My grandmother never fit the down-home-cookin' stereotypes. She made a few things well like roast and gravy for Sunday dinners, hotcakes on Saturday mornings and spaghetti with meat sauce that was certainly not authentic, but as a kid, I thought it was the bee's knees. There was one homemade item, however, that always seemed to be on the counter at Grandma's house that I was only recently able to appreciate fully: chocolate meringue pie.
As a kid and young adult, I had an unnatural dislike of meringue. But I finally turned the chapter on my phobia of whipped egg whites and resolved to perfect my grandmother's recipe, just in time for Mother's Day. With no written recipe, until today, I have relied on phone conversations with my own mother on how to make that rich chocolate, fluffy topped pie. I hope our family's recipe will suit you well. Happy early Mother's Day.
1 frozen pie crust (as far as I know, Grandma was not into the whole, make-your-own-dough phenomenon and more of a you-can-buy-one-just-as-easily person) Prepare the piecrust according to instructions. For this particular time, I only had a graham cracker crust, which works just as well, but provides a little extra sweetness.
Chocolate Meringue Pie, Grandma Style
Heat the milk on medium or medium-low. Slowly sift the cocoa powder and flour into the milk, stirring constantly. Still stirring, add one cup of sugar, vanilla extract and the egg yolks, one by one. Never stop stirring. Ever. When the mixture starts to thicken and pulls away from the sides and bottom of the pan, showing no residue, take it off the heat and pour into your already prepared pie shell.
For the meringue: take the egg whites and whip them with a whisk or beaters slowly at first. After they've frothed quite a bit, add one tablespoon of sugar. Whisk or beat vigorously until they've reached the stiff peak stage - where they can stand in a peak on their own. Personally, I prefer a softer meringue, and stop just before they've reached that stage. Spread the meringue evenly over the pie filling and bake for five-seven minutes on 350 degrees, or until the tips become golden brown.
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