oh, hi. hello there.

by Joanna

Last week we celebrated my 30th birthday by traipsing up to Kansas. All I wanted, gift-wise, was cool Fall weather and Mom’s Chocolate Meringue Pie, and to my delight I came away with both! It was such a nice several days. We drank hot chocolate, played Clue (my parents have the original game from the ’40s, which is just the most swell version!), thrifted a bit, made plum jam, and on our final night there it got cold enough to justify building a fire in the fireplace. Really, we couldn’t have asked for a nicer time. When we arrived back at home, that nifty Black Apple print up there was waiting for me in the mail – just one final cherry-on-top-gift from John! I’ve loved her work for ever so long, and so of course was thrilled to get it. If you want to fawn over it or even snatch up some things for yourself you can do so here.

And now here is a gift from me to you: the recipe for Mom’s Chocolate Meringue Pie. This pie is a staple in the King household for Thanksgivings, Christmases, and, more recently, for some of our birthdays. When the whole family is together, Mom has to make at least two or three of these pies in addition to the pumpkin variety (who needs it?), and sometimes people are still fighting for the last piece. Over the years we’ve gone back and forth between a multitude of pie crust recipes, and I personally do not have a favorite. You can use the recipe I’m including, your own favorite recipe, or run over here for recipes plus some tips for making it a perfect crust no matter what recipe you go with. As long as you make the crust you’ll make a great pie. Just absolutely do not, under any circumstances, use the boxed variety. Are we clear on that? Trust me. Don’t do it. The year we tried that (“think how much time we’ll save!”), not one of us wanted to eat the pie.

Pie Crust

makes 3 single crusts

3 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups very cold butter, cut into small pieces

1 tsp salt

1 egg, well beaten

6 Tbsp water

1/4 cup sugar

Combine flour, salt and sugar. Cut butter into flour mixture. Combine egg and water. Pour liquid into flour mixture all at once. Blend with a spoon just until flour is all moistened. Divide into thirds. Roll out each and place in pie plate. Freeze crust for at least 30 minutes. Line crust with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, cool for a few minutes, then remove the pie weights and aluminum foil. Using a fork, poke holes in the bottom of the crust. Cook an additional 10 minutes without the pie weights, until the crust is a nice golden brown.

Chocolate Pie Filling

Quantities listed are for one pie (2 pies) (3 pies)

1 cup sugar (1 1/4) (1 1/2)

2 2/3 cup milk (3 1/3) (4)

4 Tbsp corn syrup (5) (6)

6 Tbsp cocoa (7) (9)

4 egg yolks (5) (6) – reserve egg whites for meringue

4 Tbsp flour (5) (6)

1 tsp vanilla (1 1/4) (1 1/2)

Dash of salt (1 1/4 tsp) (1 1/2 tsp)

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thick. Pour into cooked pie shell. Top with meringue (recipe below). Place in hot oven to brown.

Meringue

makes meringue for one pie

4 egg whites at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

1/2 cup sugar

In a large mixing bowl, combine egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed about 1 minute or until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, 1 Tbsp at a time, beating on high speed about 5 minutes more or until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks and the sugar dissolves. Immediately spread meringue over the hot pie filling, carefully sealing to the edge of the pastry to prevent shrinkage. Place pie in a hot oven to brown.

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