There are hundreds of different pies in the Southern arsenal (and almost as many cookbooks on the subject), so choosing a pie to make for National Pi Day proved to be quite difficult. When I finally narrowed it down to chocolate, my decision didn’t exactly become easier. There’s chocolate fudge pie, chocolate cream pie, chocolate pudding pie, chocolate chip pecan pie… Well, you get the drift.

Chocolate Chess Pie
Adapted from Southern Pies by Nancie McDermott
Serves 8

For the crust
1 sleeve chocolate graham crackers
1 stick butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar

For the filling
1 stick butter
1 (1 ounce) square unsweetened chocolate (or 3 tablespoons cocoa powder)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350°.

To make the crust, crush the graham crackers into fine crumbs. (I like to put them in a large ziploc and smash them with a rolling pin. It’s very satisfying.) Add sugar and melted butter and mix until well combined. Push into a 9 inch pie pan to form a thin crust on the bottom and sides. (I also like to save a few bites for myself.) Bake for 8 minutes, remove from oven, and chill until firm and crunchy, about an hour.

Lower oven temperature to 325°.

To make the filling, heat the butter and chocolate in a saucepan over medium until melted and smooth. Remove from the burner and add the sugar, mixing until well combined. Stir in eggs, vanilla, and salt. Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake for around 45 minutes, until top is puffed and the center is just set. To be honest, I like mine a little on the gooey side so I start checking around 40 minutes just to be safe (however, my mom likes her chess pie totally set and would prefer around 50 minutes. It’s your call here.). I also covered the edges of the crust with foil about half way through to keep it from burning.

Remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 – 30 minutes. It is delicious warm or at room temperature. Serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

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