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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.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie

 

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 slice on a white plate.

Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie

This classic Chocolate Meringue Pie has a creamy and thick chocolate filling and a tall, glossy meringue.
PREP: 30 mins
COOK: 29 mins
TOTAL: 59 mins
SERVINGS: 8

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water

Chocolate Filling

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 4 extra-large egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Meringue

  • 5 extra-large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Instructions

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Roll dough to 1/8-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.
  • Prepare Chocolate Filling. In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, unsweetened cocoa, and salt. Gradually whisk in both milks.
  • Cook, whisking constantly, over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 1 minute whisking continuously.
  • 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 1/4 of the mixture has been added to the egg yolks.
  • Pour egg yolk mixture into the saucepan and whisk well.
  • Cook mixture, stirring constantly, over medium heat for 3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla extract. Cover with plastic wrap and keep warm.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Notes

After baking, cool on the counter for 1 hour and then place in refrigerator uncovered for 3 to 6 hours before slicing.

Nutrition

Calories: 357kcal
Author: Christin Mahrlig
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Southern

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155 thoughts on “Old-Fashioned Chocolate Meringue Pie”

  1. Carrie Lansberry

    This recipe was very easy to make. I made it in honor of my Daddy today since it was Father’s Day. He loved my grandmother’s pies so this was a way to honor him

  2. Sara Beth Preston

    I’m getting ready to make this pie for my boyfriend- he loves chocolate pie but just scrapes off the meringue- would I have to do anything differently to the filling if I omit the meringue altogether?

  3. I made this pie for Easter 2018 and it was beautiful and tasted great! I followed your directions to a “t” and had no problems with runny chocolate, etc. Thanks so much for helping me feel like a professional! 🙂

    1. I made this pie tonight, but had the opposite problem from some of the reviewers. My filling was a little too thick and similar to jello, next time I won’t cook quite as long, and will see if that changes it. Overall it’s a great recipe!!

  4. Jessica Gresham

    Killing me right now… pie is in the fridge cooling. It looks and smells amazing! Me and my fork are “not so patiently” waiting! Lol Recipe was very easy to follow and ingredients are stuff most of us already have one hand. Thanks so much!!!! Can’t wait to dig in!!!!!

  5. I made the pie and it turned out great. But after I put the meringue on and browned, the chococate pie turned into soup. why?

  6. Clara Shawn Morrison

    I TRIED THIS RECIPE TWICE. THE FIRST TIME, A PERFECT PIE TURNED TO LIQUID WHEN I BAKED THE MERINGUE. I THOUGHT SURELY I HAD DONE SOMETHING WRONG, SO I JUST TRIED IT AGAIN. BEAUTIFUL ON THE OUTSIDE, BUT THE PIE FILLING THAT WAS PERFECT BEFORE THE MERINGUE BAKED WAS LIQUID AGAIN! I WAS SO CAREFUL, DOUBLE CHECKING EVERYTHING.MY BEAUTIFUL CHOCOLATE PIE TURNED TO SOUP! NEVER AGAIN. THIS SITE IS OFF MY LIST! SO DISAPPOINTED. THE PICTURE LOOKED SO MUCH LIKE MY MAMA’S, GRANDMOTHER’S, AND GRANNY’S CHOCOLATE PIES. I THINK THE 20 MINUTES BAKING THE MERINGUE MAKES IT WEAP INTO THE PIE AND WATERS IT DOWN. I NEVER SAW MY MAMA BAKE HER MERINGUE. SHE ALWAYS BROWNED IT QHICKLY ON BROIL. WHAT A
    I’M THOUROUGHLY DISGUSTED ….AGAIN.
    TWO TIME LOSER

    1. Stef Williams

      It’s a shame you had such a bad experience w this recipe and had to shout about it.
      Try again. As w any other pudding type filling if you don’t cook it long enough it’s not going to set.
      Add your sugar to your meringue slower and make sure it’s completely incorporated. If you run a bit between your fingers and it’s gritty you know it’s not and to keep whipping.
      Turned out fabulously for me and the recipe is a keeper!

      1. Hi- I am so excited to try this recipie! For 20 years I have attempted my Grandmothers Chocolate Pie and it comes out beautiful but as soon as I cut it, I have to get spoons out to eat it with. It taste & looks just like hers but it never sets up.
        She always “dredged” (I think that’s what you call mixing the hot pudding with the egg yolks so that’s what I’ve always done then a lady told me shes had the same problem as me then found a recipe that says to basically throw the egg yolks in with everything else and it worked for her. I didn’t have the sameness luck. Still runny.
        I’ve never heard of placing clear wrap over pudding while making meringue until today and your recipe was the second one today that suggest that.
        I plan on making this in a minute …. pie crust about to go in so wish me luck and I will let you know how it comes out. Thanks for posting. BYW, it’s sad to see that people are blaming the recipe when clearly it’s us cooks that are at fault!

    2. One thing I have learned about meringue is to make it first before the filling. While you are making filling pop meringue in the fridge. It keeps meringue from being runny by putting over hot filling.

  7. I followed the instructions and could only refrigerate it 3 hours before serving. The filling was runny, but the taste was great. Is my only problem needing to chill it longer ?

  8. Pamela Martin

    Can i just use whole milk for the both milks or can I use whole milk & sweetened condensed milk eighth of a cup

  9. What kind of butter? Real Butter -salted or unsalted? Or like just the country crock kind in the tub?

    1. The recipe calls for butter, but my grandmother used blue bonnet stick margarine and they were wonderful.

  10. My 17 year old daughter made this pie for Thanksgiving and followed the recipe exactly and it turned out amaaaaazing! Very thick and chocolatey and the meringue was huge and delicious!! This pie is very rich and needs that meringue to be tall. Even 4 days later we finished the pie and it seemed to get better and better each day!! Will definitely be putting this recipe in the books!! Thank you!

    1. Christin Mahrlig

      Wow! That is great your teenager is already making meringue pies! So happy you enjoy the recipe!

  11. Made 2 of these over the holiday and they turned out great. Have used this recipe before also with no issues. The two seperate cooking times really matter. You must let it come to a full boil for a good full minute before taking care of the egg yolks- you can feel it when it starts to thicken and set a bit. Then it must boil again for the 3 minutes after you add the egg yolks. Hope this helps others

    1. Jeremy ELLis

      I used this recipe and the pie turned out fine. But you have to wait for the mixture to come to a full boil. Once it’s at full boil, then cook it for 1 minute. Add the egg mixture and bring to boil again and start timer for 3 minutes. I messed this up the first time and it turned out runny, but the second time it turned out awesome!!

  12. I made this today and followed directions exactly. It is completely runny inside and the pudding is runnier now after being in the crust and in the fridge for 3 hours than when I cooked it on the stove. Very disappointed in this recipe.

  13. Hannah Keirsey

    Hello. I’m also searching for my mom’s recipe. My dad has looked and can’t find her recipe, but she also did a lot from memory :). I tried this one last night and my pies didn’t set. They are basically still liquid. Any ideas where I messed up?? About to attempt a do over.

  14. My brother’s favorite dessert is chocolate meringue pie. I’ve been working on the perfect pie for 2 years now. This is the first recipe I’ve used that the meringue was absolutely perfect. I was so proud to take the pie to my brothers this weekend for a cookout. He said it was PHENOMENAL! I don’t eat meringue so made another pie without the meringue and got the same reviews. Everybody loved it! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I can’t wait to make it again for Thanksgiving!

  15. Larry Myers

    Made this for a Halloween potluck and it was simply awesome. By far the best chocolate pie I’ve ever had. (Ok, except for my mother’s!) I doubled it as I had a large pie pan. And, I added a bit of very dark chocolate powder.

          1. You can use arrowroot powder in place of cornstarch. I believe it is a 1/1 ratio, but Google to double check.

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