Side Dish: Reader offers ‘dead ringer’ recipe for Toddle House chocolate pie

As fans of Smiley Anders’ column know, some of his readers have been waxing nostalgic about Toddle House eateries and especially their chocolate pie. Rhetta Sellers last week sent him a recipe for what she says is “a dead ringer for the Toddle House chocolate pie.”

Sellers got the recipe from Mary Alice Carpenter who served the pie to her bridge group. “She has worked on modifying the recipe over several years, with her husband, Ken, as the official taste-tester. I know you’re not Heloise,” Sellers told Anders, “but I think your Toddle House fans will enjoy this.”

Since Smiley doesn’t run recipes in his column, he passed it along to me. Let us know if the pie is, indeed, a “dead ringer.”

And, while we’re on the subject of pies, the recipe for Millie’s 4-Layer Delight — a variation of Mississippi mud pie — in my Jan. 16 column left out the 11/2 cups of flour needed for the crust. Please see the corrected recipe on Page 3D.

Toddle House Chocolate Pie

Makes 1 (9-inch) pie. Recipe by Mary Alice Carpenter is provided by Rhetta Sellers.

1 baked 9-inch pie shell

1 cup sugar

41/2 tbls. cocoa

3 tbls. cornstarch

1/4 tsp. salt

2 cups whole milk

3 egg yolks, slightly beaten

31/2 tbls. butter

11/2 tsps. vanilla

1 cup heavy whipping cream


1. Put sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt in a heavy 4-quart pot. Slowly whisk in milk, cook on medium-high heat to a low boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. Stir 3 tablespoons of chocolate mixture into a bowl of egg yolks, then add egg yolk mixture back into rest of chocolate mixture, continue to stir, put back on burner and cook 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Pour into baked pie shell, cover with waxed paper to seal. Chill.

3. Remove paper and top with 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped with a little sugar. Refrigerate until served.

Note: Rhetta Sellers says if she knows the pie will be held for at least two days, she tops it with a stabilized whipped cream. Food columnist Corinne Cook has written about stablizing whipped cream. She uses 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin, 4 teaspoons cold water, 1 cup whipping cream, 1/4 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. She says to combine gelatin and cold water in small saucepan. Let stand until thick. Place over low heat, stirring constantly until gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Whip cream, sugar and vanilla until slightly thickened. While beating slowly, gradually add gelatin to whipped cream. Whip at high speed until stiff. Yields 2 cups, which must be refrigerated.

Millie’s 4-Layer Delight

Serves 12. Recipe is from Millie Bonacorso.

11/2 cups flour

11/2 sticks margarine (I use Imperial.)

1 cup chopped roasted pecans

Water as needed

8 ozs. cream cheese

2 cups powdered sugar, divided

2 (8-oz.) containers of Cool Whip

1 large box and 1 small box of chocolate instant pudding mix

3 cups milk

Chocolate curls made from a Hershey’s milk chocolate bar

Chopped cherries, for garnish

Chopped roasted pecans, for garnish

1. Make dessert in an 8-inch-by-12-inch glass baking casserole dish. For the crust, mix flour, margarine and 1 cup chopped pecans. Sprinkle with water as needed for proper consistency. Press mixture into a crust. (I put on gloves and press the dough down hard in the dish.) Bake crust 15 minutes at 325 degrees or until light brown. Cool.

2. For the second layer, mix cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar and 1 container of Cool Whip. Spread on the cooled crust and refrigerate.

3. For the third layer, mix both boxes of instant pudding mix with 3 cups of milk and beat for 5 minutes. Pour over second layer and return to refrigerator.

4. Mix remaining cup of powdered sugar with remaining container of Cool Whip and spread over third layer. Use a potato peeler to make chocolate curls with the Hershey’s bar. Top dessert with chopped cherries and sprinkle with chopped roasted pecans. Chill for 4 hours before serving.