Black Bottom Pie

Black Bottom Pie

My Mimi’s Black Bottom Pie is a legendary recipe, as full of sweet memories as it is flavor. Creamy, with just the right amount of bittersweet chocolate nestled at the bottom, this pie will inspire a whole new generation of devoted bakers.

~Brian Hart Hoffman

Black Bottom Pie
Makes 1 (10-inch) deep-dish pie
  • 3 cups (315 grams) finely ground gingersnap cookies
  • 6 tablespoons (84 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups (480 grams) whole milk
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 large eggs (200 grams), separated and room temperature
  • 1½ tablespoons (12 grams) cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) cold water
  • 1 tablespoon (8 grams) unflavored gelatin
  • 1.5 ounces (43 grams) 70% cacao bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 1 tablespoon (13 grams) vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon (15 grams) whiskey or 1 tablespoon (13 grams) rum extract
  • Sweetened Whipped Cream (recipe follows)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
  2. In a medium bowl, using your hands, work together gingersnaps and butter until well combined. Using a measuring cup, press mixture into bottom and up sides of a tall-sided 10-inch fluted round removable-bottom tart pan.
  3. Bake until lightly toasted and fragrant, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  4. In a medium saucepan, heat milk over medium heat until steaming. (Do not boil.)
  5. In another medium bowl, whisk together ½ cup (100 grams) sugar, egg yolks, and cornstarch. Gradually add hot milk to sugar mixture, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan, and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and mixture starts to boil. Cook, whisking constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
  6. In a small bowl, place 3 tablespoons (45 grams) cold water; sprinkle gelatin on top. Let stand for 1 minute.
  7. Reserve 1 cup (216 grams) custard in another medium bowl. Immediately stir bloomed gelatin into remaining custard until gelatin completely dissolves and is well combined. Let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until ready to use.
  8. Stir melted chocolate and vanilla into reserved custard until well combined. Pour into bottom of prepared crust, and spread into an even layer. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly onto surface of custard to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate.
  9. In the heatproof bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together egg whites, cream of tartar, and remaining ½ cup (100 grams) sugar by hand. Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Cook, whisking frequently, until sugar completely dissolves and an instant-read thermometer registers 120°F (49°C) to 130°F (54°C).
  10. Carefully return bowl to stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat at high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.
  11. Stir whiskey or rum extract into gelatin-custard. Fold in meringue in two additions. Remove plastic wrap from chocolate layer in prepared crust, and spoon meringue mixture on top, smoothing into an even layer. Cover with a clean piece of plastic wrap, and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or up to overnight. Just before serving, top with Sweetened Whipped Cream.



Sweetened Whipped Cream
Makes 3 cups
  • 1½ cups (360 grams) cold heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons (36 grams) granulated sugar
  1. Refrigerate a large bowl and a whisk until cold, about 10 minutes.
  2. In cold bowl, using cold whisk, whisk together cold cream and sugar until medium-stiff peaks form. Use immediately, or refrigerate until ready to use.
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