Black bottom pie can be found all over America at bakeries and ice cream shops across the country.
The name comes from its chocolate-covered layer on top of a custardy filling.
What Is Black Bottom Pie?
The black bottom pie was originally created in New Orleans, Louisiana.
It’s believed that the first recipes were written down by French Acadian settlers who came to Louisiana after fleeing persecution in Canada.
Black bottom pies are now served throughout the United States and even internationally.
You may have heard of black bottom cake or black bottom cookies, but there is no such thing as a “black bottom cookie!”
These desserts are actually different types of pie.
Black bottom pie is very similar to both key lime pie and banana split pie.
However, it differs slightly by having an additional layer of thickened custard instead of whipped cream, which makes it more like a traditional cheesecake than either one of those other two desserts.
Where Did The Recipe For Black Bottom Pie Come From?
The origins of black bottom pie are uncertain.
Some claim it was invented in Kentucky by an African American named James Black.
Others say he’s not even real.
Whatever his true identity may be, Black’s story goes like this: He worked as a cook in Louisville during the Civil War era, and one day someone asked him to bake a cake using only flour, egg whites, and water.
Then they wanted another cake, but instead of just adding more ingredients, Black started mixing them together himself.
After some time had passed, he realized what he had created was a new type of cake.
It wasn’t until later that he added a few other things into the mix, making it a new kind of pie.
It’s believed that the first mention of Black’s creation appeared in 1876 when a Cincinnati newspaper reported that “a certain negro” baked some pies.
A year later, the same paper wrote about how Black opened a bakery in New York City called P.
J.Black & Son.
Over the next several decades, other mentions of Black’s work began appearing regularly in newspapers and magazines.
In the 1930s, a woman who lived near Philadelphia claimed she was Black’s daughter.
She went on to write her own book claiming that Black had been born in North Carolina before moving to Philadelphia sometime around 1866 or 1870.
In the 1940s, a man named Eugene Johnson said he knew Black personally, and he also mentioned having seen Black’s grave marker in a cemetery outside of Pittsburgh.
Another account came from a former slave living in Kentucky, who remembered hearing stories of Black from his mother.
Still others have pointed out discrepancies between the descriptions of Black’s life in these accounts and those written by historians.
But no matter where Black came from, many people agree that he’s responsible for creating the black bottom pie we know today.
Today, most recipes call for a chocolate crumb topping that covers a creamy custard.
Chocolate is also used in the crust itself, but there are variations depending on which part of the United States you live in.
For example, black bottom pie recipes are common throughout the South, while they aren’t nearly as popular elsewhere in the country.
How Do You Make Black Bottom Pie?
You’ll need to start by making your own brownie mix.
You may also want to add in some cocoa powder or instant espresso coffee granules as well.
Once the brownies are baked, let them cool completely before cutting into bite-sized pieces.
Next, combine 1 cup heavy cream, 2 cups whole milk, 3 large egg yolks, ¾ cup sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract in a saucepan.
Bring it up to medium heat while whisking constantly until bubbles form around the edges.
Continue cooking this mixture for about 5 minutes more.
Remove it from the stovetop and pour it into a bowl set inside an ice bath (a basin filled with cold water).
Let the mixture cool down completely.
Once cooled, transfer the mixture back into the pan and stir in 1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder.
Place the pan back onto the stove, but turn off the burner.
Whisk vigorously to incorporate everything and then continue stirring until the mixture thickens slightly.
Pour the mixture through a mesh strainer and discard any bits left in the strainer.
What Is The History Of Black Bottom Pie?
The first known mention of black bottom pie was in 1867 when an Ohio newspaper reported it as “a new confectionery which is considered very popular” by those who tried it.
It wasn’t until 1901 that the Cincinnati Enquirer gave this delightful cake its own name, but it didn’t actually become a mainstream favorite until 1912 when it appeared in a cookbook called Modern Cookery Book.
Black Bottom Pie was also mentioned in the New York Times in 1915.
In 1925, a chef named Joe Dabney decided to put his talents to use by creating his own version of black bottom pie, using a meringue topping instead of a chocolate one.
He later went on to create other desserts including banana pudding, coconut macaroons, and even peanut butter cookies.
In the 1930s, Dabney opened up his own restaurant where he served these delectable treats along with some of his signature cocktails.
By the 1950s, Dabney’s creations were being sold nationwide thanks to the demand for them.
At the same time, the popularity of black bottom pies soared throughout the United States and they became a staple at church bake sales and community events.
Who Created The Black Bottom Pie Recipe?
The black bottom pie was first introduced to the public by James Bailey Jr., who opened his bakery in New York City in 1847.
He began selling his pies after he returned home from serving as an apprentice pastry chef for Thomas Jefferson’s daughter Maria, who lived in Paris during her time studying French cuisine.
Bailey’s shop became famous for its chocolate-covered desserts like this black bottom pie, which were so popular they brought him great success.
His business thrived until it closed in 1901 due to increasing competition from other bakeries in Manhattan.
In 1907, Bailey sold his recipes to another bakery, and the original black bottom pie recipe disappeared.
In 1920, the owner of the second bakery purchased the original recipe and continued making black bottom pie under the same name.
Over the next few years, this bakery also served several different versions of the cake before eventually discontinuing them altogether.
Today, there are many variations of the black bottom pie recipe out there, including ones made with coconut or peanut butter, but the basic recipe remains unchanged, and you will find it everywhere from grocery stores to restaurants.
It may have been lost for decades, but now we know where it came from!
What Are The Ingredients In Black Bottom Pie?
The basic ingredients in a black bottom pie include:
- Chocolate cookies or brownie mix (or your favorite store-bought cookie)
- Cream cheese
- Vanilla extract
Other toppings you can add to black bottom pie
You could also put cinnamon on top of your black bottom pie if you want to add some spice!
You can also sprinkle powdered sugar on top if you like a bit more sweetness.
How Long Does It Take To Make Black Bottom Pie?
The average amount of time it takes to make this delicious treat depends on how much you want to spend on ingredients.
If you’re looking for something quick, you should consider ordering or making your own pastry dough instead of buying it premade.
You could also purchase ready-made pie shell if you prefer not to do any work yourself.
If you’d rather save some money by baking your own pie shell, here’s what you need to know about how long it will take to bake one.
It may seem like a lot of steps, but once you get into the rhythm of things, it won’t feel as complicated as it looks.
- 6 cups flour (1 1/4 pound)
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 7 tablespoons butter (cold)
- 5 2/3 cups cold water
- Parchment paper
- Pie weights or dried beans
- Baking pan lined with parchment paper
First, preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt using a whisk.
Cut the butter into small pieces and add them to the dry mixture while stirring until everything forms crumbs.
Make sure there aren’t any lumps left behind.
Next, slowly pour the water onto the crumbly dough while mixing constantly to avoid clumping up the dough.
Once the dough reaches a shaggy consistency, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead it gently for 10 minutes.
Divide the dough into two equal parts so each piece roughly measures 3 inches wide.
Roll out one half of the dough between sheets of parchment paper and place it in an 8-inch round cake tin.
Repeat with the other half of the dough.
Press both halves firmly against the sides and bottom of the tin so they form a solid barrier around the edges.
Use a sharp knife to cut off excess dough from the edge every few inches.
Move the cake tin inside the preheated oven and let the pie shells heat for 15 minutes.
Remove the tin and press down the center of the dough to create a flat spot.
Put back in the oven for another 5 to 7 minutes before removing again and placing on a rack to cool completely.
Now that the dough is done, you’ll have enough to fill eight 6-ounce ramekins.
What Is The Best Way To Serve Black Bottom Pie?
The most common way to eat this delicious treat is by slicing into wedges and serving them up alongside some whipped cream or sweetened condensed milk.
Black bottom pie also makes an excellent breakfast dish.
You’ll find many restaurants offer a version of this cake as part of their brunch menu.
However, there are plenty of ways you can enjoy your own slice of black bottom pie, too.
For instance, you could bake individual cakes in muffin tins and then cut each one open to reveal a creamy center.
Or you could place a few slices onto a plate and cover them with whipped cream before sprinkling confectioners’ sugar on top.
How Should Black Bottom Pie Be Stored?
The key to keeping this treat fresh is to keep it covered in plastic wrap or aluminum foil so that you don’t have to worry about cross contamination.
You also want to make sure that your black bottom pie doesn’t get wet because moisture will cause mold growth.
When storing black bottom pies, they need to stay out of direct sunlight as well.
If you decide to put your black bottom pie in the refrigerator, let it cool completely before putting it back into the freezer.
It’s important not to freeze black bottom pie right away because when frozen, the custard inside may separate from the crust.
You can buy ready-made black bottom pies but there are many other ways to create a homemade version of this classic dish.
What Are Some Common Variations Of Black Bottom Pie?
The original black bottom pie was first created in New Orleans by French Creole bakers who added a dark chocolate glaze to their already rich custard pies.
Today, there are many different versions of this classic American treat.
Some restaurants serve it as an appetizer or entree while others offer it as part of a meal.
Many people like serving it warm out of the oven, but you can also order it cold if desired.
It’s typically served with whipped cream and sometimes sprinkled with powdered sugar.
You may even find other toppings such as fresh fruit, nuts, marshmallows, or caramelized bananas.
There are several variations of this popular sweet treat including chocolate pecan pie, banana pudding pie, pumpkin pie, key lime pie, coconut cream pie, and red velvet cake pie.
If you want a simple variation of black bottom pie, try making your own homemade version using one of these recipes below!
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie Recipe
- Banana Pudding Pie Recipe
- Pumpkin Pie Recipe (Crust)
- Key Lime Pie Recipe (Crust)
- Molasses Cookie Crumble Pie Recipe
- Red Velvet Cake Pie Recipe
- 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
- In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter, sugar, and salt to make the crust. The bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate should be pressed. Refrigerate for around 30 minutes, or until firm. turn the oven on to 350 degrees. About 12 minutes into baking, the crust should be firm and starting to become golden. Allow to fully cool on a wire rack.
- Creating the filling In a medium saucepan, sift together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk milk in gradually. Cook while stirring continuously until nearly boiling over medium-high heat. Add chocolate to the medium-low heat setting. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring regularly, until chocolate has melted and the sauce is thick. With the heat off, whisk in the vanilla and butter until smooth. Cover crust with chocolate mixture.
- Creating the topping Make an ice bath and set it away. 2 teaspoons of cold water in a small bowl with gelatin on top. Allow to stand for three minutes or until soft. In a medium saucepan, combine the cornstarch, salt, and 1/4 cup sugar. Whisk in the milk gradually. Stirring continually, cook for about 5 minutes over medium-high heat, until the mixture is thick and boiling. With the heat off, whisk in the gelatin mixture and allow it to cool fully. Rum and vanilla are combined. If necessary, briefly submerge pan in ice water to thicken. Don’t let it entirely dry out. Place aside.
- Egg whites should be placed in the whisk attachment-equipped bowl of an electric mixer.Beat at a moderately slow pace until gentle peaks appear. Slow down the pace and keep beating while making syrup.
- Stirring to ensure that the sugar is dissolved, bring the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons water to a boil in a saucepan. To stop crystals from forming, use a wet pastry brush to wipe over the pan’s sides. Cook without stirring until a candy thermometer reads 240 degrees for the syrup.
- Increase the mixer’s speed to high and beat the egg whites just long enough for firm peaks to develop. Pour syrup into egg whites right away in a slow, steady stream close to the side of the bowl, avoiding the whisk. For roughly 7 minutes, beat until glossy and cooled.
- In three batches, gently fold the meringue mixture into the reserved gelatin mixture. Into the chocolate-filled crust, mound the mixture. Pie should be chilled for up to overnight before serving.