Chocolate meringue pie

Yield: 1 Servings

Measure Ingredient
1 Pie shell, 9"; baked
½ cup Cocoa, Dutch process unsweetened
¼ cup Cornstarch
1½ cup Sugar
¼ teaspoon Salt
3 Egg; separated
2 cups Milk
2 teaspoons Vanilla (not extract)
2 tablespoons Butter
3 Egg white
¼ teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla (not extract)
¼ teaspoon Cream of tartar
1 teaspoon Baking powder
⅔ cup Sugar
Adapted from The Only Texas Cookbook
Linda West Eckhardt
per Sam Waring

MERINGUE

Pie: Combine dry ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir to mix thor- oughly before you add liquids. Now add egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue) and milk and whisk until there are absolutely no lumps. Place directly over medium-low heat, stir CONSTANTLY until the pudding thickens and comes to a plopping boil.

Watch it like a hawk and DON'T TURN UP THE FIRE; at this stage it'll stick and burn at the least provocation! Patience is essential here.

Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and butter. Pour into baked pie shell. Top with meringue. Bake at 325 F. until the meringue browns, 15 to 20 minutes.

Meringue: Beat egg whites and all other ingredients except sugar until foamy. Add sugar, ONE TABLESPOON AT A TIME, while beating vigorously until the whites will hold a firm peak and are satiny looking. Spread meringue over the hot filling, starting with small amounts at the edges and sealing to the crust all around. If you don't make sure the meringue is well stuck to the crust at this stage, it'll shrink and pull away during the baking, which makes a lots less attractive pie. Spread pie with remaining meringue, making hills and valleys.

Adding the sugar a little at a time helps make sure that it dissolves completely, and so helps prevent the meringue from weeping. Also, spreading the meringue over the hot filling helps--I don't know why.

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