Black-Bottom Pie


The other day, I was driving down our rocky dirt road on my way home and I saw this little old lady all hunched over, walking with a stick. There weren’t any houses near by, so I stopped the car beside her, rolled down my window, and asked her if she needed any help. She just looked at me and said, “Black-Bottom Pie.” I said, “What?” And she said, “Black-Bottom Pie.” Again. Then she asked me if I wanted the recipe, and I said, like, okay, and I didn’t have a piece of paper so I wrote it down on my hand. Then she said, “I was young like you once and someone gave me this recipe. They told me if I didn’t go home right away and make it, I would grow old and miserable overnight, like I am now, and the only way I can be released from my suffering is to give the recipe to someone else. And if you don’t go home and make it right away, you will end up like me.” Then, right in front of me, she turned into a bunny and hopped into the forest.

Okay, I got this recipe out of a Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. But I had you going for, like, half a second, right? Or at least the part about where an old lady was walking down the road? THAT COULD HAPPEN!! Never mind…………. I don’t even understand the part about the bunny and I wrote it. Hmmm. This is what I’m always saying about stuff in my books, too…..

But! This pie is to die for!!!! Black-Bottom Pie used to be popular years ago, but people hardly make it anymore. Which is why, of course, I’m attracted to it. I love old-timey stuff that nobody wants to make. I’m difficult that way. (If you want an easy pie, get a Mrs. Smith’s in the freezer section of the grocery store. I am about real pie. The kind of pie they write ballads about. Pie is meant to be a lyrical masterpiece, a creative process. PIE!!!!!) There are several steps to this recipe (thus its waning popularity in our MAKE IT FAST OR FORGET IT world. But it’s also worth the trouble, so here’s how to make this old-fashioned favorite (after your head stops spinning from this whole freakish foray into my nonsensical imagination), with my modifications to the original cookbook instructions (which I didn’t think were quite clear….I am often annoyed by cookbooks….):

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How to make Black-Bottom Pie:

1 single-crust pie shell
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar (divided)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 cups milk
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons rum (or 1/2 teaspoon rum extract)
4 egg whites

Step One: Prepare one single-crust pie shell. (Try Foolproof Pie Crust!) Prick all over, the more the better, with a fork. Bake at 450-degrees for about 10 minutes. Cool.

Step Two: Soften gelatin in 1/4 cup cold water and set aside.

Step Three: In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup of the sugar and the cornstarch. Stir in milk and egg yolks. Cook and stir over medium heat until bubbly. Cook and stir two minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Step Four: Pour half of the milk mixture into a medium-size bowl. (Keep remaining mixture in saucepan warm with the lowest setting on your stovetop. It is very important that you keep the saucepan mixture warm while you are working with the chocolate in this step.) Add chocolate to the half in the bowl and stir to melt. Pour into baked pie shell. Chill while continuing the rest of the pie preparation.

Step Five: Stir softened gelatin mixture into the warmed saucepan with the remaining half of the milk mixture until gelatin dissolves. Stir in the rum. You can taste the rum first if you need to. Or want to. Or have some Coke. Or don’t. You just go ahead and have some rum. I said so. I think the old lady said so, too. Right before she hopped into the forest. Okay, don’t get too distracted here. Chill the milk/gelatin/rum mixture until it is about the consistency of syrup. Do not get distracted at this point. I can’t say this enough. Put down the rum. If you let it chill too long, it will gel into clumps and you will only wish you were a carefree bunny hopping in the forest, trust me, because all your effort up to now will be for naught. Actually, that’s not true–even if you let it get clumpy, the pie will still work, but it won’t look as pretty, so don’t do it. Put down the rum! Just check it every 5 minutes to see when it thickens up to syrupy texture and take it out then. (This will depend on your fridge temp, but should probably be less than 30 minutes.)

Step Six: Beat egg whites till soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, continuing to beat till stiff peaks form. Beating egg whites is one of those miracle type things where you can’t believe you made that out of those goopy egg whites and you also can’t believe how long it takes to do it. To get it right, you have to beat till you think you can’t beat anymore. Then beat some more.

I love meringue.

Step Seven: Fold beaten egg whites into the prepared, syrupy-textured milk/rum mixture. Spoon over chocolate bottom in pie shell. Chill overnight (or like 8 hours).

Step Eight: Eat the entire pie for breakfast.

Chocolate bottom, rum pudding and meringue top…………. This pie is worth it!!

Now excuse me because I totally need some breakfast….

See this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.

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  1. TeresaH says:

    I don’t believe I’ve ever tried a black bottom pie before although I have heard of them. It sure does look good! I may have to try that. I like making stuff from scratch too when I have time.

  2. Patty says:

    Wow that’s a lot of work for a pie LOL :hungry: You are a much more patient woman than I, Suzanne.

    If I knew it would last longer than about 10 seconds in my house, I might give it a go. Hmmm does look good.. maybe when I’m not so tired lol.

  3. Suzanne, the Farmer's Wife says:

    That looks delicious and you know I’m the officionado of pie. You don’t bake the meringue? Holy cow…..the raw egg police will be after you. HA.

    Thanks for the recipe.

    – Suzanne, the Farmer’s Wife

  4. Heidi says:

    Are you sure its not LARGE BOTTOM MAKER PIE!?!??! LOL

  5. Kathryn says:

    I would have replied earlier but I was eating the last piece of cranberry/pecan pie for breakfast. With a side order of boiled custard.

    That pie is so good! I love a good black-bottom pie. Of course, because I am from the Commonwealth of Kentucky, bourbon is used. Oh, this pie is just so wonderful. Everyone needs to try it!

    Mother is doing a little better, so I hope to have a little more time to read here soon!

  6. Nancy in Atlanta says:

    OMG, I LOVE you, Suzanne!!! No, I won’t make the pie (I’m the one who uses the oven just to store pots and pans) but you gave me a much-needed chuckle (or chortle, as one of my daughter’s friends says) this AM. I’m up and it’s not even 10 yet, but a friend is bringing her slightly disabled son over to stay with me a while and they’ll be here in an hour, so I HAD to get up. But you made the effort delightful. Thank you!!! And send a pie down here for me. :catmeow:

  7. Nancy in Atlanta says:

    Oops. I forgot to say, “Please”.

  8. Tressa says:

    Please don’t ever apologize for your nonsensical ramblings. Your recipes wouldn’t be complete, without them!

  9. Kari says:

    OMG – this pie sounds FANTASTIC! Thanks for the recicpe!

  10. Shari C says:

    I have never heard of this recipe, but it sure sounds great.

  11. Robin G. says:

    I have to ask — what’s your secret? Is it the milking of Clover that burns the calories? Looking at these recipes, one would think you’d be about 300 pounds, yet you’re very fit. Do share.

  12. Donna says:

    I remember hearing about Black Bottom Pie, but don’t think I have ever had it! I love Rum! I would have to make that for myself – my husband doesn’t like Rum – the more for ME! YUM I could eat that for breakfast! :mrgreen:

  13. Bee says:

    I loved the part about the bunny! I might try the pie, but I’m really a terrible cook. I was sent here for instructions in bread making. I haven’t made bread yet because, in addition to being a bad cook, I’m a really good procrastinator.

    I just wanted you to know how much I like your blog.

  14. Brandy says:

    At first I thought Black Bottom Pie and I thought it probably has molasses. But, chocolate? So there! *G*

  15. Estella says:

    The pie sounds yummy!

  16. Kacey says:

    Wow, that looks good! There is nothing better than pie for breakfast!

  17. catslady says:

    You had me believing clear up ’til the bunny. I had visions of you running home and making it – I know you would have lol.

  18. tom says:

    You’re gonna have to enter the liar’s contest at the Vandalia Festival Memorial Day

  19. Teresa says:

    Sounds wonderful! I printed it out to take “home” with me to Looneyville in a few weeks. Then I will probably have plenty of time to try it while we are stuck in the snow. :snoopy:
    I would not mind a day or 2 of snow. We don’t get much here in my part of NC.

  20. maddie says:

    Omigoodness! That looks scrumptious. I’ve never heard of Black Bottom Pie before. Yum! Rum! Yum! okay….


  21. mirela says:

    I just printed the recipe and can’t wait to try it. I am not a good cook, I must confess…However, since I was able to make the Grandmother’s Bread several times now, who knows?

  22. shannon says:

    you had me goin’ for like a full 2 seconds. i was thinkin’, only in the hills!

  23. gordon says:

    We have used this recipie for lots of years now and it is indeed the best home spun pie imaginable and definately worth the effort. I think we use more chocolate chips than you do however.

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