Chocolate Chess Pie

Chocolate Chess Pie. The cornmeal in the filling rises to the top to create a delectable, lightly textured crust.

Chocolate Chess Pie. The cornmeal in the filling rises to the top to create a delectable, lightly textured crust.

Earlier this week I made a Southern classic – Chocolate Chess Pie. If you’ve never had a chess pie, then you’ve not yet experienced the deliciousness that comes from adding cormeal to a simple custard pie filling. The addition of cornmeal creates a lightly textured “crust” that rises to the top of the custard while baking.

Chess pies are single-crust pies consisting of melted butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, eggs, and some other flavor variation such as buttermilk or chocolate (melted chocolate or cocoa powder). For this recipe, cocoa powder is used. I also use a recipe that calls for melted semisweet chocolate, which gives the custard a more complex chocolatey flavor.

The recipe I’m sharing with you today was another one of my Pinterest findings. It comes from Cheryl Day’s “Back in the Day Bakery” located in Savannah, Georgia. You can find the original recipe here.

The filling of the pie is ridiculously easy to whip together. For the single crust, I use my mother-in-law’s oil pie crust recipe. I’m one of those people who used to dread making pie crust; don’t hesitate to try this one, though! It’s flaky and tender, and stress-free.


1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup oil (I use canola)
2-3 tablespoons milk

Combine flour and salt in a bowl, and stir together oil and milk in your measuring cup. Add the oil and milk mixture to the dry ingredients and gently “fork-stir” the mixture until it comes together.

Dump the dough onto a sheet of wax paper and cover with another sheet. Roll out the crust to fit pie plate. Peel off the top sheet of wax paper and transfer the crust to your pie plate and crimp the edges. Prick with a fork before filling.

*I like to pre-bake my crust for this pie for five minutes on the lower oven rack, with a sheet of aluminum foil laid over top to prevent browning the edges.

1 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk

In a medium bowl, stir together both sugars, the cornmeal, nutmeg and cocoa powder, mixing until completely combined. Stir in the vanilla, butter, eggs and evaporated milk and mix until fully incorporated. When ready to bake, position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Pour the filling into the partially-baked pie shell. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 40 to 50 minutes on your lower oven rack. Remove the pie and cool for at least one hour.


A Southern Classic.  Chocolate Chess Pie.

A Southern Classic. Chocolate Chess Pie.

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7 thoughts on “Chocolate Chess Pie

  1. roodonfood says:

    Wow. In all the time I spent down south, I never tried this. Looks tasty.

  2. I have to try this! Do you think I will ruin it if I use Earth Balance instead of butter? Butter does taste so much better…though if I can’t use condensed milk, maybe it’s pointless. SIGH!

    • I’ve never used Earth Balance, so I’m not entirely sure. I do, however, read about people subbing EB for butter with success. Now the recipe calls for evaporated milk, not the sweetened condensed milk. Are you able to use that? I hope you can make it work!

  3. […] forced myself to conquer it, and have two great recipes that I am able to prepare with ease for my pies, tarts, and galette needs.  Now I’ve moved on to the impressive Pate a Choux – or the […]

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