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Black Bottom Pie

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  • 1 Pre-Baked Pie Crust
  • 1 Cup, Divided Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons  Corn Starch
  • 2 Cups Milk
  • 4, Yolks Separated Eggs
  • 2 Teaspoons, Divided Vanilla
  • 1 Bag Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Packet, Unflavored Gelatin
  • 1/4 Cup, Cold Water
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 Bar, For Shaving as Garnish Chocolate

Black Bottom Pie

The classic pie based on the muddy Mississippi

2 hour, 30 minutes

Serves: 8-12


A three layered pie featuring a chocolate custard, a custard meringue and then a top layer of whipped cream!

Black Bottom Pie Ingredients

Black Bottom Pie is a classic “ice box pie” that used to be wildly popular. It is thought to have originated in the south and was meant to represent the Mississippi River with it’s bottom layer of rich chocolate. The pie features Grandma’s Pie Crust (of course!), the chocolate layer, a layer of rich meringue and a layer of whipped cream and chocolate shavings or sprinkles. While most of the recipes I share here are fairly approachable for any skill level, this one is more of a “technical challenge.” It features several steps that are quite finicky to perfect including: pie crust, making custard, making a meringue, folding the custard into the meringue. Also, this pie is TALL so make sure you have a big fork at the ready!

This pie calls for a pre-baked pie crust. You can easily buy a pre-made one at the store, but it’s going to be MUCH better with Grandma’s Pie Crust. You can make it the day before and just cover it until it’s ready to use. Alternatively, you can also use a graham cracker crust and save yourself one of the tricky steps. The graham cracker crust has become more and more common in recent years as well people adding a bit of rum to the custard and meringue layer. I think I will definitely try that next time by adding a tablespoon or two of dark rum to the custard with the gelatin. Another helpful hint is to make sure your eggs are at room temperature, they’ll be easier to separate and room temp egg whites are much easier to whip into a meringue.

Although many of the steps of this Black Bottom Pie are a little tricky, if you stick to the recipe and take one step at a time, I’m sure it’ll be perfect. And, even if any step isn’t absolute perfection – it’s still gonna taste great. I promise you that! If you give this pie a try, please let me know what you think in the comments or share a pic with me on Instagram (@bdhbakes).

Black Bottom Pie Recipe Card Black Bottom Pie Recipe Back


  • Separate Eggs 

    Separate the yolks from four eggs. Place the egg whites in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cover allow to sit at room temperature until later. Place the yolks in a small bowl or small glass measuring cup with a spout. Whisk the egg yolks slightly to break them and combine.

    Black Bottom Pie Egg Yolks
  • Combine Sugar and Cornstarch 

    In a medium size sauce pan, add 1/2 Cup sugar and cornstarch and whisk to combine.

    Black Bottom Pie Sugar and Cornstarch
  • Add Milk and Heat to Scald 

    Add 2 Cups milk to the sugar and cornstarch and whisk to combine. Place the pan over medium heat and keep stirring until the milk is scalded (or right before it begins to boil). You'll start to see bubbles forming along the edge of the milk and a good amount of steam rising.

    Black Bottom Pie Add Milk
    Black Bottom Pie Cook and Stir
  • Add Egg Yolks 

    Lower the heat to low and slowly pour the egg yolks into the milk mixture whisking constantly. Once the egg yolks are all in keep stirring but switch to a wooden spoon. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. You'll want to see the spoon coated and be able to swipe a finger through it and still be able to see a clear line.

    Black Bottom Pie Add Egg Yolks
    Black Bottom Pie Stir
    Black Bottom Pie Coat Spoon
  • Cool and Add Vanilla 

    Take the pot off the stove and add 1 teaspoon of vanilla. This is now a traditional custard!

  • Add 1 Cup Custard to Chocolate Chip 

    Working fast so the custard is still warm, take one cup of it and pour it over the chocolate chips. Stir gently until all of the chocolate chips have melted and the custard and chocolate mixture is a unified color.

    Black Bottom Pie One Cup of Custard
    Black Bottom Pie Pour on Chocolate Chips
  • Pour Chocolate into Pie Crust 

    Pour the chocolate mixture into your pre-baked pie crust. Cover and allow to cool in the fridge. Allow to cool for 1 - 1 1/2 hours.

    Black Bottom Pie Add to Pie Crust
  • Soften Gelatin 

    Take 1/4 Cup cold water and sprinkle the contents of the gelatin packet over top. Stir to combine and allow to site for five minutes. After 5 minutes, add the gelatin mixture to the remaining custard and stir to combine. Cover this custard/gelatin mixture and place in the fridge to cool.

    Black Bottom Pie Gelatin
  • Whisk Egg Whites Into Meringue 

    After the chocolate layer has chilled for at least an hour, it's time to whisk the egg whites. Take the bowl that's been sitting at room temperature with the egg whites and add 1/4 teaspoon of Cream of Tartar. Beat the egg whites, starting to slow and gradually raising the speed as the mixture begins to get frothy.

    Black Bottom Pie Egg Whites & Cream of Tartar
    Black Bottom Pie Beat Egg Whites
    Black Bottom Pie Soft Peaks
  • Add Sugar to Meringue 

    Once you achieve soft peaks, begin to slowly add 1/2 Cup sugar as you keep whipping the egg whites. The mixture will become much thicker and glossier. Continue to beat the egg whites until they are stiff peaks and glossy!

    Black Bottom Pie Adding Sugar
  • Combine the Meringue and Remaining Custard 

    Take the custard/gelatin mixture out of the fridge and to it, add a big scoop of the meringue. Stir to combine. Then, add the custard/meringue mixture into the big bowl of meringue and fold gently to combine. Keep folding until everything is a unified color.

    Black Bottom Pie Add Whites into Custard
    Black Bottom Pie Stir Together
    Black Bottom Pie Add to Meringue
    Black Bottom Pie Folded In
  • Fill Pie Crust with Custard Meringue 

    Once the custard and meringue have been fully combined, pour it over the chocolate layer and return to the fridge to continue to set. Allow to set for at least an hour.

    Black Bottom Pie Meringue Filling
  • Make Whipped Cream 

    Right before you are ready to serve the pie, make the whip cream. Pour COLD cream into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Begin by mixing on low and gradually increasing the speed as the mixture thickens. After about 2-3 minutes, add the remaining Tablespoon (or so) of sugar and additional teaspoon of vanilla. Be careful to not over mix! Stop when it's light and fluffy but still hold it's shape.

    Black Bottom Pie Make Whipped Cream
    Black Bottom Pie Add Sugar and Vanilla
  • Top the Pie and Decorate 

    Spread the whipped cream over the top of the pie. Decorate the pie with chocolate shavings or chocolate sprinkles. Enjoy!

    Black Bottom Pie Whipped Cream Topping
    Black Bottom Pie Add Chocolate Shavings



One Response

  1. This was wonderful!! I had never made this pie before! Grandma Jackie’s step by step instructions were fabulous. I made one as a gift and one for my family💕

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