Cafe au Lait Pie

star rating (8) rate this recipe »
Recipe photo
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Recipe photo

Looking for a showcase dessert? Something special for, say, Mardi Gras? You've found it. With layers of rich chocolate and vanilla filling and an espresso meringue topping, this pie is NOT for calorie-counters. Laissez les bon temps roulez! Read our blog about this pie, with additional photos, at Flourish.

Cafe au Lait Pie

star rating (8) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Published: 01/01/2010


  • one 9" single piecrust, preferably deep dish; must be at least 1 1/4" deep

Chocolate filling

  • 1 1/3 cups chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream

Vanilla filling

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup whipping or heavy cream
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 large egg yolks, whites reserved for topping
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Espresso topping

  • 3 large egg whites, reserved from filling
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon cold water


Preheat the oven to 375°F.

1) Roll out the piecrust, and fit it into a 9" pie pan that's at least 1 1/4" deep. Give the crust a tall, crimped edge. Refrigerate the crust while you prepare the fillings.

2) To make the chocolate filling: Place the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat till the cream begins to steam and bubble.

3) Remove from the microwave, and stir until the chips have melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the crust from the refrigerator, and spread the chocolate in the bottom. Return to the refrigerator.

4) To make the vanilla filling: Whisk together the salt, sugar, cornmeal, and cornstarch.

5) Whisk in the cream and vanilla, stirring till smooth.

6) Add the lightly beaten eggs and yolks, mixing till thoroughly combined.

7) Remove the crust from the refrigerator, and set it on a baking sheet. Carefully pour the vanilla filling atop the chocolate filling.

8) Bake the pie for 20 minutes, and cover the crust with a crust shield, or strips of aluminum foil. Continue to bake for an additional 25 to 35 minutes, or until the edges are fairly set. The middle won't be set, but should read at least 175°F on an instant-read thermometer.

9) About 10 minutes before the pie is finished baking, prepare the meringue. Place the 3 egg whites in a large bowl.

10) Beat the whites at high speed, preferably with your mixer's whisk attachment, till they're beginning to foam.

11) Add the cream of tartar, and continue beating until the mixture is opaque and "creamy" looking.

12) Sprinkle in the sugar while continuing to beat. Beat until stiff peaks form.

13) Combine the espresso powder and water, stirring to dissolve the powder. Add it to the meringue, stirring till thoroughly combined.

14) Remove the pie from the oven. Carefully spread the meringue on top. Dollop some atop the center, and VERY gently spread it around; since the center is still so soft, you have to be gentle. Then spread the meringue around the firmer outside, going all the way to the edges, so it actually touches the crust.

15) Return the pie to the oven, and continue to bake till the meringue is a very light golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

16) Remove the pie from the oven, and cool completely (at least 5 to 6 hours) before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.


  • star rating 04/06/2010
  • Judy N. from Pen Argyl, PA
  • Excellent! Well received by all I served this to; lots of complements! It's a bit of effort (and time) to make, but all said that it was worth it (even though I did all the work!). Everything came out nicely, following the recipe, even my first time making this pie. I was thrown off by the listed baking time of 45 to 60 minutes. Am I missing something here? When I add up the lowest ranges of the total baking, I get 60 minutes (as the minimun). First, 20 minutes for the vanilla filling, then continue for another 25-35 minutes. So, this is at least 45 minutes. Then you have to bake after topping with the meringue for 15 to 20 minutes. Wouldn't baking then be 60 minutes at least (total)? This nearly derailed me, as I was thinking that I was misreading a time somewhere. Regardless, I was very glad that you gave the bake to internal temperature of 175 degrees for the vanilla filling stage. I baked 20 minutes, then an additional 45 minutes right there to get 175 degrees. Nothing was burned and the outcome was delicious, but I felt uncertain while doing this step that I was going wrong somehow. The meringue stage went along very well, though, and was done within 15 minutes easily. Otherwise, I did make my own pie crust (a tried and true recipe I have!!). I added cinnamon to the crust as I mixed it and this gave a nice flavor, harmonizing well with the rest of the flavors. This recipe is a keeper - can't wait to make again - just need to have a big block of time to devote to making this!
    Thanks for sharing your experience with this delicious pie. So glad you depended on the internal temperature in addition to the suggested baking time. This method serves when making yeasted bread products as well to be sure they are cooked through. Irene @ KAF
  • star rating 11/27/2009
  • Dan from Tucson
  • Delicious! I've made this pie twice - very well-received both times, including Thanksgiving. I doubled the amount of espresso to get a stronger coffee taste. Both times the meringue went flat after it cooled. No peaks, just flat. What am I doing wrong?
    It is possible the sugar isn't completely dissolved. This meringue recipe works really well every time.Mile high .Mary @ KAF
  • star rating 11/04/2009
  • Jenna G from Los Angeles
  • This pie was so delicious. It was easy to make. I admit spreading the meringue over the filling was a little tricky, but everything came out alright. **Also, I really wish people would refrain from rating a recipe they have NOT made. It skews the actual ratings and is not fair to people who would like to try something, but want to hear what others have to say who have MADE it already.
  • star rating 03/27/2009
  • from
  • This pie was wonderful, and definitely impressed my guests. I'm not sure if I did something wrong with the meringue because it 'weeped' after I took it out of the oven. No matter, it all tasted fantastic anyway. This is defintely worth doing again.
  • star rating 02/09/2009
  • Carla from MO
  • Delicious! I liked the instruction to check for the filling temp before topping with meringue. It's so much more precise than to rely on my interpretation of "fairly set". I'll definitely be making this again!
  • star rating 02/07/2009
  • elsie from ny
  • I made this and it was delicious. No changes necessary, perfect as is. I really resent people who haven't made the recipe yet post "stars" with their comments. That's not the purpose of the ratings system. People look to ratings to see what experiences people have actually had making the recipe, and not their feelings about the recipe in print.
  • star rating 02/04/2009
  • Jane N. from Freetown, NY
  • Thinking of making this pie soon, looking through the directions, I find no mention of when to add the vanilla (though I think I know). It might help to make it specific for those who haven't lived as long as I have....
  • star rating 02/03/2009
  • Linda from Oregon
  • I haven't made it yet but it definitely looks like a winner. I'm curious. The meringue looks more than lightly browned--nearly crusty. Is that the photo or do you like to bake it longer? I'm not a meringue fan because of the texture but if it was less "foamy" and more "crusty" I think it would be tastier as long as it doesn't taste overdone.

    The meringue is dark because it has espresso powder added. The meringue is baked until it is a very light golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Elisabeth @ KAF


Related recipes