Thursday, March 28, 2013

Time for Chocolate Pie!

A while ago we received a few requests from CoF viewers for a chocolate pie recipe. I had run across a couple of possibilities in some old cookbooks, but before I could decide on which one to try I received an email from a viewer in Tennessee  - Adam – with a “tried and true” recipe. To me, these are always the best ones – recipes that have been made countless times and always produce good results. Adam shared that the recipe came to him from his mom, who got it from an elderly neighbor in the 1960’s. 

Chocolate pie is special because many people expect pies to be filled with fruit and associate chocolate more with cake. This pie brings together a rich, sweet chocolate filling along with the delicate pie crust. This particular version also features a meringue top as opposed to a whipped cream top, which if more often found here in Michigan and referred to as “chocolate cream pie.” The fluffy meringue is much lighter than a cream topping and goes beautifully with the rich chocolate filling.

So, I want to thank Adam for passing this recipe along. The pie turned out beautifully and it was fairly easy to put together. I had a lot going on the day we made this pie, so I as a step-saver I used a ready-made crust. Please feel free to make your own – and there is a recipe for pie crust in the Berry Cherry Rhubarb Pie episode.  Note that you will only need to make a single crust recipe. Whether you make your own pie crust dough or not, this Southern recipe will put a smile on the face of any chocolate lover!

Chocolate Pie

5 TBSP cocoa
4 eggs, separated
1 ½ cups sugar
2 cups milk
4 heaping TBSP cornstarch
4 TBSP butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 baked pie shell
¼ tsp cream of tartar
5 TBSP sugar

Start with baking your pie shell. If you are using a ready-made crust, follow instructions on box.  Baking a bottom pie crust without filling is often called “blind baking.” Remember to prick holes in the dough before you put it in the oven, or use pie weights if that is your preference. Generally, the crust will need to bake for 12-15 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Once the crust is slightly golden brown, remove from oven and set aside to let cool. 

When you make the filling, you can make it using a double boiler or in a sauce pan directly over the heat. If you have a hard time controlling the heat on your range or tend to burn things, you may want to cook it using a double boiler. I prefer to just use a sauce pan over directly over low and gradual heat. I find that it cooks a little faster this way and I don’t have to fuss around with the water, etc. 

Beat the egg yolks until smooth. Mix in sugar, cornstarch and cocoa. Add milk and put pan over low heat, stirring constantly. As the mixture heats up and comes closer to the boiling point, it will start to thicken up. Keep stirring to make sure the mixture is smooth (I use a whisk for this job). Once thick, remove pan from heat and add vanilla and butter. Continue to stir until butter is completely melted and combined. Pour filling into baked pie shell and spread it so it is even around the pie. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put the four egg whites in a large bowl. Add cream of tartar and begin to beat. Gradually add in five tablespoons of sugar and continue to beat until it forms a stiff peak. Gently spread meringue over the top of the chocolate filling, with the highest point being in the center of the pie. Make sure meringue completely covers top of the pie and goes all the way to the crust.  If you want, you can give the meringue some swirls with the back of a teaspoon. Put pie in oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the meringue is lightly browned. Remove pie and let cool completely before cutting. Enjoy!

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