Chess pie is a classic Southern custard pie. The filling is made with a mixture of eggs, butter and sugar, usually with a bit of cornmeal added to it. The ingredients in the filling vary from pie to pie, but chess pies are usually a bit denser and richer than some other custard pies that use a lot more dairy in the base. Chess pies can be made in a wide variety of flavors, but their rich texture makes them a particularly good choice for chocolate fillings. My Chocolate Cinnamon Chess Pie is a delicious chess pie variation, with enough chocolate flavor in every bite to satisfy even the most die-hard chocoholics. It’s easy enough to make for an every day dessert and rich enough to be worthy of a special occasion.
The pie is on the sweeter side and tastes like a very rich, smooth version of fudge. The dark chocolate and cocoa powder that give the pie its chocolate flavor keep the filling from being too sweet. The filling is velvety smooth, with a slight crust on top, and will seem to melt on your tongue as you eat it. The cinnamon in the filling gives it a great spice and a little extra complexity. The cinnamon goes particularly well with a graham cracker crust, however a bittersweet chocolate crumb crust can up the chocolate even more, if you want to mix things up.
The pie should be stored in the refrigerator if you are not going to be serving it right away, as that will keep the filling firm enough to ensure you can slice it easily. I serve my pie as-is and usually pair it with nothing more than a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee. That said, the pie can be dressed up by serving it with a generous dollop of unsweetened whipped cream or even a small scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Chocolate Cinnamon Chess Pie
9-inch graham cracker or chocolate crumb crust
1 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a small, microwave-safe bowl, melt together dark chocolate and butter, stirring until the mixture is smooth. Stir in cocoa powder and mix until dissolved. Stir in ground cinnamon and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs until smooth. Whisk in chocolate mixture, followed by milk and vanilla extract. Pour into 9-inch graham cracker or chocolate crumb crust.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, until pie is just about set and the center jiggles slightly when the pan is moved. Allow pie to cool completely before slicing.
Store leftover pie in the refrigerator.
Makes 1 pie; serves 8.