With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I figured y’all might need a sure thing. A dessert that is rich enough, easy enough, pretty enough, and able to feed enough mouths at your dinner soirees. A dessert whose plate gets cleaned and leaves party guests licking their forks and asking, “Who brought that?” This chocolate chess pies is most certainly a sure thing and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!
I’m guessing that a lot of you are puzzled about chess pies right now, and I’d bank that most of the confused folks reside somewhere north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Prior to moving to the South, I didn’t have a clue either. Ten years in Birmingham wasn’t long enough for me to dig up the deep Southern roots of chess pies, but upon marrying into my husband’s Alabama family I learned quickly that chess pies are king.
Prepared with a single crust and a custardy filling made primarily of butter, sugar, and eggs, chess pies are rich, dense, and ultra-sweet. Although a number of variations of chess pies exist (Buttermilk! Pecan! Citrus!), anyone who is anyone knows that chocolate is the one to beat. If you disagree, we can’t be friends. Just saying.
A few years ago, I ran across my husband’s grandmother’s box of recipes. They were beautiful, worn with stains and torn edges, and spoke to the culture my husband grew up in. Brett’s Nana was a hard worker and spent a lot of time loving her tribe through the food she prepared- fried pork chops, skillet cornbread, and warm banana pudding. One of my husband’s favorites has always been his Nana’s chocolate chess pie, so finding that recipe was nothing short of a treasure.
Chocolate Chess Pie
I adapted her time-tested notes to create this chocolate chess pie recipe. Using a bit less sugar and a tad more cocoa, I wound up with a pie that was nostalgic and special for my hubby, yet suitable for my own tastes. Even better, this chocolate chess pie is a cinch to make and bakes up terrifically every time.
Making the Pie
To prepare it, we start with the crust. Sure, you could buy a crust from the freezer section of the store, but GUYS, we are cool and proficient enough to make them ourselves. Check out my favorite recipe here or choose one of your own. A single crust is all that is required for this recipe, so save the other half of your double crust for later. Roll the dough into a shallow 9″ metal pie plate and crimp the edges. Give it a brush of an egg wash for color and gloss, and set it aside in the fridge while you prepare your filling.
Cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and the tiniest bit of flour are whisked together in a large bowl before the liquid ingredients are added. Melted butter, eggs, and evaporated milk are stirred in next, whisked in until the mixture is uniform throughout. Pour the filling into the prepared pie pan and allow it to bake in the oven.
Baking the Pie
The hardest part of this chocolate chess pie is identifying when it’s done. After about 35 minutes, you should find that the pie has risen slightly and is only barely jiggly in the center half of the pan. The pie will definitely look underdone when you remove it from the oven, but just cross your fingers, say your prayers, and all will be well.
Finishing the Pie
Once the pie has chilled to room temperature, you will have created the most perfect chocolate chess pie! Truly, you could stop there. You could give it a dust of powdered sugar or just throw it on the Thanksgiving table and call it a success. But I know you. Like me, you love to take things too far. So lucky for us (read: everyone who eats this pie), we instead go overboard and add a super fluffy, perfectly sweetened chocolate whipped cream. The billowy clouds of cream and air add another layer of flavor and a whole lot of flair to an otherwise dull-looking pie. Who doesn’t like whipped cream!?! Trust me on this one, okay?
I’m sure you’ve already got a stellar lineup of treats for this Thanksgiving, but I want to encourage you to give this pie a shot. It is excellent and 100% worth the very few minutes it will take to make it.
If you like this chocolate chess pie, you should check out:
Chocolate Chess Pie
This chocolate chess pie is a traditional southern favorite, rich and fudgy, with the added oomph of a fluffy chocolate whipped cream.
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 45 minutes
For the pie:
- 1 recipe for a single unbaked pie crust (not deep-dish)
- ¼ cup (30 gm) cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1–1/4 cups (250 gm) sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (113 gm) unsalted butter, melted
- 3 large eggs, beaten
- 3 tablespoons evaporated milk
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ tablespoon vinegar
For the chocolate whipped topping:
- 1–1/2 cups (360 mL) heavy whipping cream
- ¼ plus 2 tablespoons (75 gm) sugar
- ¼ cup (30 gm) cocoa powder
To prepare the pie:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Using a rolling pin, roll out the pie dough and transfer it into a 9” pie plate. Gently press the dough into the edges of the pan and trim off any excess. Crimp the edges as desired.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add the melted butter and sitr just to combine. Add the eggs, evaporated milk, vanilla extract, and vinegar and mix to combine. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and brush the crust with a bit of milk, beaten egg, or cream if desired. Bake the pie in the preheated oven for about 35 minutes or until the edges are well set and the innermost circle of pie is still just a bit jiggly. Remove and cool to room temperature.
- Once cooled, prepare the whipped topping. Beat the heavy cream on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip until frothy and slightly thickened and add the sugar and cocoa powder. Increase to high speed and beat until stiff peaks form. Spread dollops of the whipped cream on top of the pie and serve immediately.