Slice of pie on white plate with pie in background.
Pies,  Recipes

Old-Fashioned Black Bottom Pie Recipe

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Transport yourself back in time to the golden era of American baking with this timeless classic, Black Bottom Pie. Hailing from the mid-20th century, this vintage dessert is a delightful blend of rich, velvety chocolate and creamy, dreamy custard, all nestled within a flaky pie crust. Just one bite of this indulgent treat will evoke memories of cozy family gatherings and the charm of old-fashioned kitchen creations.

Slice of pie on white plate.

Black Bottom Pie earned its name from its distinctive layers: a luscious, chocolatey bottom layer that perfectly complements the airy, vanilla-infused custard on top. This recipe is a nod to the comforting simplicity of yesteryears, where home bakers could whip up a decadent dessert with pantry staples. Whether you’re seeking a taste of nostalgia or introducing a new generation to the wonders of vintage baking, this Black Bottom Pie promises to capture hearts and taste buds alike with its timeless appeal.

Ingredients You Will Need

Black bottom pie ingredients.
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Cornstarch
  • Sugar
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Vanilla
  • 9-Inch Baked Pie Shell
  • Unflavored Gelatin
  • Water
  • Rum or Rum Extract
  • Whipped Dessert Topping
  • Unsweetened Chocolate

Equipment You May Need

  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Mixer with Whisk Attachment
  • Double Boiler
  • Saucepan
  • Pie Pan
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Sharp Knife
  • Pie Server

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to cook the custard filling on low heat? Yes, it’s essential to cook the custard filling over low heat while constantly stirring to prevent it from curdling or becoming too thick.

How long should I refrigerate the pie before serving? It’s best to refrigerate the pie for at least 2-4 hours, or until it’s completely set. Overnight refrigeration is even better, allowing the flavors to meld.

Can I make Black Bottom Pie in advance for special occasions? Yes, Black Bottom Pie is an excellent make-ahead dessert. You can prepare it a day before your event and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve.

Close up of wooden spoon coated with custard.
Wooden spoon coated in custard.
Stiff beaten egg whites and sugar making a point hanging from whisk.
Egg whites and sugar forming stiff peaks on whisk.
Melted chocolate in cooked pie shell.
Bottom layer.

How to Scald Milk

Milk in a pot with wooden spoon and thermometer.
Scalding milk.
  • Add cold milk to saucepan.
  • Use a candy thermometer (if you have one) to measure the temperature.
  • Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  • Milk is scalded when the temperature is between 180 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a thermometer, you will know it is scalded when small bubbles appear around the outside of the saucepan.
  • Before using, cool the milk for 10 minutes or until the temperature is below 138 degrees Fahrenheit.

Substitutions and Variations

Chocolate Variations:

  • Instead of using semi-sweet chocolate, you can experiment with dark chocolate or bittersweet chocolate for a more intense cocoa flavor.
  • White chocolate lovers can use white chocolate chips or chunks for the bottom layer, creating a contrast with the chocolate custard.

Nutty Additions:

  • Sprinkle chopped nuts (such as toasted almonds or pecans) over the chocolate layer before adding the custard for added texture and flavor.

Garnish Options:

  • Get creative with toppings. Besides chocolate shavings, you can use fresh fruit like raspberries or strawberries, or drizzle caramel or fruit coulis for an extra layer of flavor.

Decorative Touches:

  • Dust the pie with cocoa powder, powdered sugar, or edible glitter for a visually appealing presentation.

Other Recipes You May Enjoy

Black Bottom Pie is delicious, and if you like it you may also like some other tasty recipes like my Chocolate Macaroon Pie or my Strawberry Cream Pie. You might like this Old-Fashioned Sugar Cream Pie or this Skillet Pecan Pie.

Final Thoughts

If you haven’t tried Black Bottom Pie, you have got to. It is light and fluffy, but rich. A small piece will be plenty. This vintage recipe will be a new favorite.

Slice of pie on white plate with pie in background.

Black Bottom Pie

Heidi Bruaw
This Black Bottom Pie recipe features a layer of chocolate nestled beneath a velvety custard infused with rum and topped with whipped cream.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 minutes
Chill Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 6


  • 4 Eggs separated
  • 2 Cups Milk scalded
  • 1 Tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 1 Cup Sugar divided
  • 1 Cup Chocolate Chips
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 9-Inch Baked Pie Shell
  • 1 Envelope Unflavored Gelatin
  • ¼ Cup Cold Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Rum or Rum Extract
  • 1 Cup Whipped Dessert Topping
  • 1 Ounce Unsweetened Chocolate optional


  • In the top pan of a double boiler, beat the egg yolks.
  • Use a mixer to blend in the scalded milk gradually.
  • In a separate bowl, combine cornstarch and ½ cup of sugar.
  • Use a mixer to blend the cornstarch mixture into the egg mixture.
  • Cook the mixture in a double boiler over hot water until the mixture coats a wooden spoon. This is the custard.
  • Pour one cup of hot custard into a heat-resistant bowl. Add the chocolate chips and stir until they are melted.
  • Add vanilla.
  • Pour the mixture into the baked pie shell and then chill for 30 minutes in the freezer or an hour in the refrigerator.
  • While the above is chilling, soften the unflavored gelatin in ¼ cup of cold water.
  • Add the gelatin mixture to the remaining hot custard. Stir until the gelatin is dissolved.
  • Stir in the rum or rum extract.
  • Chill the mixture until slightly thickened.
  • While the rum and custard mixture is chilling, beat the egg whites until frothy.
  • Use the whisk attachment on your mixer to gradually beat in the rest of the ½ cup of sugar until stiff peaks form.
  • Fold into the chilled rum and custard mixture.
  • Pour over the chocolate layer in the pie shell.
  • Refrigerate for an hour or freeze for 30 minutes.
  • Frost with whipped dessert topping.
  • (Optional) Top with shaved chocolate. To shave chocolate, use a potato peeler or sharp knife to shave ½ ounce of unsweetened chocolate.
Keyword Black Bottom Pie
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