Grandmas chocolate pie DSC7409

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.

Grandma's chocolate pie | Homesick Texan
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.

Grandma's chocolate pie | Homesick Texan

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.

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4.91 from 60 votes

Grandma’s chocolate pie

Servings 8
Author Lisa Fain

Ingredients

Ingredients for the pie:

  • 4 tablespoons cocoa or 1 1/2 squares baking chocolate
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch piecrust

Ingredients for the meringue:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons sugar

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  • In a saucepot, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, salt, egg yolks, and milk.
  • On medium heat, cook while stirring until it bubbles and thickens, about 5 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 the chocolate filling from the heat and stir in the vanilla and butter.
  • Meanwhile, as you make the custard, poke holes in the piecrust with a fork and bake it until it’s brown, about 20 minutes.
  • To make the meringue, beat the 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. Serve warm.
  • Grandma says: “It’s real good hot, wonderful cold and you can even eat it frozen—then it’s like a popsicle!”

Notes

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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284 Comments

  1. Another displaced Texan here, another Texan whose grandmother made the best chocolate meringue pie. I got the recipe from my mom a few years back and the memories that pie unleashed when I made it brought me such joy. My grandmother has been gone for a decade now, but making her signature recipes, especially her chocolate pie, brings her back to me for a little while. Thanks for the reminder. (Now if I can just find her recipe for what she called Mississippi Mud Cake…)

  2. Michelle Bassett says:

    Hi Lisa, chocolate pie was my father’s absolute favorite. Daddy passed away a year ago at 84 of cancer, this past Christmas, when making pies I made a chocolate pie for Daddy and was curious to see who would eat ‘daddy’s pie’ now that he’s gone. It was the first one gone as everyone knew the worst thing to daddy would be for no one to eat that pie! This was also the first year my meringue was PERFECT which I attribute to his heavenly supervision.

    1. Lisa Fain says:

      Michelle–What a beautiful story! How wonderful that your daddy’s memory lives on through his favorite pie.

  3. It has been 7 years.
    7 years of me searching google for ‘’grandmas chocolate pie Texan/Texas’’ or ‘’grandma chocolate pie’’ every 8-10 months and looking for this exact recipe.
    This is the ONLY thing I can make well. I ABSOLUTELY love it.
    As of late, I lost this recipe. I forgot about it, I won’t lie. Tonight will be the first time I make it in three years and I. Am. So. Excited. It’s going to remind me of my late teens, it’s going to remind me of my little tradition of looking up your grandmothers recipe yearly and then baking a perfect pie, it’s going to remind me of so many things.
    I hope this page never disappears because if it ever does, so do so many of my own memories.

    1. Lisa Fain says:

      Aminah–I’m so glad you’ve found the recipe again! Enjoy!

  4. Thank you so much for posting this recipe. My mom used to make this for me when I was a child and I got a taste for one the other day but remembered it was the one thing I never asked her to show me how to make. She passed away last year so I had no one to ask. I stumbled upon your recipe and it sounded like my mom. Thanks so much for posting the picture of the original recipe! I made it today and it was delicious!

    1. Lisa Fain says:

      DJ–I’m delighted that the recipe helped you reconnect with the memory of your mom. What a sweet story!

  5. Shirley Thompson says:

    5 stars
    I missed your previous postings of this recipe but happily found it today. My Mother was born in Abilene, TX, & her Mother (my Grandmother) lived there for many years. My Mother made an incredible chocolate pie, but she didn’t have a recipe written down. Sadly, she died in 1999, & I foolishly never asked for her recipe. The photos you have posted looked exactly like my Mother’s chocolate pie. Oh happy day!

    BTW, do you use a 9″ pie pan for this recipe?

    So many of your recipes remind me of my Mother’s & Grandmother’s Texas/Southern cooking. Thank you!

    1. Lisa Fain says:

      Shirley–This makes my day! I’m so pleased this recipe reminds you of your mother’s and you can now recreate a beloved dessert. A 9-inch pie pan is what we use. Enjoy the pie!