Chocolate Chess Pie: Easy, cheap, decadent southern dessert

It can be difficult to cook without a car.

The car is at the shop for a few days and a lot of dollars – she’s getting to be an old lady and these visits are becoming more frequent – so we have to make do with the stock in the larder for now. My husband is game to go marketing if only I would … or could … tell him what ingredients I need, and sometimes I do have a list, but when he is preparing to dash out the door and asks what I need to fix supper I inevitably draw a blank. I’m more of a muller than an action-packed off-the-cuff thinker. So, since Monday, I shrug and mumble “don’t know, whatever you want is fine” which means a LOT of hamburger and packages of hotdogs, although I’ve made a couple of leftover meat & cheese quiches and “Oh, look what I have!” casseroles. It’s been fun, quite frankly, although we are definitely going to need restocked soon. My husband’s Jeep isn’t the best for carrying groceries, but my old lady is just perfect for the job.

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HF works second shift. That means everything I need to do out of the house has to be done by noon. It also means that if the kids or I have a craving after lunch we either have to walk a few miles to the store (not in this weather), suffer, or … mull. And I do love the mulling. I had a rare sweet craving tonight, and because it is an unusual event I don’t keep serious baking items on hand – HF and the kids are fine with Sheetz doughnuts and name brand candy bars. Ah, but of course on an evening with no transportation the Sweet Fairy strikes with a vengeance. There had to be dessert and it had to be tonight, bare baking cupboards be damned. There was no question that some form of sweet was happening but it was going to have to be light on ingredients.

Not only was there a good, easy, cheap dessert to make, it is also one of the richest most decadent southern treat there is – chocolate chess pie. If you’ve never had a slice, be ready with a cold glass of milk. If you aren’t nearly chocolate-nauseous after a piece of it your recipe has gone awry. And texture! Ohhh, let’s talk about all the texture wonders in this one pie: crunchy top, gooey center, and a flavor so chocolatey it’ll cure your craving in one bite (but happily there will be many more bites waiting). It’s not a fluffy pie, or even particularly pretty, but for those of you in the know … you’ll recognize this as one of the treatiest treats of all time.

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 Ingredients:

1 9” unbaked pie crust (if frozen, thaw; if refrigerated, let it sit out for at least 15 minutes before using)

1 – 1-1/2 c. sugar (depending on your taste – the recipe works if you stay within those measures)

¼ c. – 6 Tbsp cocoa (depending on how dark chocolatey you are)

2 eggs

4-1/2 – 5 oz. evaporated milk (use 4 -1/2 oz. if you used only 1 c. sugar, 5 oz. if you used more)

4 Tbsp melted butter

1 tsp vanilla

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In medium bowl, mix together by hand the sugar and the cocoa until the ingredients are a uniform brown color.

3. Crack the eggs into the sugar and cocoa mixture and mix well with spoon. This will form a wet stiff base. Do not skip this step. Do not add other wet ingredients before doing this!

4. In a small bowl, mix evaporated milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Mix well.

5. Add milk mixture to sugar, cocoa, and egg mixture. Mix well with a spoon for 2 minutes. This is not a delicate recipe and it needs mixed longer than we typically mix ingredients. This helps the texture turn out like it should.

6. Pour filling into pie shell. Bake 25 minutes (if using the small measures) or up to 35 minutes (if using larger measures) or until the filling is set in the middle. The knife test works well with this pie, although it is a shame to mess up the lovely crusty crunchy top!

7. Let cool at least 40 minutes prior to serving. The filling will be too lava-like if you don’t wait.

There you have it! An incredible southern dessert out of very few ingredients! I hope you enjoy the pie and I hope you save me a piece!

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