Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie


Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie

An Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie with a rich custard filling, a light and airy meringue and a tender pie crust always brings back memories of childhood. Nothing beats homemade pie just like grandma’s pie.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie

One of my great grandmother’s specialties was chocolate meringue pie. She would tirelessly whip those egg whites by hand. Thank goodness, I can let my Electric Mixer do the work! That takes some serious forearm strength.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie

Unfortunately I don’t have my great-grandmother’s recipe, but this one is very similar. It’s a recipe from Charlotte’s Eats & Sweets in Keo, Arkansas that was published in Southern Living Off the Eaten Path: Favorite Southern Dives and 150 Recipes that Made Them Famous . I’ve altered the recipe just a little, reducing the vanilla extract and adding an extra egg white to the meringue.

This is a really solid recipe that produces a super-sweet chocolate filling that is balanced out by a meringue with just a touch of sweetness.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie

The cornstarch really helps the chocolate filing set up so that it holds its form when sliced and doesn’t make a soupy mess all over the plate. Don’t be intimidated by the meringue. It’s super easy. Just remember that eggs are easier to separate when they are cold but egg whites should be at room temperature when you make a meringue. And make sure to use a very clean and dry bowl. Just a tad of oil or grease will prevent the egg whites from whipping up nicely.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie

Once baked, cool the pie at room temperature for 1 hour and then refrigerate uncovered for 3 to 6 hours. To slice the pie, dip a knife in water before cutting each slice and don’t wipe the knife dry. The water will help prevent the pie from clinging to the knife.

To store leftovers, gently place a few toothpicks in the meringue and cover with plastic wrap. The toothpicks will prevent the plastic wrap from clinging to the meringue and messing it up.

Below are a few pictures from my weekend getaway in Beaufort, SC. Beaufort is the second oldest city in South Carolina and has a very rich and interesting history. And I feel quite sure there have been more than a few Chocolate Meringue Pies made in Beaufort through the years.


historic home on Bay St in Beaufort SCHistoric home on Bay St.

Unlike many southern cities, Beaufort was not burned during the Civil War and there are still block after block of beautiful antebellum homes. Beaufort was one of the first southern towns to be captured by Union forces and many of the homes were used as hospitals during the war.

historic home on Bay St in Beaufort SC

The stone home pictures above is next to the white one in the first picture and it is for sale for just under $1.2 million. All that stone looks rather foreboding doesn’t it?

Beaufort SC

If you sit on the front porch of either house you have this beautiful view of the Beaufort River.

Just a few blocks away on Craven St is the house pictured below which is one of my favorite in Beaufort. The house is so big, only part of it can be seen in the picture.

The Castle in Beaufort SC

Known as “The Castle”, this home was used as a hospital during the war and an outbuilding out back was used as a morgue. The home is now said to be haunted. Like almost all of the historic homes in Beaufort, it is still a private residence. The wedding scene from the movie Forces of Nature was filmed in the front yard.

Walking the historic streets of Beaufort, lined with live oaks draped in Spanish moss, is one of my favorite things to do to unwind. With the breezes of the water and the sound of the seagulls, it’s hard not to relax. I’m hoping it won’t be long before I get to go back.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie

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Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie
This classic Chocolate Meringue Pie has a creamy and thick chocolate filling and a tall, glossy meringue.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup shortening
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
Chocolate Filling
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • 4 extra-large egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 5 extra-large egg whites, room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ cup sugar
  1. Prepare Pastry. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut shortening into flour with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas. Push mixture to one side of bowl.
  2. Drizzle 1 tablespoon water along edge of flour mixture. Use a fork to toss some of the flour mixture into water. Move mixture to opposite side of bowl and repeat with 2 more tablespoons of water.
  3. Gather the dough together with your hands. You can add a little more water if the mixture is too dry, but it is best to add as little water as possible. Shape dough into a disk and place on a lightly floured work surface.
  4. Roll dough to ⅛-inch thickness and place in a 9-inch pie plate. Trim excess pastry and fold edges under and crimp. Prick bottom and sides with a fork and bake for 9 minutes, until golden brown. Set pie crust aside to cool and reduce oven to 325 degrees.
  5. Prepare Chocolate Filling. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, unsweetened cocoa, and salt. Gradually whisk in both milks.
  6. Cook, whisking constantly, over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute whisking continuously.
  7. Remove from heat and gradually whisk a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks. Continue to add hot mixture to egg yolks while whisking constantly until approximately ¼ of the mixture has been added to the egg yolks.
  8. Pour egg yolk mixture into the saucepan and whisk well.
  9. Cook mixture, stirring constantly, over medium heat for 3 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla extract. Cover with plastic wrap and keep warm.
  11. Prepare meringue. Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and cream of tartar at high speed until foamy. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat until stiff peaks form and sugar dissolves.
  12. Pour chocolate filling into pie crust. Spread meringue over filling, sealing the edges. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, or until meringue is golden. Cool completely before slicing.
After baking, cool on the counter for 1 hour and then place in refrigerator uncovered for 3 to 6 hours before slicing.

Linking up with the Weekend Potluck at The Country Cook.

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59 thoughts on “Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie

  1. Thanks so very much for this recipe , my mom made a pie just like this and i have looked forever for something close to her, this was it exactly. It turned out perfect. Thanks Again

  2. I have been looking for an old fashioned chocolate pie recipe for years that resembled our great aunt’s recipe. This is the closest I’ve found. I made it yesterday and the taste was spot on but sadly it was more like soup. I know I didn’t let it sit for an hour on the counter or 3-6 hours in the fridge but I’m curious if lactose free milk could also cause problems. Thoughts? I’m determined to make this again because the taste was so good but I messed up the consistency. I’m lactose intolerant so I’m hoping my lack of patience caused the problem.

    1. I don’t think lactose-free milk should have had an effect. Make sure you cook the filling for a full three minutes. It’s the cooking part that really gets it to thicken up. Also, definitely take the time to let it cool, and refrigerate it for at least 3 hours. Hope you have success!

    2. I also am lactose intolerant. I recently used lactose free milk in a chocolate pie recipe & it turned out great. You probably cut it too soon.

  3. If you use powdered sugar when making meringue,
    The meringue will not weep. I am 70 yes old and have used this swap since I learned to cook from my dad!
    He was a baker and had many tips he passed on to me. Roll your dough over your pin and unroll over pie pan. Easy transfer!

        1. It’s technically called syneresis. It when the meringue starts to break down and releases a watery looking sticky substance (usually after about 12-24 hours). When swapping the sugars, would start by using about 1/2, which would be 2-3 Tbsp of powdered sugar

  4. I cannot thank you enough. We have been searching for our grandmother’s recipe for years. They lived on my father’s farm and things had to be quick, easy, foolproof and delicious. She made this chocolate pie a lot and it was always my brother’s favorite. I can see the two pies (she always made two) sitting on the shelf in the utility room right now just begging to be eaten.
    We have tried many recipes before and they were never quite right. My brother made this recently and it is spot on. Bravo! I can’t wait to try it myself.

    Thank you for giving us back a part of our culinary heritage.

  5. My hubby’s favorite pie is chocolate with meringue top. His Grandma made it for him all the time when he was small. always scared me, but I think I can do this. Your recipe is very detailed, thank you. Will let you know how it turns out.

  6. Wonderful recipe. Cannot wait to make it, but I always have trouble with my meringue weeping, any suggestions. By the way love the pics of the old historical homes, one of my passions, visiting those

      1. Thank you for the information. Will try the cornstarch. After readings all the comments, I think this is a common problem. One review said eat the whole pie, that would solve the problem , that is the best answer.

  7. My mom used to make chocolate pies like this every Thanksgiving and Christmas. They’re still her favorite, but she lost her recipe and I’ve been too intimidated to try to make one myself. Your recipe looks a lot like hers though, so I think I’m going to give it a whirl! I’ve made a lot of your recipes and you never disappoint!

  8. I just made this and it is absolutely delicious. Don’t think I’ll ever need another chocolate pie recipe. This one is too good to pass up!!!

  9. I have been looking for a chocolate pie recipe, the kind my lovely grandmother used to make. I made this pie this morning and it turned out wonderful!!!! I “licked” the pan before I washed it………..mmmmmmmmm πŸ™‚

  10. My filling set up nice after i cooked it, but when i took it out if the oven, let it cool and then refrigerated it the consistency stayed like pudding. Any suggestions of where i wrong?

  11. Use to live in Beaufort back in 1953-54. My husband was in the Marines. I worked for a gentleman by the name of “Doc” Trammel. He owned a collection business!! We loved Beaufort.
    I have visited there a couple of times since. Of course, nothing is the same there!! It is a beautiful place.

      1. Have made this pie for years with 2% milk, and it always turns out great! If you wanted to you could always add an extra egg yolk for richness.

      2. Hope I not too late. DO NOT USE 2% MILK. The chocolate will not set right. It will be too runny. Need to use whole milk only. I have been making this pie for 40+ years at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

  12. Definitely didn’t need the pie in the oven for even 13 minutes. For the meringue color as shown in your pics, 7 minutes at 325 degrees would have been sufficient. Will do that next time πŸ™‚
    The pie recipe was a winner though πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for sharing!

  13. Got your pie cooling on the counter and wow…the pudding part was fabulous. The meringue is high and gorgeous. This will be my future go-to chocolate pie.

  14. I stopped by from Weekend Potluck to check out your post because this pie looked so yummy. I’m totally not disappointed that I did! I would like to invite you to share your talents on my new link party The Yuck Stops Here on Hot Momma’s Kitchen Chaos at http://mommasangelbaby.com. I hope to see you there! HUGS

  15. I love your photos of Beaufort, and had fun viewing them on Instagram…so pretty! This pie looks so delicious — I’ve never had chocolate meringue. That meringue is a beauty to behold — so perfect! Your grandmother would be proud. πŸ™‚

  16. Sooo I’ve never had chocolate meringue pie before … crazy right? I need to change that – this looks so so good! We never had a lot of pie growing up and for some reason I rarely make them either! Bad food blogger! : )

  17. That’s wonderful that you found a recipe that comes close to what your great grandmother made – this pie looks incredible Christin. Thanks for sharing these awesome pics of Beaufort with us too – I’m so glad it was a nice and relaxing trip πŸ™‚

  18. I wish chocolate meringue pie was part of my childhood eats! Just the name makes me smile…and it looks so good! I made chocolate pudding pie recently and it appears to be one of my fellas’ favorites. I’m thinking this pie (if I could make it as nicely) sure would impress them! And thanks for sharing the pics of Beaufort, too!

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