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Chocolate belongs in your Chess Pie

This one's kind of a no-brainer: adding chocolate to chess pie filling is absolutely delicious. Rarely does a dessert with such a down-home rep as chess pie feel elegant and refined. For whatever reason, this pie effortlessly conjures up those adjectives with its satisfying texture, which reminds us of a pleasantly-dense chocolate pudding or chocolate custard. Harried cooks take note: if you decide to cut corners with a store-bought crust (or had the good sense to make an extra crust for the freezer) this comes together very quickly. 

For those of you looking for a our go-to pie crust and step-by-step instructions, please see our posts on making pie dough and how to roll it out.

As you can tell from the picture, we served this topped with whip cream and accompanied by port and fresh figs. These were not just props we had on hand! Chocolate, figs, and port are always good together.

Chocolate Chess Pie
One 9-inch pie, about 8 servings

If using a store-bought pie crust, bake as the package indicates, brush it with the egg yolk, and continue from there.


All-Butter Crust

Preheat the oven to 425F. Roll out the dough and line a 9-inch pie pan. Line the dough with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the edges of the crust are golden, about 12 to 15 minutes. Carefully remove the pie weights, reduce the oven to 375F, and prick the crust all over with a fork. Return the crust to the oven and bake until browned, about 15 minutes more. Brush the crust with:

1 large egg yolk, beaten

Return to the oven for 3 minutes, then set aside to cool. Reduce the oven to 325F. Whisk together in a large mixing bowl:

2/3 cup heavy cream
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

Whisk in:

1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted

Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake until firm around the edges, but still slightly wobbly--like gelatin--in the center, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool completely on a rack. Serve with:

Lightly sweetened whipped cream


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Any red chile will do, but we had especially good luck with what are known as "Red Finger Hots." Red Jalapeños or Fresnos will work great. My only suggestion: get some that will be easy to seed....