A fun fact about me: I LOVE my grandmother’s chocolate pie. Since I was a kid, it’s been my favorite holiday dessert, and was extra special because the holidays were basically the only times she made it, so were the only time I got to eat it! The creamy, chocolate-y filling was amazing with the fluffy meringue, and my grandmother sometimes would make 2 chocolate pies, one for the family and one all for me 🙂 I thought that maybe I could improve on the filling itself, but, turns out, she had it perfectly done, so the original filling recipe continues to be the best thing.
However, there was always one part of the pie that was a bit of a let down: the crust. My grandmother is a firm believer in cutting corners where the effort just wasn’t worth it, and for her pie dough was one of those corners. I always thought that the crust with the creamy filling was just…fine. Not that there’s anything wrong with store bought pie dough, I’ve definitely used it and am a big advocate for it, if you don’t have time to make your own or just can’t be bothered. However, with this pie, there was room for improvement.
So, I did some digging into my options: a cookie crust, graham cracker crust, homemade pie dough, or oat. The idea of some slightly crunchy, toasty, oat-y goodness sounded like the perfect complement to the sweet, creamy filling and topping and oh my goodness I think I was right. I even tested it again with the original crust, as you can see below, but the oats won out for me. A perfect bit of crunch, an added toasty-ness, with the best pie filling I’ve ever had. I don’t think I’ll be telling my grandmother about my changes, but I’ll definitely make this one again!
I made it as mini-pies in a cupcake tin, but it would absolutely work as one big pie as well! Follow the same method, just in an 8 or 9 inch pie pan. It might need to bake a bit longer as well before adding the filling – the key is that it becomes slightly golden and toasty and smells oaty.
Chocolate Pie – makes ~16 mini pies or one 8″ or 9″ pie
For the pie crust
- 1 C oats
- 1/3 C flour
- 1/3 C brown sugar
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/3 C cold butter, cubed
For the filling
- 1 C sugar
- 1/3 C flour
- 1/4 C cocoa powder
- 3 eggs, separated
- 14oz can evaporated milk
- 1 stick butter
- 2 tsp vanilla
How to do it
Make the crust
- preheat oven to 375* and prep a muffin tin with cooking spray or butter
- combine oats, flour, brown sugar, and salt. mix in the butter, crumbling it into the dry ingredients with your fingertips until it’s pea sized pieces
- press ~2 tablespoons of the crust into each muffin cup and press down with your fingertips, pushing down firmly and pressing some of the mixture up the sides to make a crust shape
- bake for 10 minutes until the sides are golden brown. let cook fully before removing from the pan, using a butter knife or offset spatula if needed
Make the filling
- combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, egg yolks, and 1/3 of the evaporated milk in a pan. heat over medium heat, mixing continuously
- add the rest of the milk and continue mixing until the mixture starts thickening
- add the butter and salt and continue stirring
- once thick enough that you can drag a spoon on the bottom of the pan and the filling slowly comes back together, take off the head and add the vanilla. it’s okay if there are some lumps at this point
- fill each pie shell with a generous amount of filling
- whisk egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold firm peaks. dollop some of the meringue onto each pie
- broil the meringue topped pies for a couple of minutes, just until the tops are golden brown