A black bottom pie has a dark chocolate bottom and a creamy custard-like top that is dreamy and light.  In many versions, the chocolate layer is very dark but thin.  In this version, the chocolate and vanilla are in about equal proportions.  Often, they are laced with rum.  We give you the option of using either vanilla or butter rum flavor.

We give you a recipe for a chocolate crust using a pie dough crust mix.  You may use this recipe or make a crumb crust of chocolate cookie crumbs or make a gingersnap crumb crust.

For the chocolate crust: 

1 1/2 cups add water only pie crust mix
3 tablespoons rich, dark cocoa—Ramstadt Breda or equal
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water

For the chocolate filling:

1/2 cup rich, dark cocoa—Ramstadt Breda or equal
4 large eggs
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or butter rum flavor
1/2 cup butter, melted

For the topping:

3 large egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar, separated
1/2 tablespoon corn starch
2/3 cup milk
1 packet unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoon cold water
3 large egg whites
1 teaspoon butter rum flavor

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

For the crust:

  1. In a medium bowl, mix the pie crust mix, cocoa, and sugar together with a fork.  Some white lumps will remain. Add the water and continue mixing.  Pour the mixture onto a counter.
  2. Knead the mixture on the counter into a uniform ball.  White streaks will remain—most will disappear as you roll out the dough.
  3. Roll the dough into a circle ten to eleven inches in diameter, enough to form the pie crust.  Transfer the rolled dough to a nonstick, nine-inch pie pan—not deep dish.  Trim and form the crust including a decorative edge that will act as a dam to hold in spills.  Set aside.

For the filling:

  1. With the paddle attachment and your stand-type mixer, mix the cocoa, eggs, corn syrup, sugar, flour, and extract together.  Drizzle in the warm butter while the mixer is running.  Continue mixing until it is smooth and uniform but do not over mix.
  2. Scrape the filling into prepared pie shell. Place a pie crust shield over the edges of the pie and place the pie in the oven.
  3. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top looks dry and the pie is mostly set when you giggle it.  An insta-read thermometer should register 150 degrees when inserted in the center. Cool completely.

For the topping:

  1. Place the egg yolks in a medium saucepan.  Add 1/3 cup sugar, the cornstarch, and the milk.  Whisk to combine.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the mixture boils and thickens.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the flavor.  Set this custard mixture aside.
  3. In a small bowl, mix one packet of unflavored gelatin with three tablespoons of cold water.  Stir until the granules are dissolved.  Stir the gelatin mixture into the warm custard mixture.  Place the custard mixture in the refrigerator to cool.
  4. Make a meringue by beating the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Drizzle in the remaining 1/3 cup sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the partially chilled custard.
  5. Spoon the topping over the chocolate pie and chill, uncovered, until set or overnight.
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