Chocolate Icebox Pie

Chocolate Icebox Pie on The History Kitchen #vintage #recipe

I’m republishing this vintage pie recipe for Throwback Thursday #tbt with pretty new pictures from our new photography contributor Kelly Jaggers!

This Chocolate Icebox Pie comes from a cookbook called Recipes from Old Virginia. Published in 1958, the book contains hundreds of old fashioned gems of Southern cooking. The book was compiled by “The Virginia Federation of Home Demonstration Clubs.” According to the cover, it contains:

Recipes of two centuries collected from the kitchens of the Old Dominion, together with the latest recipes used by the foremost cooks. Tested and approved.

I love old cookbooks and cooking magazines; on weekends, I scour antique stores and flea markets looking for books that pique my interest. I’ve gathered quite a collection… some of my volumes date back to the early 1900’s. I can’t tell you why I choose certain books over others. Sometimes I pick based on the title, or the subject matter. Other times it’s the feeling I get holding the book in my hand—the smell of the old pages, the smudge of frosting the previous owner left as they cooked. I have a particular fondness for old community cookbooks published by church groups, junior leagues, and civic groups. I actually read through them for fun, like novels. They make me feel connected to the people who wrote them– the families and housewives and volunteers who compiled them. But the best part is recreating the recipes. Sometimes they are a disaster, but more often than not I end up with a delightful dish that is also a slice of the past… like today’s recipe, Chocolate Icebox Pie.

Chocolate Icebox Pie on The History Kitchen #vintage #recipe

Here is the original recipe as written. The directions of this recipe were a bit sparse, and there was no crust or whipped cream recipe included, so I had to clarify things a bit.


2/3 cup sugar
Dash of salt
5 tablespoons flour
1 ¾ squares unsweetened chocolate (melted)
1 large can evaporated milk (or ½ cup cream)
1 cup water
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 cups miniature marshmallows
¼ cup butter
1 unbaked 9-inch graham cracker crust
2 tablespoons chopped pecans
Sweetened whipped cream

Combine sugar, salt, and flour. Add the melted chocolate and ¼ cup of the milk. Add the remaining milk, water, and egg yolks. Cook over low heat until thickened. Remove from heat and add marshmallows and butter. Blend well. When cool, pour into graham cracker crust, garnish with sweetened whipped cream sprinkled with chopped nuts and grated chocolate if desired. –Mrs. Elwood Harris, Sussex County.

I chose the cream topping option because I had some heavy whipping cream in the fridge.

For the graham cracker crust, I chose a recipe from another cookbook published the same year, Good Housekeeping’s Party Pie Book (1958). It’s a baked crust, as opposed to the unbaked crust the Chocolate Icebox Pudding calls for. In my experience with custard pies, baked crumb crusts tend to hold up better and be less soggy than unbaked. Here’s the recipe I used:

Graham-Cracker Crust

Use 1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 16 crackers), ¼ cup of butter or margarine, ¼ cup granulated sugar. Let butter or margarine soften. In 2-cup measuring cup, mix 1 1/3 cup crumbs, sugar (if any) and butter with fork until crumbly. Set aside 3 tablespo. With back of spoon, press rest to bottom and sides of 9” pie plate, forming small rim. Bake at 375 degrees F. 8 min. Cool; fill as desired; top with reserved crumbs.

I followed the crust recipe closely, but found it a bit dry, so I added another tablespoon of butter and this made it the right consistency. I used the entire amount for the crust (rather than sprinkling some on top), but my pie dish is likely deeper than a 1950’s pie plate. The crust baked up beautifully, and really complimented the Chocolate Icebox Pie. Delicious!

For the whipped cream, I used a simple mixture of heavy whipping cream and sugar. Simple and scrumptious. As Julia Child said, “If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.”

According to the cookbook, this recipe was contributed by Mrs. Elwood Harris of Sussex County, Virginia. What a neat pie! So tasty, and relatively simple to make. The Recipes from Old Virginia cookbook is 53 years old, so most of the contributors would be over 70 years old today. I wish I knew if Mrs. Harris was still with us so I could thank her for this awesome recipe.

Food Photography and Styling by Kelly Jaggers

Chocolate Icebox Pie on The History Kitchen #vintage #recipe

Chocolate Icebox Pie

Crust Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Filling Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar, divided
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp flour
  • 1 3/4 squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk or ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups small marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Semisweet chocolate for grating
  • 2 tbsp chopped pecans

You will also need

  • small and medium mixing bowls, 9 inch pie plate or dish, small saucepan, whisk, pie plate, electric mixer, spatula, grater
Prep Time: 8 Hours
Total Time: 8 Hours
Servings: One 9 inch pie (8-10 slices)

Make Crust

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a small mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar. Stir to blend ingredients until all crumbs are evenly moistened by the butter.
  • Chocolate Icebox Pie on The History Kitchen #vintage #recipePat the graham cracker mixture evenly into a pie plate or dish using the back of a spoon, covering the bottom and sides of the dish completely to form a crust.
  • Chocolate Icebox Pie on The History Kitchen #vintage #recipeBake the crust for 8 minutes in the oven till crust hardens. Cool before filling.
  • Chocolate Icebox Pie on The History Kitchen #vintage #recipe

Make Filling

  • Combine 2/3 cup of sugar, salt, and flour in a small saucepan. Melt chocolate squares (the easiest way is to melt it in a small dish in the microwave), then add the melted chocolate to the dry mixture along with the evaporated milk or cream. Whisk together to blend ingredients.
  • Chocolate Icebox Pie on The History Kitchen #vintage #recipeAdd 1 cup of water and beaten egg yolks, whisk again. Turn heat to medium low and continue to whisk for 10-15 minutes. The mixture will heat slowly and take on a thicker consistency and become a custard. Don’t leave the pan alone for very long or the custard will burn/congeal to the bottom of the pan. Continue whisking until the custard thickens and begins to stick to the whisk in small lumps. Remove from heat.
  • Chocolate Icebox Pie on The History Kitchen #vintage #recipeMelt in the butter, then whisk in the marshmallows, which will melt into the custard. Let mixture return to room temperature.
  • Fill cooled graham cracker crust with the custard.
  • Chocolate Icebox Pie on The History Kitchen #vintage #recipePlace pie uncovered in the refrigerator and chill for at least 6 hours till set (preferably overnight).
  • At least 1 ½ hours before serving, combine 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and 2 tbsp sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Whip on medium high for a few minutes until the cream is light and fluffy.
  • Chocolate Icebox Pie on The History Kitchen #vintage #recipeSpread the freshly whipped cream on top of the pie with a spatula. If you have more time and want a more elegant presentation, you can pipe the cream across the top of the pie with a star tip.
  • Grate semisweet chocolate into 2-3 tbsp of chocolate shavings.
  • Chocolate Icebox Pie on The History Kitchen #vintage #recipeSprinkle the chocolate shavings onto the top of the pie, along with 2 tbsp chopped pecans.
  • Chocolate Icebox Pie on The History Kitchen #vintage #recipeChill for at least 1 hour longer before serving.
  • Note: This recipe was tested with both regular marshmallows and kosher marshmallows. The regular marshmallows melted into the chocolate filling, whereas the kosher marshmallows only partially melted, giving the filling a "rocky road" effect. Both results were delicious, so feel free to use kosher marshmallows if you prefer.
  • Chocolate Icebox Pie on The History Kitchen #vintage #recipe

About Tori Avey

Tori Avey acts as editor and curator of The History Kitchen, where she shares her own food history writing and seeks out creative contributors from throughout the culinary world. Tori also writes an award-winning kosher food blog, The Shiksa in the Kitchen. She explores the story behind the food – why we eat what we eat, how the foods of different cultures have evolved, and how yesterday’s food can inspire us in the kitchen today. Read more...
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Category: Baked Goods, Desserts, Kosher - Dairy, Recipes, Slide Show, Vegetarian, Vintage Recipes

Comments (108)Post a Comment

  1. Shalvia says:

    My husband talks about a chocolate pie his grandmother used to make. I have tried several “new” recipes trying to make it for him. Will have to try this one and see how it compares to his memory.

    Thank you!

  2. thereca says:

    see I would have taken that to mean to mix until the marshmallows had melted as well… glad you showed your pics…

    • Tori Avey says:

      Hi Thereca, the instructions are somewhat vague on that point. I decided not to melt them in, because in the original recipe the custard is removed from heat before the marshmallows are added. I took this to mean that they should remain intact. Of course, all vintage recipes like this are subject to interpretation. :)

  3. Kim Beaulieu says:

    Great job Tori. I love old cookbooks too. I wish I had known you when we cleaned out my Dad`s house. We donated a bunch of great old ones to the local libraries. I missed pie day, weird day today.

    • Tori Avey says:

      Aww, man! Well, it was nice of you to donate them to the library, and I’m sure many people will enjoy them. I’m running out of room on my bookshelves anyway… my office is starting to look like that library in Beauty and the Beast with books from floor to ceiling!

  4. Pingback: In the Name of Pie | Family Kitchen

  5. Oh wow this Chocolate Icebox Pie looks delicious- I know what you mean there is something unique and exciting about “historic” cookbooks :)

  6. I just discovered your blog thanks to the Pie Party and love it! I too love, love, love old cookbooks and cookware — anything that combines history and food. I loved your history of pie, too. Thanks, and I’ll definitely be following!

  7. Kelly says:

    This looks fantastic!! Love the old cookbooks too, how great :)

  8. I love vintage recipes and this is an oldie but a goodie-I have save it to make for guests in the future. Thanks for sharing! Buzz

  9. Ann says:

    I collect vintage cookbooks, too! May I recommend Mary Margaret McBrides cooking encyclopedia? It’s like the 1950′s American version of Larousse Gastronome….(I’m sure I misspelled that, but I’m sure you get it!). I’m planning to do an entire week of her recipes!

    • Tori Avey says:

      I will keep an eye out for that one, Ann! I’ve got a trip planned to an antique cookbook shop in a couple of weeks, maybe they’ll have a copy…

  10. This pie looks wonderful! Great interpretation of an old cookbook recipe:-)

  11. Juju says:

    Oh my, Tori! This pie looks amazing! I need to go and search for some historic cookbooks out there!! =]

  12. Parsley Sage says:

    Totally a neat pie! And perfect for the 4th since its an American classic :) Well done!

  13. Kelly says:

    What a great looking icebox pie – ideal summertime fun! Your step by step illustrations are super. (Love the cookbook!)

  14. Alice Kintisch says:

    love this pie idea but I do not like marshmallows at all, no way, no how. Kosher or not kosher (altho I’d only use kosher ones). So can I really make this pie without them? Should I substitute something else?
    I LOVE your blog. The pictures are fabulous and the directions clear.
    Alice K.

    • Tori Avey says:

      Hi Alice! I haven’t tried it without the marshmallows, but you should be fine leaving them out. To be safe, you may want to add another egg to the mixture (2 yolks + 1 full egg)– this will add structure to the custard and help it firm up in the fridge. I actually think the pie will taste even better without the marshmallows! Let me know how it turns out for you. :)

  15. Kristy says:

    I love these old cookbooks! I have a stack of rather old ones from my Great Grandma that I’ve been going through and just bought one with regional recipes from around the U.S. I think it’s from the 40′s or 50′s if I recall. It’s so much fun to look through these – especially if they have hand-written commentary. My kids would devour your pie in about 10 minutes (or less). It looks very similar to a southern mud pie recipe. :)

  16. littlebadwolf says:

    i’m not a big marshmallow fan either. there are several recipes around for ‘nesselrode pie’ which is similar but has candied fruit with the chocolate. we always loved it, but it was very ’50s.

  17. Gosh, I love these vintage cooking books. And somehow they remind me of “Bewitched” (I really don’t know why :).
    The chocolate pie looks delicious.

  18. Charles says:

    Love this pie!
    The pictures are great — Who’s you photographer??

  19. Wow! You have one good looking dessert! Love the cook books.

  20. Oh I love old cookbooks, how fun is this recipe?? Your pie looks amazing, thanks for sharing!

  21. Tiffany says:

    Oh my goodness! This looks amazing!

  22. Ina says:

    I still have cook books put together by Shul Ladies and they are wonderful. The recipes are not particularly healthy but it is fun just to “window shop” throught the pages. Keep up the wonderful work.

  23. Kita says:

    My boyfriends mom has a family ice box cake recipe that she isn’t ready to share with me quite yet. I should make this to impress her ;)

  24. Michelle says:

    This looks fantastic! Exactly what I have been craving. I will be making this soon. And I love that it’s a historical recipe with a past.

  25. Liz says:

    What a fabulous, timeless recipe! My family would be thrilled with this gorgeous pie~

  26. Kathryn says:

    This pie was so good. Keeping the recipe on hand for summer when it gets hot.

  27. My blood sugar went up 40 points from just looking at this thing. Om nom nom. Srsly.

  28. Susan Floyd says:

    THE BEST THE BEST THE VERY BEST. Thank you, Tori! How did I miss this post?!

  29. I dislike graham crackers, so I use vanilla wafers, or a sugar or butter cookie.

  30. looks divine and I bet it tastes great !

  31. Dee Tribbett says:

    I live in Old Virginia and grew up eating these. My Nana made a great one !!

  32. Geez Louise! says:

    I want to eat that… all of it!

  33. Phil Trupp says:

    Dear Shiksa, something similar was popular among the Eastern European immigrants with whom I grew up. As you say, “delish!”

  34. been a while since I made one too!

  35. Lori Duo says:

    My Mom used to make this…it was awesome!

  36. Natasha N says:

    Let us know when u go retail!!

  37. Tammy Heil says:

    My grandmother used to make these. Thank you so much for the sweet reminder, and recipe.

  38. oh you are tempting me to make this now, but i have to resist. will be glad to share your page

  39. Loved this pie…no nasty Cool Whip in those days.

  40. Can´t wait to try to make this for my family. :)

  41. Laura Forman says:

    My mother called this “mandel bread with liver” — but I think she was just trying to fool us. Lol.

  42. jad says:

    What got me was the name of the recipe, not the recipe per se.
    I recall many *ice box* desserts my mother made in the 1950′s – and this was waaay after most people moved on to electric, or gas (Yes!) refrigerators. I didn’t research this – but I’m guessing the demise of the ice box was in the 1930s.

    In the late 30′s or early 40s my grandmother had a Servel Gas Refrigerator that I recall. And, Yes!, there’s a website for those – and there are collectors as well!

    Interesting, the memories a vintage recipe brings up.

  43. Marilyn Katz says:

    Looks great; but, i don´t bother much with dairy pies

  44. Kezz18 says:

    This sounds so delicious….as we don’t have Graham crackers here what could be substituted?? Thanks for the post

    • Tori Avey says:

      Good question Kezz… I see from your email that you’re in Australia? If that’s the case, I think digestive biscuits would make a good substitute. Not exactly sure what else is available in your part of the world. Vanilla Wafers will work well too (the round ones from Nabisco– not the square wafers), or crushed Oreo cookies (the cookies themselves, not the cream). Good luck!

  45. I made Granny Smith/Cranberry pie!

  46. Yum… I wish we were neighbors

  47. Cindy Herst says:

    My grandmother used to make an Icebox Cake with Lady Fingers and chocolate and cream. It was my favorite dessert that she made.

  48. oh thank you, I will pretend eat it and hope for no calories to add to my hips!

  49. Who cares looks yum xx

  50. Tamar Yellin says:

    great, now I want pie #pregnantlady

  51. Oh my I’d walk a mile on crutches go a slice of chocolate silk pie! *v*

  52. Lama Syada says:

    We LOVE this recipe!! My kids and I have made it several times since we first saw it posted last time. It’s our current favorite!

  53. why do you torture us with these pics of chocolate pie.

  54. My favorite, I’m stealing!

  55. Hi tori that pie looks great! Do you have a recipe for Italian Ricotta pie? Wanna make it w lowfat ricotta& eggland best eggs. I dont know what goes in it? Think candied orange peel ?

  56. I wished I was in Maine celebrating the pie event.

  57. Don’t post things like this!
    I just gained two pounds looking at it!

  58. i love pie. every day is pie day. lol.

  59. My dad would have really liked this!

  60. My favorite…. hurts just looking at it.

  61. reminds me of a pie made by Deb Nam-Krane *sighs*

  62. Ruth Kemmitz says:

    Love chocolate pie!!!!

  63. oh my goodness! get that away from me right now!!

  64. Naomi Newman says:

    Any suggestions for how to make it parve? Would the texture hold up with almond milk instead of regular milk?

    • Tori Avey says:

      Hi Naomi, I have not tried to make this pie dairy-free, however I don’t think almond milk would be thick enough to sub for whipping cream or evaporated milk. If you’re going to try it, a thicker coffee creamer-type product (maybe So Delicious Coconut Creamer?) might be a better bet… I can’t promise it will turn out, but it’s worth a shot!

  65. Ellin Kirk says:

    if u put peanut butter in there2,it’s even better,imho.

  66. love that kind of pie!

  67. I just made key lime pie tonight.

  68. Rita Davis says:

    You cannot believe I was craving a piece of chocolate pie just like this!! A decease very good friend of mine use to make this and I wanted some so bad! And here it is!! Thank you for shearing this wonderful recipe!!! Sharing myself! ♥

  69. Jean Louchet says:

    more chocolate, more cream and… more chocolate, please!

  70. My mother used to make something called “icebox cake” which was made out of chocolate Melody Wafers and whipped cream. The wafers were positioned on their edges and whipped cream was added in between each cookie until it formed almost a log. Then whipped cream was applied to the outside and it was placed in the fridge for several hours until the whipped cream softened up the wafers. It was a real 50s dessert. I loved it when I was a kid.

  71. Love it and pie is great any day of the week.

  72. Susan Rose says:

    Pie is so awesome, if pie was a guy, I’d marry him! ;-)

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