Cranberry Chocolate Chess Pie

Recipe by Emily Hilliard

Chess pies are a beloved type of custard-filled pie. While chess pie recipes tend to be more old-fashioned, this version includes a new twist. Our recipe for chocolate chess pie has a touch of cornmeal for texture. Plus, the tangy brightness of cranberries combines with the richness of chocolate, custard, and cornmeal for a unique dessert.

25 mins
40 to 45 mins
1 hr 5 mins
one 9" pie
Cranberry Chocolate Chess Pie - select to zoom
Cranberry Chocolate Chess Pie - select to zoom
Cranberry Chocolate Chess Pie - select to zoom
Cranberry Chocolate Chess Pie - select to zoom


Prevent your screen from going dark as you follow along.
  1. Grease and flour a 9" pie pan. Roll the chilled, rested dough into a 12" to 13" circle and fit it into the pan. Trim and flute the edge, then put the lined pie pan in the refrigerator while preparing the filling.

  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  3. Place the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally. Cook, stirring frequently, until melted into a smooth chocolate sauce, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl.

  4. Add the sugar and cornmeal to the chocolate mixture and stir until well combined.

  5. Stir in the eggs, vanilla, salt, and orange zest. Gently fold in the cranberries.

  6. Pour the filling into the crust and level with a spatula.

  7. Place the pie on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake it for 40 to 45 minutes, until the filling is puffed and set, and the crust is golden brown.

  8. Remove the chocolate chess pie from the oven and cool to lukewarm, at least 30 minutes.

  9. Serve slices of chocolate chess pie warm or at room temperature, with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, if desired.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Where does the name "chess" come from? Some food historians say it's a takeoff on "cheese," as in English cheese pies, as in American cheesecake — whose filling is of a consistency similar to chess pie. Others say chess refers to the chest in which pies used to be kept; due to the high degree of sugar, chess pies didn't need to be refrigerated (though in these days of heightened awareness of food safety, we do recommend refrigeration). One final theory holds that chess refers to the simplicity of the pie itself. "What kind of pie is that?" "Jes' pie." Chess pie.