Grandma’s Chocolate Pie

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Grandma’s Chocolate Pie is a staple recipe for many families. It is delicious, easy to make and always the fan favorite at potlucks, family gatherings and other events. The pie is made with all-American ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. This pie is so easy to make that it has become a tradition for even the most novice cooks to try making it. Grandma’s Chocolate Pie is a great dessert for Thanksgiving, Christmas and any other holiday during the year. It is a wonderful choice for your next holiday party or weekend get together.

Grandma’s chocolate pie recipe is my grandmother’s pastry recipe that she gave to me. I’ve tried many other chocolate pies, but none match the taste and quality of this one. The recipe is simple to make and follow, and if you like chocolate pies, I am sure you will like this one too!

Where is chocolate pie from?

Chocolate pie, specifically the version with a chocolate custard filling on a flaky pie crust base and topped with whipped cream, is an adaptation of the French dessert called tarte au chocolat. While its roots lie in France, the chocolate pie as we know it today has its own unique history and regional influence.

The evolution of chocolate pie can be attributed to European immigrants who settled in the Midwest region of the United States. These immigrants, many of whom were skilled in the art of pastry-making, brought with them their culinary traditions and expertise. As they established themselves as dairy farmers in the Midwest, they utilized their dairy products to create exceptional pastries and desserts.

Why is my chocolate pie not firm?

If you find that your chocolate pie is not firm and has a runny consistency, the most common reason is that the filling was not cooked for a sufficient amount of time to properly coagulate. Achieving the desired firmness in a chocolate pie filling requires proper heating and cooking techniques.

To ensure that your chocolate pie filling reaches the desired consistency, it is crucial to bring the filling to a simmer. This means heating it until you see gentle bubbles forming on the surface. The simmering process allows the ingredients to combine and thicken, resulting in a more solid and stable filling.

In addition to simmering, it is important to monitor the temperature of the filling. The recommended temperature for a well-cooked chocolate pie filling is around 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius). This temperature ensures that the filling reaches the necessary heat for proper coagulation and setting.

By simmering the filling and ensuring it reaches the appropriate temperature, you allow the starches and proteins in the ingredients to activate and create a cohesive structure. This process thickens the filling and gives it the desired firmness once cooled.

Why is my pie gummy?

If you find that your pie has a gummy texture, it is likely due to the development of excessive gluten in the pastry. Gluten is a protein that forms when flour is combined with liquid and agitated. Several factors can contribute to the formation of too much gluten in your pie crust, resulting in a tough or gummy texture.

Overmixing or over-kneading the pie dough is a common culprit. When the dough is excessively handled, the proteins in the flour activate and form more gluten strands. This leads to a tougher and chewier texture in the final product. To avoid this, it is important to handle the dough gently and mix or knead it just enough to combine the ingredients.

Insufficient fat content in the pie crust can also contribute to gumminess. Fat acts as a tenderizer in pastry, helping to inhibit gluten formation. If there is not enough fat in the dough, the gluten can develop more easily, resulting in a gummy texture. Ensuring that your recipe includes an adequate amount of fat, such as butter or shortening, can help prevent this issue.

The ratio of flour to liquid is another factor that can affect the texture of the pie crust. Adding too much flour to the dough compared to the liquid can cause an excessive amount of gluten to form. It is important to follow the recipe’s instructions and maintain the proper balance between flour and liquid to avoid a gummy texture.

Conversely, using too much liquid in the dough can also contribute to gumminess. Liquid hydrates the flour and activates gluten formation. Adding an excessive amount of liquid can result in an overly hydrated dough that leads to a gummy texture. It is essential to add the liquid gradually and only as much as necessary to achieve the desired dough consistency.

Grandma’s Chocolate Pie

The chocolate pie recipe is known to be a family favorite. Grandma’s chocolate pie recipe is made of only real ingredients, which makes it the best choice for special occasions and holidays.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Chill 4 hours
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 6


  • ½ c. cocoa
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 ½ c. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 c. milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla


  • This recipe does not have meringue on it. You could make the meringue if you want.
  • Mix cocoa, cornstarch, beaten egg yolks; sugar and salt and vanilla, then add milk gradually, while stirring in a pot over med-high heat.
  • Cook until thick, beating it smooth.
  • Pour into a pre-baked pie shell.
  • Put in the fridge to chill
Hopefully your family has a recipe like this—one that you can pass down through generations, no matter how easy or simple it is. And the next time you make this recipe, I hope you don’t hesitate to do what my Mom did: swap in another kind of chocolate (or add another layer) or vary the amount of walnuts if they’re not to your liking. Sure, my brother and I were upset when we first saw Grandma’s being modified, but now all three of us really enjoy the fruits of our grandparents’ labor—that is, their delicious pie.
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