brown sugar | cinnamon | desserts | ganache | ginger | oats | pie | recipe | seasonal | traditional with a twist | vanilla | whipped cream

Black bottom, a new rhythm.

September 22, 2014

I love pie plates. Whenever I see one, I’m drawn to it. Big ones, small ones, ruffled ones, plain ones. I love them all. I don’t even make pie that often, but for whatever reason I just love ’em. I don’t have all that many… maybe 6 or 7. But I just adore them. And really, when one has so many cute pie plates, they ought to be making more pies, amirite?

However pies are usually not my bag. I can make them just fine, but the crust is a pain in my ass & I’m always paranoid that the filling won’t set. I’m more comfortable with cakes than pies.

Black bottom oatmeal pie from a recipe by Four and Twenty Blackbirds pie shop.

Every once in a  while, though, a pie recipe crosses my path and I think “Holy crap that sounds good.” This is one of those. Truth be told most of the pie recipes from Four & Twenty Blackbirds are those kinda pies. Like that salty honey pie.

Now that it’s autumn, I can start getting all fall-y with my baking. I made some pie crust leaves for the crust of this pie, but you can’t really tell. See? I suck at pies.

Black bottom oatmeal pie.

Back in the day, poor people used to use oats instead of pecans to make a kind of “poor man’s” pecan pie. Pecans are still kinda pricey, but now it’s not a poor man’s anything- it’s just delicious. And with the addition of the chocolate ganache; the “black bottom”, it’s just over the top good.

Awesome, in fact.

This recipe uses Four & Twenty Blackbirds All-Butter Crust for a 9-inch single-crust pie, partially prebaked and cooled, so get on that before anything else. If you don’t want to use that recipe & need another one, here’s a great choice.

Black bottom oatmeal pie with cinnamon sugar whipped cream.

BLACK BOTTOM OATMEAL PIE (slightly adapted from a recipe by Four & Twenty Blackbirds)


  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (we use 70%), chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 3/4 cups cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 4 large eggs, plus one egg beaten for egg wash


  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F. Spread the oats on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool.
  2. Reduce the oven temperature to 325° F. To make the ganache layer, bring the heavy cream just to a boil over medium heat in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Remove from the heat and pour in the chocolate pieces. Swirl the cream around to distribute and cover the chocolate; let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk gently until smooth. Scrape the ganache into the cooled pie shell and spread evenly over the bottom.
  3. Place the shell in the freezer to set the ganache while making the filling. In a large bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and melted butter.
  4. Add the corn syrup, vanilla, and cider vinegar and whisk to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, blending well after each addition. Stir in the cooled oats.
  5. Place the ganache-coated pie shell on a rimmed baking sheet and pour in the filling. Brush the beaten egg over the crust.
  6. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for about 55 minutes, rotating 180° when the edges start to set, 30 to 35 minutes through baking. The pie is finished when the edges are set and puffed slightly and the center is slightly firm to the touch but still has some give (like gelatin).
  7. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The pie will keep refrigerated for 3 days or at room temperature for 2 days.

Black bottom oatmeal pie (from the Four and Twenty Blackbirds recipe).

I served mine with a homemade cinnamon sugar whipped cream. All I did was I whipped 1/2 cup heavy cream with a tablespoon of confectioner’s sugar and a pinch of a mixture of ground Saigon cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger & allspice. It was so good.

And a perfect accompaniment to this pie. Although I wouldn’t be against a bourbon or brandy whipped cream either.

Black bottom oatmeal pie.

Hey- I bet you didn’t know that in addition to being the nickname of delicious cupcakes (& this pie) as well as an area in Detroit, “Black Bottom” was also a dance in the 1920’s (and a song- hence the title of this post). True story. Here’s proof:

Suggestions for use: serve with brandy whipped cream, serve with bourbon whipped cream, serve with vanilla ice cream or pecan ice cream.
Soundtrack: the Black Bottom, of course!
Sources & credits: eggplant-colored pie plate; Michael’s, Sturbridge Village burlap towel sent to me by Xenia; vintage, Spode ‘Cowslip’ dessert plates; vintage, Smoky glass vintage bowl; Arcoroc, canister holding oats; Pyrex (vintage).
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  1. I’ve never heard of using oats quite like this before — such a cool idea! And as a non-lover of pecan pie, I’d pick this one 100% of the time. 🙂

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