Spiced Cocoa Buttermilk Pie

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Let me tell you a tale – a tale of four five six pies.

My family’s Thanksgiving philosophy is that you can never have too many pies. We often have 3 or 4 types of pie, which is a lot when you realize that we only have about 12 people. Last Thanksgiving, I decided to make a recipe for a spice pie I found in one of my cookbooks. The flavor was good, but the pie was too sweet and didn’t set. That was pie 1. Undaunted and not a little crazy, I remade the recipe with the rest of the pie dough I had stuck in the freezer. I upped the eggs which helped the set and replaced the milk with buttermilk. The result was a dream – a layered pie with a crust on top of an almost translucent custard, all deeply flavored with spices. I thought it was a hit. That was pie 2. (my family preferred the chocolate pie I made, which we will call pie number 3.)

Fast forward to this year, when I decided to share pie 2 with you, my lovely and deserving readers. I checked my favorite dessert cookbook, and made the buttermilk pie contained therein. It was pale, tangy with a hint of lemon. Good, but not the pie I remembered. That was pie number 4.

I looked in my journal, where I had helpfully noted not only the pie recipe I used, But also the modifications I made (like adding buttermilk.). “AHa!” I thought. And made that one. What I got was a firm, custard like pie, not unlike a good pumpkin pie. It was good, but I wanted that layered effect. This was not what I remembered. That was pie number five.

Undaunted, and still crazy, I scouted my cookbook collection and the Internet, trying to find out how to recreate that layered, gooey pie filling of my dreams. Finally, I went back to that chocolate pie recipe (pie number 3), tinkered with the proportions, changed the flavoring (though I kept in a spoonful of cocoa out of deference to the Nuni, who insisted on a chocolate spice pie) and placed it in the oven with baited breath. That was pie number six.

And that is the pie I am sharing with you today. With a crisp, almost shattery crust covering a gooey filling, the richness of spices, the tang of buttermilk and the merest hint of chocolate (the Nuni, it turns out, has good instincts) this is a pie worthy of sharing. A pie worthy of your Thanksgiving table. Even if you don’t have 1/2 a pie (or six) per person.

Spiced Cocoa Buttermilk Pie

5.0 from 1 reviews
Spiced Cocoa Buttermilk Pie
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Adapted from Food and Wine but heavily
  • 1 pie crust (lazy person tips on a fluted pie crust: make it in a fluted tart pan)
  • 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prick the pie crust with a fork and blind bake for 10 minutes, or until just starting to color.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Add the butter, flour, cocoa, spices, and buttermilk and stir until combined.
  3. Pour into the prepared pie crust and bake at 350 for 25 minutes. The pie should still have a but of wobble, but will set as it cools.




  1. sara November 16, 2012
  2. Ava January 26, 2014
    • Kate January 27, 2014
      • Ava January 27, 2014
  3. Annette Campbell May 26, 2014
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