The Best Chocolate Pie You’ll Ever Eat
My grandmother was a great cook. Or maybe she was a great baker. I’ve never really been clear on the difference. The point is, she made a mean pie and even baked cakes for a former First Lady. True story.
She was also deeply devoted to following any recipe she found to the letter, with no deviation whatsoever. I get a little more experimental in the kitchen myself, which is how my mom’s secret Macaroni and Cheese recipe transformed from something reasonable yet tasty into the monster it is now. I won’t divulge my secrets here, but I will say that it involves a blonde roux just this side of brown, 16 ounces of butter, nearly a gallon of milk, and four pounds of cheese. Eating it might kill you, but you’ll die happy. I promise.
As for the best pie you’ll ever eat – don’t worry, I’ll give you the recipe in a minute – it started out as a simple, normal chocolate pie. There was nothing offensive or spectacular about it. It was just your standard, ordinary old chocolate pie. Serviceable, but the dial tone of the dessert world. My grandmother would make it, I’d eat it, and there was never anything particularly memorable about it.
But that was before…the Incident.
You see, the recipe came from my aunt, whose name was Turla for some reason, but who everyone just called Aunt Sissy. She was a sweet lady who never had much in the way of money or worldly possessions, so she’d always give out handmade gifts for the holidays. She’d carve and paint Christmas tree ornaments one year and hand out boxes of recipe cards she hunted-and-pecked together on a manual typewriter from 1920-something the next. She was a neat lady.
My grandmother first made the pie the year she got the box of recipes, and continued making it every year after that until she passed away. She always made it the same way, too: according to the exact measurements and directions of the recipe.
Until she messed up.
Like many of the world’s greatest scientific achievements, she created the best pie in the known universe by accident. While attempting to follow the recipe the same way she always had one year, she neglected to properly read one key ingredient: the milk.
The recipe calls for one and three-fourths cups of milk, but my aunt’s old manual typewriter from the time dinosaurs roamed the earth squeezed the 1 part of the 1 3/4 cups all the way to the edge of the card. And my grandmother missed it.
Which is how the pie was born.
By only adding 3/4 of a cup of milk, the pie took on a whole new dimension of chocolatey goodness. It was rich and thick, and more decadent than that slice of cake that made a lady have to leave the table in Matrix Reloaded. It was, in short, the best chocolate pie I’d ever tasted.
My grandmother, however, was horrified. She thought she’d ruined Christmas with a defective pie, and was convinced that I was just being nice when I stopped her from throwing it out and starting over. I wasn’t. It was delicious.
My dad and I ended up modifying the recipe a bit more over the years, from the standard rules of baking that involve always adding more vanilla than a recipe calls for and a little more salt to any dish that has chocolate in it, to more extreme measures like changing the pie crust from a boring old regular crust to an Oreo cookie crust that can inexplicably only be found at Walmart these days.
Yes, this pie actually makes me want to go to Walmart, which is saying a lot.
Now, as promised, I’ll share the recipe with you. Make this pie for your next family gathering or work party, or just any time you want to impress everyone around you. One word of caution, though. If you do make this pie, you should probably double the recipe and make two of these pies. They go quickly.
(I’m only modifying the amount of milk here, and I changed the margarine to butter, because live a little. You’ll probably also want to add a little more vanilla and an extra pinch of salt, but I’m not here to tell you how to live.)
THE BEST CHOCOLATE PIE YOU’LL EVER EAT.
- 3/4 CUP SUGAR
- 1/2 TEASPOON SALT
- 1/3 CUP FLOUR
- 3 TABLESPOONS COCOA
- 3/4 CUP MILK
- 2 EGGS, SEPARATED
- 1 TABLESPOON BUTTER
- 1 TEASPOON VANILLA
Mix sugar, salt, flour and cocoa together, then add milk, beaten egg yolks, and butter.
Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. (The pie has a tendency to go goopy if you don’t cook it long enough. So watch for that.)
Remove from heat and add vanilla.
Beat egg whites until stiff, but not too dry, then fold into the custard mixture.
Pour into an Oreo pie crust and chill in the refrigerator until firm.
Top with whipped cream and grated chocolate. (Or chocolate sprinkles. Whichever you prefer. You do you.)
There you have it: the world’s best chocolate pie ever created in the history of mankind. Make it, eat it, share it. If this post is popular enough, I might even come back and give you the secret Macaroni and Cheese recipe in time for Christmas, if you’re good little girls and boys.