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I’ve introduced you to Keith’s parents before, but I’ve never told you about his grandmother, Maxine. I first met her the year that Keith and I started dating, more than twenty-five years ago. When I think of her, I still see the way she always greeted me: her face would light up in a big smile and she’d say, “hiii…,” the word stretched out in her sweet southern drawl.

Chocolate-Rum-Pie-Slice-Served on black plate square

She and her husband raised two sons, Edwin and Bob, in Memphis, Tennessee. Both sons settled in the west, one in Oregon, the other in California. As a young woman Maxine worked as a teacher’s aid, but after the untimely death of her husband, she decided to become a teacher herself.


Until her late eighties, she lived alone in her Memphis home where she was active in her church and sewing club, travelled internationally and drove a VW Bug that would act up occasionally. But not to worry, her neighbor had shown her how to pry just the right place open with a spoon to make it roar to life.

Each year during the winter holiday season, she would fly to the west for a month. (Once, she so charmed the man sitting next to her on the plane that he sent a Virginia ham to meet her at her destination.) On these visits, she divided her time between her son’s homes, an event that her four grandchildren especially looked forward to. She would fill her days making sugar cookies, rolls and pies – always happy to spare a bite of dough or make a batch of cinnamon sugar crisps from pie crust scraps. And in the evening, you might find her knitting hats for the homeless people of Memphis.

Grandma with her grandchildren, left to right: Keith, Rob, Beth and Ed.

There are at least two of Grandma’s recipes that are essential at every Stevens family holiday meal: Grandma’s Rolls and Chocolate Rum Pie.


If you’ve ever had chocolate and rum together, you know they’re a heavenly match. But think of adding lightly sweetened whipped cream and a delicate, flaky Lard Pie Crust (or Gingersnap Crust that I also make for Pumpkin Chiffon Pie) and you’ll know why this recipe is a Stevens family heirloom. An heirloom that I’ve been given permission to share.

What about Grandma’s rolls? I haven’t worked up the courage to ask about sharing that recipe yet. Maybe next year.

More of My Favorite Southern Recipes

More Holiday Pie Recipes

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Grandma’s Chocolate Rum Pie

5 from 5 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Total: 20 minutes
Course: Dessert
Calories: 486
Servings: 8 people
An heirloom Steven’s family recipe..


  • 1 10-inch pre-baked pie crust See recipe notes for suggestions.

Pie Filling

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar divided
  • pinch salt
  • 1 envelope gelatin
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 egg yolks beaten
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup rum
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pie Topping

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Pre-bake a 10-inch pie crust (see links in Recipe Notes) and allow it to cool completely before filling.
  • To make the pie filling, combine 1/2 cup sugar, gelatin and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir in milk and egg yolks. Place over medium-low heat; cook and stir until slightly thickened. Remove from heat, add chocolate chips and stir until melted. Add rum and stir. Chill until partially set. (I often use an ice bath, stirring occasionally, to speed this process).
  • Once chocolate mixture has cooled, beat egg whites with a standing or handheld mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar; continue beating until stiff peaks form. Fold chocolate mixture into egg whites,
  • In a separate bowl, beat 1 cup whipping cream until soft peaks form. Gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, beating until combined.
  • Add 1/2 of chocolate mixture to prepared pie crust; top with 1/2 of whipped cream. Repeat so that you have 4 layers. Using a rubber spatula, carefully swirl the layers into a marble pattern. Cover and chill until firm – several hours or overnight.
  • To serve: Beat 1 cup whipping cream until soft peaks form. Gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, beating until combined. Cut pie into 8 slices and serve each with a generous dollop of whipped cream.


A fully baked Lard Pie Crust is the perfect savory / sweet match for this pie.


Calories: 486kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 134mg | Sodium: 55mg | Potassium: 229mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 1000IU | Vitamin C: 0.3mg | Calcium: 93mg | Iron: 1.5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. Carrie Ann Lundberg says:

    My mom made this every year for Christmas. The recipe came out of Women’s Day Encyclopedias as well! Now mom has ahlzeimers so I have tried to carry on the tradition! Unfortunately when combining the chocolate to the hot pie filling mixture, it tends to get grainy. Can you tell me how to fix this?

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Hi Carrie! I’m so sorry to hear about your mom, but I think it’s wonderful that you’re carrying on the tradition. The recipe that was handed down to us uses chocolate chips, so that’s what I’ve always used here and haven’t had the grainy issue. That said, I once made my Chocolate Panna Cotta with them (instead of bar or baking chocolate) and it was grainy. Because chocolate chips are designed to hold their shape in baking, they’re not ideal for melting. When you make this again, I recommend using bar chocolate and I bet that will resolve any graininess.

  2. SANDY says:

    5 stars
    I have this recipe from years ago and it’s a HUGE crowd pleaser through the generations! Definitely worth creating!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      Thanks, Sandy. I agree!

  3. Georgia Maurizio says:

    5 stars
    I have made this pie every Christmas for 50 years. My recipe came from the 12 volume set of Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cooking from the early 70s and is nearly identical. The one change I made was to increase the unflavored gelatin from one pkt. to 1.5 pkts. as the pie sometimes didn’t set firmly. This does not affect the taste. Aside from being delicious. it is beautiful and a show stopper!

    1. Marissa Stevens says:

      aww…I love this, Georgia! Nice to hear that this beauty is a tradition in your family too.

  4. Mindy says:

    Would rum /alcohol content be strong in this recipe?I am considering to make this for work, but don’t want to get in trouble for too much rum!

    1. Marissa says:

      Hi Mindy! If the pie is divided into 8 slices, it’s equivalent to about 1/3 of an ounce of rum per slice. It’s not a lot of alcohol per person, but the rum is a pronounced flavor. Hope that’s helpful!