What joy the gospel gives me. I can approach the throne of God with confidence, not because I've done a good job at my spiritual duties, but because I'm clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. ~ C.J. Mahaney

Chocolate Chess Pie (or: Quite Possibly My Longest Post Ever)


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
Combine the ingredients and mix well.  Pour into the pie shell.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until firm.  Cool before serving.


Free to good home:  One plastic Tupperware rolling pin.



Tina Holt said...

Okay, Laura, so I just have to say that I LOVE your blog because I love to cook! I made a chess pie last week but will surely try this chocolate chess pie very soon. Love your new bowls and loved the photo of the Fire King bowl. I have several pieces of the blue Fire King ovenware. Also love your "new" rolling pin. There is nothing like a good old wooden rolling pin! Definitely a thing of beauty! Thanks again for the great blog!

theaikenite said...

I just love that you get such joy from homemaking. It is your art. My art lies in the written word and I so badly wanted you to call the grandma chess pie recipe a reciept. lol

Anonymous said...


Laura Lee said...

Aw! I loved Dottie Arthur! I remember her making chess pie. And I can still hear her saying it with her lovely Kentucky accent!

Anonymous said...

Okay I am going to surprise you here, never heard of a chess pie and yes that comes from someone who was born and raised in the South. So what is this "Chess" part of the name? If there are so many different kinds, it must mean something. Clue me in, please. :-)

On the rolling pin thing, you'd probably like mine. I lucked out in that my grandparents were "closing out" their house in FL the same summer Doug and I got married. I went through all of Granna's stuff that she didn't want anymore, since she had another house, she'd duplicated most of it, and chose what I wanted for my new house. Her wooden rolling pin is one of those things to name a few. It doesn't have red handles, but otherwise, it is very similar to the one you just bought. It works great, can't imagine making pie crusts, etc. with anything else.

Enjoy your Chocolate Chess Pie!

Susan said...


I was googling for a Poppy Seed Chicken Recipe because I can find mine and ran across your blog. My kids love it too. Your recipe is close to mine - add a little bit of curry powder when you feel adventuresome, you'll be surprised, it's really good.

Had to also read about your Chess pie, another favorite. I'll definitely come back and read your blog because you are PLU - People Like Us. I'm from Tennessee, living in Texas now and reading you feels like home.

Take care!

Dana Arthur said...

I made your chocolate chess pie this week and everyone here loved it. I was a bit nervouse making it, as I've never made a pie from scratch. Thanks for helping me with my first homemade pie!