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A Pie Recipe for Pi Day

March 7, 2018


A Pie Recipe for Pi Day


by Alice Jane-Marie Massa



You have seven days to plan your celebration of Pi Day–March 14, 2018 (3/14).  Are you thinking of baking a pie  or eating a piece of pie?  Having a piece of pie with a cup of hot tea is a fine and festive choice to enjoy while you are reading and/or writing a pi poem on 3/14.  In last week’s blog post, I shared with you one of my pi poems and gave you the framework for writing your own pi poem.  In this week’s WORDWALK post, I am sharing with you a recipe for Chocolate Cream Pie from my mother’s recipe collection.  This pie recipe was one that Mother made somewhat frequently because it was a favorite of my sister and my cousin Donald.


Whether fruit or cream pies, single-crust or double-crust–all of the pies my mother made were beautiful and delicious–worthy of having a pie photo in a famous cookbook.  As a younger child, I assumed that all mothers made picture-perfect pies; By the time I hit the double-digits of age, I realized that not all pie bakers were of blue-ribbon quality.  Thus, through the years, I gained a better appreciation for my mother’s baking skills.  Since she worked full-time as the postmaster of our small town of Blanford (Indiana), Mother thoroughly enjoyed the art of baking and never complained about time spent in her kitchen.  My mother’s Chocolate Cream Pie recipe is based on a recipe from what is now considered a “vintage cookbook”–The Art of Cooking and Serving, by Sarah Field Splint, copyright 1930 (Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati, Ohio, 252 pages).  When our family still had the kitchen with the white cabinets, Mother kept all of her cookbooks in a large drawer near the northeast corner of the room.  Besides liking to eat my mother’s baked goodies, I liked to peruse her cookbooks.  Now, you can have a look at one of her favorite pie recipes.


Mother’s Chocolate Cream Pie


one baked pie shell


two tablespoons Crisco {trademark}

six tablespoons flour

one and one-half cups milk {My mother’s handwritten note on the recipe indicated that either whole or two-percent milk could be used.}

two squares unsweetened (baking) chocolate

three-fourths cup granulated sugar

one-fourth teaspoon salt

two egg yolks

one teaspoon vanilla


* * *


two tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

two egg whites (room temperature)


  1. Melt Crisco.


  1. Add flour, milk, chocolate (cut in pieces), granulated sugar, and salt; stir constantly, and bring slowly to the boiling point. Mixture will become thick and smooth.


  1. After removing pan from heat, stir in beaten egg yolks and vanilla.


  1. Pour into baked pie shell.


IMPORTANT!  Another suggestion which my mother wrote on the recipe was:  “Let the pie filling come to room temperature  before preparing meringue.”




  1. Beat egg whites until stiff.


  1. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar to stiffly beaten egg whites and continue beating until mixture is glossy and stiff.


  1. As you spoon the egg-white mixture onto the chocolate pie filling, allow the egg-white mixture to form soft peaks. Be certain to spread meringue to edges of crust to form a seal in order to prevent shrinking of meringue.


  1. Bake in a moderate oven (325 degrees Fahrenheit) for fifteen minutes or until a delicate brown.


NOTE:  You may choose to use your own meringue recipe with the chocolate cream filling.  Some meringue recipes call for more ingredients (such as cream of tartar and vanilla) than does this vintage recipe of 1930.  Also, I remember my mother’s experimenting with the temperature and time of baking, especially after a new oven entered our kitchen.  Perhaps, you may find that 350 degrees for twelve to fifteen minutes is better while other bakers may prefer 425 degrees for only eight minutes.  Happy baking!


On Pi Day, March 14, you may find that, if you are not in the baking mood, a pie shop or bakery may have a special sale.  Also, some restaurants may mark Pi Day with a special price for a piece of pie.  Is reading this blog making you hungry for the artful wedge of pastry?  A piece of pie and a pi poem sound like a winning combination to me!


SHARING TIME:  In the comment section for this WORDWALK post, please share your favorite kind of pie, your favorite pie recipe, and/or your favorite pie story.


Happy Pie Day!  Happy March!

Alice and Leader Dog Willow


March 7, 2018, Wednesday



From → Uncategorized

  1. Thank you for sharing Mother’s recipe for my all-time favorite pie, Alice! Although I have found that making a good meringue at the altitude of one-mile high is a challenge for me, I will give it another try on Pi Day!

    My favorite pie story has you as the star! I remember one Sunday when Mother had baked two of her famous pies to take to Aunt Zita’s for a family dinner. She placed them on the floor of the back seat of the car for the short drive. You first went into the front seat and then quickly decided that you wanted to sit in the backseat. In a moment, you were climbing over the seat and your tiny shoe landed right in the middle of one of Mother’s lovely pies! I don’t really recall what happened after that, but I do know that this story has always amused me and I have enjoyed sharing it many times.

    Wishing you and Willow a wonderful day!
    Love, Mary

    • Mary–Thanks so very much for finding Mother’s 1930 vintage cookbook and this recipe so that I could post it on this blog!  I always appreciate your time and cooperation in reading or e-mailing recipes to me.  Secondly, I thank you for proofreading the recipe after I had typed it so that this recipe is double-checked for those who may plan to make the pie recipe. Sharing family recipes with other bakers is as satisfying as eating a piece of pie.

          I will look forward to hearing how your high-altitude meringue turns out on Pi/Pie Day.  I am glad that the recipe gathering motivated you to try this chocolate cream pie again.

          How distinctly I recall another time when my foot landed in one of Mother’s pies!  I was saving this anecdote for a future WORDWALK post.

      With a pie-ful of thanks,

      Alice and Willow

  2. Fran Rayce permalink

    Hi Alice,

    This recipe sounds wonderful, and really, pretty simple. Since Jack always talks about his Grandma Sills’ chocolate pie with great longing I think I’ll give this recipe a try to see how it compares to his memory of hers.

    As for my taste, nothing compares to a blackberry pie made with fresh wild blackberries from Tontori’s field; or at least to my memory of such a pie! We were always a pie eating family, preferring pie to cake any time. Thanks for sharing!

    Hoping for spring to arrive soon and wishing you and Willow a great day.

    Fondly, Fran

    • Hi, Fran–Oh, that wild blackberry pie does sound good to me! When some of the young Blanford boys went into the woods to pick wild berries, my mom was always glad to buy berries from them for her making pies and jelly or jam.

      Hoping you and Jack enjoy the Chocolate Cream Pie–Alice and Willow

  3. My favorite kind of pie is French silk. When I married Bill, I discovered, to my delight, that he also enjoyed this type of pie. On December 31st, 2005, two months after we were married and one month before his debilitating stroke, we decided to ring in the new year with a French silk pie we’d ordered from Schwan. Unfortunately, after serving us each a piece, Bill attemmted to put the pie back in the refrigerator and accidentally dropped it on the floor instead. Needless to say, we rang in the new year by attempting to remove bits of pie from the kitchen carpet. Don’t ask me why the kitchen was carpeted. With wasn’t our choice.

    • Hi, Abbie–Thanks for sharing your favorite kind of pie and a pie anecdote.  While for many years, my dad’s two favorite pies were gooseberry and butterscotch, French Silk was definitely his favorite during his later years.

         Does your Thursday Poetry Group write any pi poems for Pi Day?

      Talk with you soon–Alice

      • No, ouof Third Thursday group has never done this, but it might be something to consider next year. We do a group writing prompt during our meeting, and whoever facilitates the meeting then gives us an assignment to work on for the next meeting. I don’t think the pi poem idea would work as an exercise to do during our next meeting this Thursday because it takes some considerable thought. Will definitely suggest this to our facilitator for this month and maybe we can work on it for next month. Better late than never.

  4. Katherine Binole permalink

    Hi Alice- Reading your blog brought back memories of the first time as a young bride I made a chocolate pie. You may remember this. Sitting at our table was two of my harshest food critics, your mother and mom Zita. I served the pie which looked perfect! Your mom and mom Zita checked the pie thoroughly. Your mom mentioned the white specks throughout the pie and commented hers didn’t have this and mom Z chimed in saying the same. They tasted and said it tasted okay. So, I checked the recipe with them and told them exactly what I had done. I separated the egg per recipe, put yolk in filling, but ended up with egg white and no instructions what to do with it. So, I stirred it quickly into filling when hot. So ended the mystery of the white specks in my chocolate pie. But, NOT the laughter from your mother and mom Zita!
    Love, Aunt Kathy

    • Hi, Aunt Kathy–I so appreciate your sharing this pie story on my blog because I do not remember this story.  Nevertheless, I do fondly remember all the wonderful dinners and sweets that the extended family and I enjoyed at your house.  From a young age, you were an outstanding cook who made many memorable family events more special with your tasty treats.

      Talk with you soon!  Happy Pie Day!  Love and thanks, Alice and Willow

      • Thanks for posting this great story, Aunt Kathy! I can just see Mother and Aunt Zita sitting in judgment of your chocolate pie! Since then, you have made countless delicious, picture-perfect pies, which have been enjoyed by everyone! You and BJ keep the tradition by continuing to make tasty pies for your own family holiday dinners.
        Have a Happy Pi Day, which hopefully will include a piece of chocolate pie!
        Love, Mary

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