The Help: How to make Minny's famous chocolate pie
The infamous poop-pie scene in 2011’s The Help involved some movie magic.
In the scene, Minny (Octavia Spencer), a maid in civil-rights-era deep South, exacts her revenge for being unjustly fired from Hilly’s (Bryce Dallas Howard) home by serving her former boss a poop-filled version of her famous chocolate pie. While it’s pretty clear that the movie is using a real pie, what you might not know is that the scene actually featured two pies.
“We made our beautiful, beautiful pie with sugar and butter and all that sort of stuff and put it on the table. Then, we switched it out for a pie that didn’t have any sugar in it for [Howard],” says the film’s property master Chris Ubick. “It was a very big slight of hand scene so that she could eat lots of pie and not feel like she’s been eating so much sugar.”
All of the movie’s pies, including the sugarless one, were made Lee Ann Flemming, a local baker in Mississippi who modified her recipe to make a vegan and sugar-less pie for the scene. In the place of milk, eggs, and sugar, Flemming used an almond-based milk substitute, egg beaters, and stevia for the modified dish. Furthermore, Flemming, who had been using pre-made pie crust for the pies, had to hand make a gluten-free crust, “which took forever to do,” she says. “I had to have 12 pies for that scene in the movie, and it took me 12 hours to make them.”
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The different ingredients, however, altered how the pie looked. So, the crew painted the gluten-free pie’s crust to match the pure chocolate one, which Ubick describe as “a little movie magic.”
Below you’ll find the recipe Flemming used for every pie in the movie — except for the one eaten by Howard:
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons of cocoa
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 small can evaporated milk (Pet)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients and blend well with mixer. Pour into unbaked pie shell that has been pricked with a fork on the bottom and sides. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until firm. Top with a dollop of Cool Whip.