Thursday, August 11, 2011

Minny's Chocolate Pie from The Help

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"I'm not from the South, but I got here as fast as I could". As I have mentioned before, my sweet Southern friend gave me that little sign. I am a Midwesterner, but after living in the South for 20+ years, I should qualify as a naturalized Southerner by now, right? I found the book The Help very interesting and frankly not far from the South I experience here today. I have no interest in a controversial blog, but our paper had an article on The Help and its food, and I knew I had go there!

When you think of Southern Food, it is no secret that much of the socially elite Southerners didn't cook their own "Southern Cuisine". Much of the food we associate with the South was the food made by The Help. The movie touches on this as well. I love the fantastic cuisine of the South, and was happy to see a few recipes printed in the paper that the food stylist and her helpers used for the movie. The article can be found here, and the Black Eyed Pea Salad looks delicious, but I would have to eat the entire thing on my own. The fried chicken recipe is a Southern staple, I have been soaking my chicken in buttermilk and Crystal's Hot Sauce for as many years as I have lived south of Michigan. So I opted to make Minny's Chocolate Pie. If you haven't read the book or seen the movie, let's just say that Minny's Chocolate Pie plays a starring role. In the article, the stylist says they made more than 50!

I had never really thought about chocolate pie until I moved to Memphis. It is on the menu at all the BBQ joints, and is also called fudge pie, but my own pies tend to filled with fruit. I thought back to my childhood, and I can remember my mom took me to Bishop's when my dad was out of town. It was essentially a cafeteria, slide the tray and choose your food, and there at the end, every time waiting for me was Chocolate Ambrosia Pie. It was a chocolate pie, but it certainly wasn't anything we ever ate outside of Bishop's. I was enamored with the chocolate curls on top of the whipped creme. I mean this is 1979 we are talking about! And after a quick search, I find they are still in business, not in the location I went to those few times, but just a town away. And that pie? You can buy the whole thing for $8.49. That's a far cry from the Southern chocolate pie for sale just down the street for $17. I even found a few recipes for Bishop's pie, but they all use instant pudding mix. I guess my palate wasn't fully developed in 1979. I am making Minny's for hardly anything. Chances are if you are a baker, the ingredients are in your pantry! And it is way better than a pudding pie.

Minny's Chocolate Pie from The Help

1 refrigerated pie crust
1½ cups sugar
3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs, slightly beaten
¼ teaspoon salt
1-5½oz. can evaporated milk (Double check your can, they also come MUCH bigger!)
1 teaspoon vanilla (you know what kind to use!)
Whipped Cream for serving

Fit crust into 9" pie pan. Crimp edges and prick bottom and sides (I forgot to do that).
Preheat oven to 350° (I used convection at 335°). Mix sugar, cocoa and butter in a mixing bowl. Add eggs and beat with a mixer 3 minutes. Add salt, milk and vanilla. Pour filling into shell and bake for 35-45 minutes or until edges are brown and filling is slightly set in the middle. Cool completely before serving.
Can be refrigerated or served at room temp. You'll also see the pie as a double crust pie in the movie in a scene. But most often Minny makes a single crust with a big dollop of whipped cream!

The recipe calls for a refrigerated pie crust, and yes, I went there. I love home made pie crust, no doubt. But trust me, this pie is so rich, so decadent, the crust plays a pretty small role. Of course for unsweetened cocoa I used Pernigotti. The evaporated milk makes the filling smooth as silk, the pie is just delicious. I must admit though, that my pie looks a lot juicier the the pie in the movie. But trust me, you will enjoy it as much as Minny's admirers (and enemy) enjoyed hers! So, what are ya waiting for? Get in there and bake!


  1. OMG! that looks divine, I might even have to break my rules and use a store bough pie crust seeing as you say it is OK.

    Great childhood memories, I'd watch American movies and always wanted to order a slice of pie when I was a I'll be able to make the whole lot for under $17!

  2. Camilla, this is a tasty Southern treat! Make sure you catch the film when it comes, it is set in the town where my daughter goes to college and it is really a beautiful part of the South! (with a not so pretty past) The clothes in the movie are great too..

  3. SOunds great, I'll keep my eye out for it.

  4. Looks great! I have some southern roots so much of my cooking is a southern/Midwestern mish mash. This one is definitely coming up soon.

  5. Hi Susie, this is Angie, we met yesterday at WS, I love your site!! And I love post on Southern cooking. We can't wait to see the movie so we can see all the amazing food that Martha Hall Foose styled!! Thanks for sharing this!! Come on over to, when you have a moment. Look forward to seeing you again soon!

  6. Honey chile, I believe you have left out one key ingredient from Minny's recipe for chocolate pie. :)

  7. hello, i'm from indonesia
    i love ur pie recipe, looks like minni's pie perfectly :)

  8. Made this lovely recipe tonight, WONDERFUL. Thank you so much.

  9. ReWatching the help is what made me look up a recipe for minnis pie. Thanks soo much. Would you mind giving me the recipe for your fried chicken and others southern dishes? Pleeeease

  10. I made this pie for Thanksgiving and it didn't set up the way it was supposed to! The pie still tasted amazing so I'm going to try again. Any tips to make it firm Up?

    1. Cook it longer. After 40 minutes, I put it in 10 more, and then for another 10 minutes and it firmed up very nicely

  11. Made this five times since November. Absolutely my favorite pie ever!! Thank you for sharing.