The son is leaving for his first year of college, and I spent his last week at home making his favorite foods. Parmesan-garlic chicken with penne pasta. Homemade meatballs. Pancakes. Bacon. A different kind of ice cream every day. (Oh wait, the ice cream was for me.)

Last but certainly not least, I made brownie pie. Technically, it’s “Mama’s Rescued Fudge Pie,” a recipe I clipped from The Anniston Star in 2006.

It was based on a recipe in a memoir by TV news anchor Linda Ellerbee. She called it “Mama’s Rescued Fudge Pie” because she thought her mama’s recipe had been lost, until a friend revealed she had a copy of it.

It’s a 1950s dessert, dead simple to make, pretty much foolproof. In taste and texture, it’s similar to dense, chocolatey, fudgy brownies. Except it’s baked in a pie plate, so every piece is an edge piece.

Our family calls it “brownie pie,” and we have made it a lot in the past 13 years. Most times, one or both of my kids were in the kitchen with me, helping measure ingredients or stir batter or lick the bowl.

(Please don’t tell the FDA I let my kids eat raw batter.)

We made brownie pie when we were happy. We made it when we were sad. We made it when we needed a sugar fix and didn’t have time to make cookies.

It’s a great recipe to make with kids. It takes only one bowl to mix the ingredients. The batter comes together in the time it takes to preheat the oven. It bakes pretty quickly, too, so that by the time you’ve cleaned up and finished licking the bowl, it’s nearly ready to come out of the oven.

Whenever we make brownie pie, I pull out the original newspaper clipping with the recipe, which is preserved in a cookbook that my daughter put together for me when she was 10 years old. She decided that my unruly stack of recipes, clipped from newspapers and magazines, needed organizing. She organized them by category, put them in plastic sheet protectors and collected them in a big binder.

In the intervening years, the front of the binder has fallen off, and it turns out that of the 100 or so recipes in there, I only ever made about six of them.

We gave the boy a send-off dinner the night before he packed up for college. My husband made burgers and fries and baked beans. For dessert we had brownie pie, served with vanilla ice cream and joy, mixed with a few tears of sorrow.


  • 2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place chocolate and butter in a 4-cup Pyrex measure or microwave-safe bowl. Heat on high for 1 minute, stir, and heat for 30 seconds more. Let sit for a minute or so and stir until chocolate melts completely. Add sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla and salt. Stir until well combined. Pour into lightly oiled 9-inch pie pan.

Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool for as long as you can wait.

Lisa Davis is Features Editor of The Anniston Star. Contact her at 256-235-3555 or

Features Editor Lisa Davis: 256-235-3555.