Not long ago, I asked a friend what he would like for his birthday. He said a dark chocolate pie with a meringue topping. There are several little minefields in the culinary arts and meringue is one of them. Get some grease on your tools or in your bowl and your done! finished! nada!
Since he — like my daughter Karla — is a bit over the top on dark chocolate, we took that as a hint and started with an Oreo crust…. which is a bit of a departure. The more elegant recipes also add a bit of zing to their pies with berries layered between the pie filling and the meringue… and I like this alternative very much. And since we make our own jams, it makes the pies even more special. I also like to use manufacturers cream ( a heavy whipping cream) rather than milk that appears in most recipes. No time to count calories, my friend!
My recipe here is only a minor variation from what you can find on the net… but I think we made it a bit better.
1) Make your crust and bake it
2) make the filling:
a) beat 4 egg yolks and add 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons cornstarch until well blended
b) gradually add 2 cups of manufacturers whipping cream to the mixture in a frying pan stirring constantly over medium heat.
c) gradually add 6 squares of chocolate ( I like 2 – bitter and 4 semisweet) until well blended
d) add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and pour into cooked pie pan*, cover with plastic and set aside.
3) Make your Meringue
a) In a small pan, combine 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/3 cup water and 1 tablespoon sugar. The mixture will thicken after several minutes on the stove stirring constantly. Once thick, emove and allow to cool slightly.
b) Beat your 4 egg whites until frothy, add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar and 1/2 cup of sugar… beat until puffy. Add the cornstarch mixture with a blender at high speed until you can make peaks with the meringue.
4) Assembling your pie
a) heat and spread about 1/4 cup of your favorite berry jam on the bottom of the pie crust*
b) add a small amount 1/2 cup of berries… (I like blueberries) on top of your filling
a) starting at the edge of the pie, add your meringue
5) Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes but keeping checking as not to let the Meringue burn
Now, time to enjoy!