The Help & Minny's Chocolate Pie

Last month's Food & Wine magazine felt like it was written for me.  Not only was there a spread on the Beekman Boys (about whom I wrote about previously here), but there were recipes inspired by the novel The Help, which I loved.  Last week I hosted dinner for four friends before we saw the movie version of "The Help" and it didn't seem right to serve anything other than Southern food.

The night began with deviled eggs and progressed to fried chicken, corn on the cob, sauteed greens and biscuits.  Having only recently overcome my fear of frying (by making eggplant fries, which I highly recommend), I was nervous about making fried chicken for the first time with guests over.  However, it was simple and so delicious.  I fear that overcoming my fear of frying may become a problem for my generally healthy approach to life...

I used this Classic Southern Fried Chicken recipe from the September 2011 Food & Wine magazine and a really tasty Late-Summer-Greens Sauté recipe from the September 2011 Bon Appétit.  I'll make these greens again - the apple cider vinegar really makes them stand out.  Perhaps eating these greens will counterbalance the effects of future batches of fried chicken?

While dinner was pretty tasty, the highlight of the meal was dessert.  If you've read The Help, you'll appreciate the significance of Minny's Chocolate Pie.  If you haven't, you'll still appreciate the pie's decadent flavor.  It tastes like an incredibly rich brownie or flourless chocolate cake in a pie crust and even after baking it remains incredibly moist.  I'd describe it as sinful... 

Minny's Chocolate Pie
Food & Wine Magazine, September 2011
Yield = 1 pie (approximately 8 servings) 

  1. Pie crust (you only need a single crust for this pie - this is my favorite recipe although the original recipe calls for store-bought crust)
  2. 1 1/2 cups sugar
  3. 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  4. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  5. 2 large eggs, beaten
  6. 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  7. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  8. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  9. Whipped cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350°. Ease the pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate and crimp the edges decoratively. Prick the crust lightly with a fork. Line the crust with foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes or until set. Remove the foil and weights and bake for about 5 minutes longer, just until the crust is dry but not browned.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk the sugar with the cocoa powder, butter, eggs, evaporated milk, vanilla and salt until smooth.

Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake for about 45 minutes, until the filling is set around the edges but a little jiggly in the center. Cover the crust with strips of foil halfway through baking. Transfer the pie to a rack and let cool completely before cutting into wedges. Serve with whipped cream.

MAKE AHEAD - The chocolate pie can be refrigerated overnight.