There is a story behind this pie. A long one. I'm just going to warn you right up front: if you only want the recipe for a delicious pie, you're gonna want to just scroll on down to the bottom past all this rambling....
You see, what started all this was a new bowl. I found this incredibly lovely kelly green vintage Pyrex bowl at my local Goodwill the other day. Actually, truth be told, what I found first was the little baby brother to this bowl, the beautiful blue Pyrex mixing bowl, the smallest of the original set. My heart leaped for joy. No lie. I flipped it over and saw the price....50 cents. Glory hallelujah, it was my lucky day! Imagine my glee at spotting the kelly green bowl a couple seconds later. There are no words. I was in love.
I'd actually seen a set of these, the primary red, yellow, green, and blue circa-1950 Pyrex mixing bowl set at an antique store last summer. I was smitten, but I wasn't prepared for the $45 price tag. Not a terrible price, but the bowls were pretty faded, and I thought I could do better. So that sent me on a Google adventure, searching online for a set of these vintage bowls. I found what I was looking for on eBay for $60 in pristine condition. I knew I might have to wait a while, but I decided then and there that I would one day own a set of these beauties.
Back to the Goodwill. I purchased the two bowls for a total of $3. Not the whole set unfortunately, though Lacy and I looked high and low to see if the other two bowls were hiding somewhere.
Then comes the part about the rolling pin. I have realized just how difficult it is to explain my odd love for old kitchen tools. My darling husband gets nuclear engineering. And golf. And Galatians. But he has no comprehension whatsoever of this weird vintage kitchen cookware fascination that overwhelms me. He just smiles and nods. Smiles and nods. And says things like, "Women sure get excited about the strangest things."
OK. Confession time.
I've wanted a vintage rolling pin for as long as I can remember. I've had a plastic Tupperware rolling pin for my entire married life. It has served its purpose, but there is absolutely no thrill in using it. Plastic rolling pins are light and wimpy. They certainly don't conjure up images of Grandma, donning her apron, working in the kitchen with sweat on her brow. I dreamed of a rolling pin like my mother's. Hers is wooden, well-seasoned, with red handles worn from years of use. I mentioned to Tom that I wanted an old rolling pin and he very matter-of-factly stated, "Just go buy one."
That's true love.
So I wasted no time. I found what I was looking for yesterday at the antique mall downtown. I had to cull through a whole bucket of them to find exactly the one that met my specs. Seasoned wood, worn handles. Old. Simple. Unpretentious.
That brings me to the pie.
I didn't set out to bake a chocolate pie. I realize you probably don't believe that last statement came out of my mouth; but, I kid you not. I was planning to bake an Orange Chess Pie, about as old-timey as it gets. A Chess Pie is just so old-fashioned and so Southern, it makes my heart sing to hear the name of it. A Grandma recipe.
I prepared the crust and was gathering the ingredients for the filling when I ran into a very slight hitch. There was nary an orange in the house. What I thought were oranges in my refrigerator's fruit bin were, in fact, tangerines. And while Tangerine Chess Pie may be the newest pie craze just waiting to be unleashed, it wasn't a culinary risk I was willing to take at the time. Nor was it something Grandma would have made.
That left me with basically two choices. I could make a custard pie. Definitely comforting and old-timey. But I recently made a custard pie. I wanted to try something different. So Chocolate Chess Pie it was.
Friends, it was Deee-li-cious!! Grandma would have approved!
And that is what I call making a short story long.
Chocolate Chess Pie
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 tablespoons baking cocoa
- 5 oz. evaporated milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 unbaked pie shell
Free to good home: One plastic Tupperware rolling pin.