Monday, July 18, 2011

Miller & Rhoads' Chocolate Silk Pie

There's not much better than a cold chocolate pie on a hot summer's day, if you ask me. The one I've made twice this summer is one of the recipes I came across while researching old department store tea rooms, the famous Chocolate Silk Pie from Miller & Rhoads in Richmond, Va.

The store closed in 1990, but lots of Virginians still have fond memories of going there. This vintage postcard I found is undated but says "English Tea Room, Miller & Rhoads, Richmond, Virginia, 'The Shopping Center.'" In addition to the pretty and feminine decor, I'm intrigued by what appears to be a horse-themed mural on the wall at back. Since this was the "English" Tea Room, do you think perhaps it was an English hunt scene?

I love that many of these old tea rooms apparently shared some of their most-requested recipes with customers. This Chocolate Silk Pie seems to have garnered quite a few fans. Try it, and you'll become one too!

Miller & Rhoads' Chocolate Silk Pie


1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups graham cracker crumbs


1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate, melted according to package directions and cooled
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 pasteurized eggs (since this filling is uncooked, I thought it was important to use pasteurized eggs)


2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
Chocolate Jimmies

Chill a 9-inch pie plate in your refrigerator or freezer. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using electric mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly add just enough graham cracker crumbs to make a slightly crumbly mixture. Press evenly into pie plate and cook for 5 minutes. Let cool while you prepare the pie filling.

With electric mixer, beat butter and confectioners' sugar til light and fluffy. Add melted chocolate, salt and vanilla. Add one egg and -- this is very important! -- beat for no less than 5 minutes. Add second egg and beat for no less than 5 minutes. Add third egg and beat for -- any guesses? -- no less than 5 minutes. (I hummed Michael Jackson's "Beat It" while I made the filling, but that step is entirely optional.) Pour filling into cooled pie shell and refrigerate for 24 hours.

Before serving, prepare whipped cream by adding confectioners' sugar to the heavy whipping cream and beating with electric mixer until soft peaks form. Pipe or spread onto top of pie and garnish with chocolate Jimmies. Takes a little time but oh so worth it!


  1. The pie looks delicious, Angela, and I'm certain it tasted delicious too! Another fun post about department store tearoom history. Loved the postcard! Wouldn't it be fun if we could time travel and visit all these tearooms in person? I can only

  2. I am continuing to enjoy your department store tea room tour.

  3. Oh my stars that looks delicious! I haven't had this kind of pie in ages, I think I'm going to add this to my short list this summer, thanks Angela!

  4. Yummy!!! One of my favorites. And thank you for your sweet comments!

  5. This does sound so good. I do believe that is a hunt scene back there. Your research is so fun and I love where it is taking you.

  6. Thank you so much for posting this recipe! While I live near Philadelphia now, I grew up about 40 miles from Richmond, VA. I have fond memories of going to the Miller&Rhoads' department store downtown and eating in that tea room as a young child. Oh I thought I was somebody getting to go shopping in the big city and having a fine lunch. My oldest brother who is really more like an uncle at 15 years my senior, would take me every year at christmas time. Every child in the area knew that the Miller&Rhoads Santa was the REAL Santa Claus. And after your photo with Santa you got to go into the tea room and have a piece of cake with an animated Rudolph figure. While it has been over 25 years since my brother and I made those trips (on a charter bus no less from our little country town to the city), we still talk about those trips every year when I visit with him for Christmas. You just brightened my day by bringing up these fond memories.

  7. Oh this is truly making me want pie for breakfast tomorrow! ha ha I lurve traditional shopping and miss the vintage dining rooms. I could just see Doris Day and Frank Sinatra sitting at those tables.

  8. Hello Angela, the pie looks so delicious and 'cooling!' A perfect recipe for a hot day.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe, Joanie

  9. A Richmond relative sent me your link. Miller & Rhoads was always a favorite place for lunch. Like Heidi, my kids grew up visiting Santa, because, he was the "real" Santa.
    I enjoyed my visit to your blog and will be back.


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