Chocolate Chess Pie is the real MVP of Southern desserts, y’all, with its lush, fudgy center that just melts in your mouth! This pie is all kinds of buttery, sweet goodness, making it a total game-changer for any holiday feast! It’s the kind of treat that has everyone coming back for seconds, maybe even thirds. And let’s be real, it’s not just for the holidays; this pie will turn any day into a celebration.
It’s Thanksgiving season! AKA the best time of the year! If you take a peek in my freezer these days you’ll find a hefty storage of prepared pie crusts just waiting to be rolled, filled, and baked to golden-brown, buttery perfection. What can I say? You can never be too ready.
Most years, I spend the holiday with my extended family and I am (not surprisingly) in charge of dessert. With pies, layer cakes, and whipped cream in hand, I come in ready to please! I’ll usually bring a few tried and true options: Pecan Pie and Pumpkin Pie, Old-Fashioned Pound Cake, and some kind of cookie for the kids. But, I will often bring something new to the table too.
This year, I’m showing up with this Chocolate Chess Pie! Indulgent and unique, this simple pie is sure to be a showstopper this holiday season.
Perks and Highlights of The Best Chocolate Chess Pie
Cuisine Inspiration: Southern Comfort
Primary Cooking Method: Baking
Dietary Info: Vegetarian & Indulgent
Key Flavor: Decadent Chocolate Goodness – What’s the secret? It’s all in the chocolate! A deep, rich cocoa flavor that’s more comforting than your grandma’s quilts.
Skill Level: Beginner-Friendly, with a Touch of Grandma’s Magic
- Simplicity is Bliss: With ingredients likely already in your pantry, this dessert doesn’t demand a special grocery trip. Its beauty lies in its simplicity.
- Texture Heaven: The contrast between the crispy crust and the gooey, rich interior will have your taste buds doing a happy dance!
- Versatility is Key: Serve it warm, serve it cool, top it with whipped cream, or enjoy as is. This pie doesn’t judge; it’s delightful every which way.
- Crowd-Pleaser: Perfect for family dinners, holiday feasts, or Tuesday nights when you need some chocolate therapy.
- Make-Ahead Magic: Got a busy week ahead? Make this pie in advance, and let it sit. Like fine wine, it only gets better!
History of Chess Pie
There are a few different theories on where this classic Southern dessert and its name comes from. In the 19th century, according to one of the many stories, a freed slave made a living selling pies to her neighbors. Name unknown, this woman slung sugar pies that combined eggs, sugar, flour or cornmeal, butter, and spice or citrus to cut the sweetness. Asked what kind of pie she made, the woman answered, “oh it’s jes’ pie.” Due to a heavy southern accent, it was assumed that she had meant “chess” and not “just”. The rest is history!
Now, this story may or not be true but the recipe itself has remained the same. No matter how you spin it, this pie is one delicious slice of Southern tradition.
Chocolate Chess Pie Vs. Original Chess Pie
Chess Pies are a Southern specialty that has a simple filling of eggs, sugar, butter, and a bit of flour. There are many flavor additions such as vanilla, buttermilk, and lemon that can vary the basic recipe.
A Chocolate Chess Pie is not much different than its original counterpart; it just includes melted chocolate or cocoa powder (or a combination of the two).
- Eggs (room temperature): These aren’t just any eggs; they’re the secret agents of fluffiness, working undercover to give your pie that dreamy, creamy texture. Remember, room temperature is their style – they perform best when they’re not too hot or cold!
- Pure Vanilla Extract (1 1/4 tsp): Think of vanilla as the hype-person in your pie recipe. It doesn’t steal the show, but oh boy, does it elevate that chocolatey goodness to star status!
- Kosher Salt (1/2 tsp): Salt in a dessert? Oh yes! This is the pinch of pizzazz that balances sweetness and rounds out flavors. It’s like the beatboxer, providing sick beats that pull the whole jam session together.
- Unsalted Butter (1/2 cup, cubed): Butter is the soulful crooner of your recipe ensemble, belting out rich, smooth tunes and making everything else just…better. Cubed and cool, it knows how to keep its chill in the baking spotlight.
- Bittersweet Chocolate (1 oz, chopped): Here’s the diva of the group – rich, bold, and intense! This chocolate isn’t here to play; it’s here to slay, delivering show-stopping depth that’ll make your taste buds swoon.
- Granulated Sugar (1 cup): Sweet doesn’t happen without this power player. Sugar is the pop star of the pastry world, making everything it touches irresistible. It doesn’t mind sharing the stage, though; it makes everyone else shine brighter!
- Pie Crust (9-inch): Consider this the stage where all the ingredients perform. Whether homemade (like Grandma’s hugs) or store-bought (the savvy time-saver), this crust hosts the show, providing a crispy platform for the stars to shine.
How to Make a Chocolate Chess Pie
With the help of a handy dandy frozen aisle crust, Chocolate Chess Pie is made in 3 simple steps, making it the easiest dessert to dish out this holiday!
Here’s how you make it:
- MAKE THE FILLING- This part is easy! All you need is one big bowl and, this is crucial, room temperature ingredients. First, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and salt until smooth. In a small saucepan, heat the butter and chocolate over medium heat until they’re both fully melted. After removing the saucepan from the heat, whisk in the sugar and stir to dissolve completely. Finally, add in the egg mixture and whisk again until fully combined.
- BAKE- Once the filling has been made, pour it into the crust and carefully transfer the pie into the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the pie puffs up, the surface cracks, the crust is browned, and the filling is mostly firm all the way through. You’ll know the pie is done when the edges are set but the center has a slight giggle.
- COOL AND SERVE- Remove from the oven, set it on a wire rack and allow it to set for about an hour before serving.
Storing Leftover Chess Pie
You can stash this pie right in the pie plate or lock it down in an airtight container in the fridge for like 3-5 days, easy. When you’re ready to bring back that warmth to your slice, just zap it in the microwave for a quick minute or two. Got a bigger piece? Best move is to heat it up in the oven (or even a toaster oven) at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes to get that perfect warmth back.
More Wonderful Pie Recipes
Looking for this holiday seasons’ best pie recipes? Look no further!
Chocolate Chess Pie
- 2 large eggs room temperature
- 1 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter cubed
- 1 oz bittersweet chocolate chopped
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 9 inch pie crust can use my recipe here: or use a frozen one
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and salt until smooth and fully combined.
- Heat a small saucepan to medium heat, then add the butter and chocolate. Continuously stir the mixture for about 4-6 minutes, or until both ingredients have fully melted and come together into a smooth sauce.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat, add in the sugar, and stir to dissolve the sugar completely.
- Slowly add the egg mixture to the chocolate and whisk well to mix everything evenly.
- Pour the filling into the parbaked pie crust, carefully transfer to the middle rack in the oven, and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the pie puffs up, the surface cracks, the crust is browned, and the filling is mostly firm all the way through.
- Place the pie on a cooling rack and cool to room temperature before serving.