Oscars 2012: The Help (Yourself to Another Slice of) Chocolate Pie

Posted on 16 February 2012

If you’ve seen The Help, you know that Minny’s famous chocolate pie has to headline this year’s Oscars menu. I found what purports to be the recipe, but I had to test it before posting. After all, it was a movie prop. I was afraid it would look good, but taste crappy.

After some adaptation (adding lots more cocoa and vanilla, and simplifying the baking), I’m pleased to report that my Minny’s pie recipephany below rates 5 out of 5 stars, with a dark filling that tastes like a melted chocolate bar. Neither cream, nor custard, nor chiffon, it’s a firm pie that would not lend itself to tossing. It poses no danger of a chocolate flood in the oven because the filling stays comfortably below the line of crimpage.

This variation of a classic Southern chocolate chess pie is a good movie choice because it must have held up well under the Klieg lights. When I was growing up in North Carolina, chocolate angel pie with its heavenly chocolate cloud on a thin pecan meringue crust was the hands-down best Southern pie ever. Now that’s Oscar material. But it would never have lasted beyond the first take.

And considering how hard it is to make a chocolate angel pie (at least for me—I have yet to get it right), Minny’s pie has the edge because you can dash it together from ingredients you have around the kitchen. (Especially if, like me, you still have that can of evaporated milk left over from Thanksgiving.)

Blues Food Tradition

My husband and his college friends created “Blues Food” themed dinners many years ago, the intersection of good food, puns, and conceptual art. Once we put sautéed chicken livers with red wine gravy into a baked pie shell, and topped it with squares of baked pastry with perforated edges—a dish my husband called “Shit or Get Off the Pot Pie.” This Oscars menu humbly bows to that fine tradition.

2012 Oscars Menu

  • Martin Scorcheesey’s Hugorgonzola
  • Melissa Havarti with Jonah Dill
  • Kenneth Bran-Oat Crackers
  • Mid-ripened Pears from Woody Allandale Farm
  • Brad Pitted Olives
  • Mishellfish Williams with Warm Horseradish Sauce
  • Gary Oldmanicotti with Rooney Marinara Sauce
  • Meryl Strip Steak
  • The Artistchokes with Greens du Jardin and Bérénice Dijon, Misshelled Hazelnuts and Money Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • The Tray of Libations, including George Kahlua Neat
  • The Help (Yourself to Another Slice of) Chocolate Pie
  • Heavyola Davis Cream, Whipped

The Help (Yourself to Another Slice of) Chocolate Pie
(AKA “Minny’s Chocolate Pie”)

I have already increased the cocoa and vanilla. But, hey, it never hurts to add more.

  • 9-inch pie crust, unbaked (see Edith’s Flaky Pie Crust)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk (can be skim)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Whipped cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Prepare the pie shell and rub the inside bottom lightly with butter or margarine to keep the crust from getting soggy.

Whisk sugar with cocoa powder, butter, eggs, evaporated milk, vanilla and salt until smooth. Pour filling into the pastry and bake for about 40-45 minutes. The filling should be set around the perimeter and wiggle just a little in the center when you jiggle the pie so that the chocolate doesn’t overcook. Cool completely. Serve with whipped cream. Refrigerate leftovers.

Note: I have changed this recipe since I first posted it. It now has nearly double the cocoa, shorter baking time, and clearer (I hope) instructions. It’s definitely 5 stars now.

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4 responses to Oscars 2012: The Help (Yourself to Another Slice of) Chocolate Pie

  • amanda says:

    i made this pie because it looks so much like how it did in the movie. i have yet to taste it because its cooling but i can tell its going to be delish. your husband sounds hysterical. shit of get off the pot pie! XD

    • Diane Brody says:

      Hope you like it. And yes, my husband is a hoot. Thanks for visiting, and thanks for the comment!
      best,
      Diane

    • Diane Brody says:

      Hey Amanda,

      I really appreciated your post on my blog way back when, and don’t know if you ever ended up trying Minny’s pie. But here I am three years later improving on the recipe and thought you might like to know. I’ve almost doubled the cocoa and reduced baking time and it’s fantastic. It’s become one of my favorite pies. Hope all is well. Don’t know if you’re snowed in, but we’re breaking records here in Boston. Best, Diane

  • Shay says:

    I wanna tell you this is going down for thanksgiving tomorrow this is absolutely delicious and if there was a special ingredient I wouldn’t have noticed thank you so much

  • Leave a Response

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