Chocolate chess pie is one of the most historically Southern pies. Like many classic Southern desserts,
chess pie is a riff on British desserts. The name “chess” is a corruption of the “cheese” which plays on
the rich, creamy texture of the chess pie and is linked to the English culinary tradition of marrying eggs
and dairy into a custard. Birmingham was settled by a large number of people from the British Isles, so
it’s no surprise that chess pie has long been a favorite in our area.
The attraction of chess pie is the lovely texture -which is a cross between a pudding and a brownie.
Recipes with lemon or vanilla/nutmug (classic chess) are the most common varieties. Chocolate chess
pie is a richer, more modern adaptation.
Some say that classic chess pie must have cornmeal. Today, we used a simple recipe that is contains no
cornmeal or flour, mainly because I didn’t have either of those things handy in the kitchen. But this also
means that it is easy to make gluten free by using a gluten free crust (available at Whole Foods, Sprouts
or Organic Harvest).
Using a grocery store pie shell from the freezer case makes prep a one bowl, 10 minute or less,
If you aren’t up to making the pie yourself, Miss Myra’s BBQ in Cahaba Heights always has chocolate
chess pie available by slice or whole pie.
Chocolate Chess Pie
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 (5 ounce) can evaporated milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
Partially bake the unbaked pie crust according to directions on the package, usually this is at 400 degrees
for 7-8 minutes. Pull out the partially baked crust and reduce the oven temp to 350 degrees.
Mix the remaining ingredients very well. Use a hand mixer, hand blender or whisk rather, than a spoon,
to make sure that all of the ingredients are well incorporated.
Pour mixture into 9 inch unbaked pie shell and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35-45 minutes
or until set. Let cool before slicing.
The top of the pie should have a crackled look to it.