Chocolate Meringue Pie
This pie is perhaps most responsible for this project. It's my mom's favorite. She'd make herself one for her birthday. As an adult, I started making it for her birthday, and quickly realized how little I understand about meringues. They’d weep, or worse, form a slick layer of syrup between it and the filling. Every website and cookbook had a different fix.
But it's also where I stepped back and looked at what the recipe told me to do and realized “Hey, you have a culinary education. Don’t be a shoemaker and think about what you’re doing." The original had enough cornstarch to thicken four pies, a double boiler, and the baker standing on one foot for five minutes. It was nowhere near as simple as it should be. All you're making is chocolate pastry cream. It takes one pot, two bowls, stirring, and about fifteen minutes.
So close! In the mixer the meringue was gorgeous… But, I tried piping it onto the hot filling. It came out flat and lost the flexibility to form nice peaks. It raises the questions of do you under-mix a meringue for piping? Or do I go back to spooning meringue onto the filling like a normal person? Research is needed... As soon as I can find my books.
Overall though? Pretty damn perfect. The meringue didn’t shrink. It didn’t have a layer of syrup between it and the filling. In consistency and sweetness, the chocolate cream was just right. But yeah, you can see from the photos I was impatient and cut a slice before it had set. Oh well! A messy slice of pie is still pie! (After an overnight in the fridge, the filling had set and the slices were picture perfect.)
- 1 Fully Baked Deep 9" Pie Crust
- 3c whole milk
- 1 1/2c Sugar
- 2Tbls Cornstarch
- 4 Yolks
- Pinch of Salt
- 10oz Bittersweet Chocolate (60% or greater)
- 2Tbls Butter
- 2tsp Vanilla
- 4 Egg Whites
- 1/2c Sugar
- Pre-heat your oven to 375˚.
- In a medium pot, stir together the milk and 1c of sugar. Place on medium heat, stir occasionally. Keep an eye on it because you want to bring it to a boil.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining 1/4c of sugar and all the cornstarch.
- Whisk the egg yolks into the sugar-cornstarch mixture.
- Put the chocolate (chopped or in chips) and the butter in a medium sized bowl.
- When the milk boils, remove from heat and temper 1/3 of the hot milk into the egg mixture.
- Once tempered, stir the egg mixture back into the hot milk.
- Return to medium heat and stir constantly till it returns to a boil. The milk/eggs should visibly thicken. While it boils, continue stirring for about 3 minutes. If it becomes too vigorous, reduce the heat some.
- Pour hot milk over the chocolate and butter. Give it a stir then let it sit a minute.
- Start the meringue.
- While your meringue is mixing, stir the filling to help melt the chocolate. Once all the chocolate and butter is melted, pour into your pie crust.
- When the meringue is at stiff peaks, stop the mixer and spread on top of the HOT filling. Finish the meringue how you'd like.
- Bake in a 375˚ oven till the meringue is golden brown.
- Chill in a fridge for at least 4 hours.
I realize the directions are a bit loose. In later posts, I'll delve into meringues, pastry dough, and pastry cream.