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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Pie (aka Minny's Chocolate Pie)

I read. A lot. So much that my house is currently overflowing with books, most of which live in cardboard boxes stacked to the ceiling. And that doesn't even count the books I left at my parents' house when I moved (much to their chagrin), which would easily double, if not triple, my collection. But I can't help it -- I love reading. But it got to the point where my husband put his figurative foot down and said that we couldn't possibly fit any more books in our house without the whole structure collapsing in on itself, creating some sort of biblio-singularity which would punch a hole in the space-time continuum and destroy the entire universe. Maybe not his exact words, but that was the general gist. However, being my husband, he came up with an elegant alternative: a brand new iPad with Kindle and Nook apps on them, and a gift card to Amazon. That was about a year and a half ago, and I have since become an e-book convert (although it took me a few days to get used to reading on a screen). I have 60+ books on my iPad already, because buying them when I have a whim to read or see something interesting is way too easy.

But why do I bring this up on a baking blog? Well, it just so happens that the very first e-book I downloaded was The Help by Kathryn Stockett. And in this book is a pivotal plot point which I won't spoil here, but it involves a chocolate pie. Minny's chocolate pie to be exact.

When the movie came out, I had my first good look at the movie-interpretation of said pie, and I was surprised to discover that it was not a chocolate cream pie like I had been imagining. It was some sort of baked confection, looking almost like a brownie pie, and I was intrigued. A year and a half later, on a whim, I google "Minny's chocolate pie recipe" and out pops this page -- the screen-used recipe for Minny's pie! Not only did it sound delicious, it sounded almost too easy, so I had to give it a whirl. And thank goodness I did!

I have made this pie several times already, because it is that fast. I did adjust the sugar somewhat, and the amount of evaporated milk. I also added peanut butter one of the times I made it.

The ingredients are sugar, eggs, evaporated milk, cocoa powder, melted butter, vanilla, and a crust. You can use prepared crust, frozen crust, from scratch crust, even a prepared graham cracker or cookie crumb crust (although the last two get a mite overdone, but they don't burn).

The order you add things in the bowl will make a difference, only because the cocoa powder can seize or separate out of the custard if it isn't incorporated well. Here is what I do:

Combine the sugar, salt and melted butter in a bowl, whisking well to combine. Add in the cocoa powder, whisking well. Add in the two beaten eggs, whisking well. Add the evaporated milk and vanilla, whisking well.

At this point it gets dumped into your crust. If you want, you can put a 1/2" layer of peanut butter down on the crust first like so:

 Just sayin'.

Then, it bakes up for 45 minutes.

This one was in a chocolate wafer crust
It needs to cool completely before cutting and eating, I suggest at least 6 hours or overnight, refrigerated. Then comes the fun part: cutting and eating!

This pie tastes so decadent, with or without the peanut butter. No one will believe how incredibly easy it is to put together! It has a wonderful consistency, more substantial than a custard, less firm than a brownie. It also goes great with whipped cream, and honestly would probably make a great bottom portion of a chocolate cream pie. All in all, two thumbs up! This has already become a go-to recipe for those times when I need an easy dessert, especially as a take-along!

Note: The original recipe calls for 6 oz of evaporated milk. However, evaporated milk comes in either 5 oz or 12 oz cans. I don't know about you, but I'm not opening a 12 oz can just for 6 oz. So I tested the recipe using just 5 oz and it works fine. BUT, you can also use 12 oz, double the rest of the ingredients, and just make 2 pies. It is just as easy to make 2 pies as it is to make one, so I normally do that! Trust me, they don't go to waste!

Old Fashioned Chocolate Pie


  • 1 pie crust
  • 1 C sugar
  • 3 tbls unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 tbls butter, unsalted, melted
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 5 oz evaporated milk*

*use a 12 oz can and double the remaining ingredients to make 2 pies


  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Put pie crust in 9" pie dish (I found that there is no need to prebake the crust)
  3. Combine sugar and butter in a bowl, whisking to combine
  4. Add in cocoa powder, whisking to combine
  5. Add in remaining ingredients, whisking to combine
  6. (optional) Put a 1/2" thick layer of peanut butter on the bottom of crust
  7. Pour custard into pie crust
  8. Bake for 45 minutes, until center is set
  9. Cool completely, 6 hrs or overnight in fridge

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