Chocolate Chess Pie with Cornbread Crumble

Crunchy cacao elevates the crust for this updated take on the Southern classic.

bySAVEUR Editors| UPDATED Oct 18, 2021 11:02 PM
Chocolate Chess Pie with Cornbread Crumble
Photography by Joseph De Leo

Chef Scott Crawford of the French-style bistro, Jolie, in Raleigh updates the simple Southern custard pie by adding cacao nibs to the butter crust and sprinkling a nutty cornbread crumble on top. Check out 25 more pie recipes that make the world go round.

Featured in: "Middle of Somewhere."

Yield: serves 8

Time: 1 hours

For the Cacao Nib Crust

  • 1 <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>2</sub> cups flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>2</sub> tsp. kosher salt
  • 12 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 6 tbsp. cacao nibs
  • 2 tbsp. ice-cold water

For the Cornbread Crumble and Chocolate Custard

  • <sup>3</sup>⁄<sub>4</sub> cup brown sugar
  • <sup>3</sup>⁄<sub>4</sub> cup masa harina
  • <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>4</sub> cup fine cornmeal
  • <sup>3</sup>⁄<sub>4</sub> tsp. kosher salt, divided
  • 10 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 1 <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>4</sub> cups sugar
  • <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>2</sub> cup cornstarch
  • 6 tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>2</sub> cups milk
  • 1 <sup>1</sup>⁄<sub>4</sub> cups heavy cream
  • 5 oz. semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped


  1. Make the crust: Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor; add butter and pulse until pea-size crumbles form. Add cacao nibs and water; pulse into a smooth dough. Flatten into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap and chill 3 hours.
  2. Heat oven to 375°. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 12-inch circle; fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim edges and crimp; chill 30 minutes. Using a fork, prick the dough all over; line with parchment paper and fill with pie weights; bake 15 minutes. Remove paper and weights; cook 15 minutes more.
  3. Make the crumble: Heat oven to 300°. Combine sugar, flour, cornmeal, and salt in a food processor and pulse until combined; add butter and pulse until pea-size crumbles form. Transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake until golden brown, 30 minutes. Break up into coarse crumbs, then cool.
  4. Make the custard: In a 4-qt. saucepan, whisk sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, salt, and eggs until smooth; stir in milk and cream. Cook over medium until thickened, 10–12 minutes. Stir in chocolate until melted, then pass custard through a fine sieve. Pour into cooled pie crust and top with crumble. Chill before serving.

How to Whip Cream by Hand for Your Chocolate Chess Pie