Chocolate Chess Pie Tartlets

February 8, 2016
With these adorable Chocolate Chess Pie Tartlets, you can enjoy Southern classic chess pie in bite-sized form.  Perfect for an Easter, Mother's Day, or Christmas dessert buffet, a party food tray, or even for brunch!  Not to mention, a certain little 5-year-old thinks they go absolutely perfectly with a spot of tea.

Chocolate Chess Pie Tartlets Image

I just adore little-bite desserts.  Especially when they're as adorable and tasty as these little Chocolate Chess Pie Tartlets.

Why do I love little-bites so much, you ask?  Because good things come in small packages!  Or, in the case of these chocolate tartlets, great  things come in small packages.

I also love the versatility of little-bite treats.  They're perfect for serving up on so many occasions -- parties, brunches, dessert buffets for Easter, Mother's Day, Christmas ... you name it.  

I love how they allow you to serve a selection of several desserts without overwhelming your guests bellies.  Having a taste of each dessert is easy when the desserts are offered up in bite-sized packages and portions.

In the case of these chocolate tartlets, great things come in small packages.

This particular batch of Chocolate Chess Pie Tartlets just so happened to be enjoyed as a tea party treat.  As some frequent readers of The Kitchen is My Playground may know, my husband and I had the joy of welcoming a 5-year-old little girl into our family a few weeks ago (yay!).  We're loving being parents, and loving all the fun that comes along with an active, imaginative, silly little girl!  

As most little girls do, our Little Miss H. loves to play tea party ... serving us a spot of imaginary tea most nights after dinner while we wind down watching some TV.

Well, I decided to take those imaginary tea parties to the next level, and last week hosted a little real  tea party for Miss H.  It was small -- just us, my Mom, and a friend of Miss H.'s and her Mom.  But the thrill it gave Little Miss H. was absolutely precious!

And these Chocolate Chess Pie Tartlets were a wonderful chocolaty treat that went beautifully with our spot of tea.  They're Little Miss H. tea-party-approved!

Chocolate Chess Pie Tartlets with Almond Whipped Cream Topping Image

Chess Pie is a classic Southern dessert, typically made in plain, lemon, and chocolate varieties.  I did a little research on it because I had two questions about Chess Pie:

1.  Why is it called "Chess" Pie? ... and ...
2.  Why does classic Chess Pie filling include cornmeal?

Because any Southerner will tell you that Chess Pie has to include cornmeal to truly be Chess Pie.

As for the first question, there seems to be no true consensus on where classic chess pie got it's name.  Theories range from the name stemming from misunderstanding of the Southern accent ... to the pie frequently being enjoyed while gentlemen gathered to play chess {see Southern Living's fun explanation}.

Cornmeal is used to help thicken the pie's filling, while also lending a hand in creating a bit of crispness in how the filling bakes up on the top.

On the second question, it appears cornmeal is used to help thicken the pie's filling, while also lending a hand in creating a bit of crispness in how the filling bakes up on the top.  Makes sense, I suppose.

To whip up a batch, mix up a simple chocolate chess pie batter.  The batter is made with pretty much just pantry staples -- melted butter, some eggs, cocoa powder, flour, sugar, vinegar, and a small touch of chess pie's classic filling ingredient cornmeal.

Then spoon the batter into phyllo dough shells.  If you're not familiar with them, phyllo dough shells can found in the freezer section of the grocery store.  Generally, they're right near the ice cream and other frozen dessert items.

How to Make Chocolate Chess Pie Tartlets Image

Bake the tarts for about 20 minutes.

Baked Chocolate Chess Pie Tarts Image

Cool them completely, and then at serving time pipe on a little whipped cream topping.

You can use just plain freshly whipped cream or Cool Whip.  Or, mix up a simple almond cream cheese topping like I like to do.  

The almond cream cheese topping is a simple and tasty mixture of Cool Whip, cream cheese, and a touch of almond extract.  It adds a nice little creamy sweetness to the tartlets, and the slight almond flavor compliments the chocolate really well.

Piping Whipped Cream Topping on Chocolate Chess Pie Tartlets Image

If you need store or transport the tartlets, it's easy to just pop them back into the plastic tray the phyllo dough shells came in and then slide the plastic tray back into the phyllo shells' box.  The plastic tray works especially well for keeping the tarts safe from any crumbling during transport.

Chocolate Chess Pie Tartlets in Phyllo Shells Image

Whether you enjoy them topped or plain -- for a party, brunch, or other occasion -- or no matter how you think chess pie got it's name, two things are for sure ~ Chocolate Chess Pie Tartlets are certainly proof that great things come in small packages.  

And silly little 5-year-olds think they go just fabulously with a spot of tea.

Mini Chocolate Chess Tarts Image
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chocolate chess tarts recipe, mini chocolate chess pie tarts, party desserts recipe
Yield: 60 tartlets

Chocolate Chess Pie Tartlets

Chocolate Chess Pie Tartlets

With these adorable Chocolate Chess Pie Tartlets, you can enjoy Southern classic chess pie in bite-sized form. Perfect for an Easter, Mother's Day, or Christmas dessert buffet, a party food tray, or even for brunch!
Prep time: 20 MCook time: 20 MTotal time: 40 M


Chocolate Chess Pie Tartlets:
  • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 3 T. unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1 1/2 T. cornmeal
  • 1 T. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1/2 c. butter, melted
  • pinch salt
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 5 packages frozen mini phyllo shells {total of 60 shells}
  • whipped cream OR almond cream cheese topping for garnish, optional
Almond Cream Cheese Topping (optional garnish):
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 T. confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/3 c. Cool Whip


How to make Chocolate Chess Pie Tartlets

Prepare Chocolate Chess Pie Tartlets:
  1. Stir together sugar, cocoa, cornmeal, flour, vinegar, melted butter, and salt until well combined. Add eggs, stirring well.
  2. Spoon about 1 heaping teaspoon of chocolate mixture into each mini phyllo shell and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until just set. Cool completely. 
  4. Store tartlets in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  5. {Optional} When ready to serve, top with a small dot of whipped cream or pipe tops with a bit of almond cream cheese topping.
Prepare Almond Cream Cheese Topping (optional garnish):
  1. Place cream cheese in a small mixing bowl; cream with a fork. 
  2. Add confectioners' sugar and almond extract; mix until well combined and smooth. Fold in Cool Whip.
  3. Pipe onto Chocolate Chess Pie Tartlets.
Created using The Recipes Generator

You might also enjoy these other little-bite sweet treats:

Lemon Curd Tartles
Lemon Curd Tartlets
Martha Washington Candy
Red Velvet Snowball Cookies
Peanut Butter Buckeyes
Kentucky Bourbon Balls
Chocolate Chess Pie Tartlets ~ Enjoy Southern classic chess pie in bite-sized form.  Perfect for an Easter, Mother's Day, or Christmas dessert buffet, a party food tray, or even for brunch!

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This post is linked with Weekend Potluck.


  1. This looks fantastic! I would love a tea party with these on display. I once made a lemon chess pie. It was quite good. I don't know why I've never done it again. But add some chocolate to it and I'm definitely making another one! Pinning and following you there! 😊

    1. Thank you so much, Kathryn! I appreciate you stopping by, the Pin, and the follow! Love lemon chess pie ... may need to make these tasty little tartlets in a lemon version, too. :-)

  2. I just love your Tartlets, this is a great recipe! Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a fantastic day!
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  3. Your tartlets look delicious! Thanks for sharing with us at The Blogger's Pit Stop!

  4. Perfect party food! Thanks a bunch for sharing at Fiesta Friday party! I hope to see you next week.

  5. What a perfect bite-sized ending to any meal. Featuring when my party opens!


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