said...

I am so excited to try this traditional recipe, I wanted something with simple ingredients. I did the math and this is really cheap to make. I linked to this in my thrifty Thanksgiving post. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and this pie will definatly be on my table...thanks for all the memories from a Dallas girl

Jennifer Miller said...

Made this pie today.. just like my grandmothers recipe, so good!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lisa,
Your grandma and my mother just may have crossed paths. This recipe is identical to my late dear mother. She was fantastic at baking pies. It sounds like your grandma was a fantastic baker as well. If you have funds wouldn't it be nice to open a bakery in NY in honer of your grandma. I plan to order your book. Thank you for sharing these recipes with us.
Frannie Daniels

Nomannic said...

Thank you so much! My family loved it. I'm working on a dairy-free version, because I can't drink milk. Would you mind if I posted that version to my blog (giving credit of course)?

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much - this is just like my mother's chocolate pie. Nothing like chocolate pie to bring back childhood memories. Thank you again!

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