There are pies and then there is my grandma’s chocolate pie.
It’s a luscious chocolate custard resting on a flaky, almost salty crust, topped with a springy meringue. For me, it’s la pièce de résistance and whether times are good or times are bad, it’s always welcome and appropriate.
I can’t remember a period in my life when it wasn’t my favorite dessert. My family has always been pie eaters, but we fall into several camps: there are the peach enthusiasts, the pecan lovers and then there are those of us who prefer the chocolate. My mom loves the chocolate best so that’s probably why it’s my (and my brother’s) favorite as well. But that doesn’t explain why Mom doesn’t make it. Nope, only one person can make my grandma’s chocolate pie and that’s my grandma.
When I went to visit her in August, I told her I wanted a chocolate pie. That was no surprise—I always insist that she bake me a chocolate pie when I visit. But this time I was determined to document her making it so I could try and recreate it back here in NY.
She had all the ingredients spread out on the counter and then I saw it: her recipe card. I hadn’t noticed before that she uses a recipe—I always assumed she baked chocolate pie from memory. The old card was yellowing and splattered with spots. And it called for Oleo as one of the ingredients. What a treasure! Before we started baking, I decided to take a photo of the card and as the light was waning in the kitchen, I took the card out to the front porch to shoot it before she started cooking.
I ended up spending more time than I meant to photographing the card. And as I saw the sun setting, I realized I should probably go back inside to watch her make the pie. Unfortunately, as I walked into the kitchen Grandma was sliding the chocolate pie into the oven. Curses! My original assumption was correct: she did not need a recipe card to make chocolate pie. And I had spent so much time shooting the dang card, I had missed my opportunity observe her crafting a chocolate pie.
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