Get ready for a blog-a-palooza… Because:
1. I’m behind.
2. I’ve committed myself to make two pies for next Sunday… so it’s on.
Pie #5 was… a doozy… my precious hubby turned 25 nine days ago and he requested a birthday pie. He knows me so well 🙂 I had to nag a specific request out of him but he eventually landed on key lime pie or “Something chocolate. And I want you to try meringue.”
So meringue it was. I landed on a delicious chocolate-pudding pie with meringue. But before I could even dream of pudding and whipped eggs, I had to make a pre-baked pie shell. Easy enough, right? WRONG. I have a new archenemy, and his name is blind baking. Maybe they call it blind baking because the odds are good that you’ll go blind with rage…
I went to my handy dandy butter crust recipe because it’s a) delicious and b) pretty easy and c) I had all the ingredients on hand. I called the Master Baker (Mom.) and she advised me to roll out the crust, line it with foil, fill it with beans, and bake. Now let me tell you, this was not my first rodeo. A few weeks ago I made a pie-who-shall-not-be-named because it was so bad. So. So. Bad. The pre-baked shell could have doubled as a hubcap. My precious father-in-law ate it like a champ and even complimented it. But we all knew it was a fail. So I KNEW I needed some help and Master Baker never lets me down. So carefully following her directions, here’s what I got:
Perfect. It’s not like I wanted a WHOLE pie shell anywho… After a minor birthday-night meltdown complete with crust demolition… I tried again. And attempt # 3? Still ugly. I only lost about 25% of that crust and most of it was on the upper edge so I counted my blessings and moved on. We’ll meet again, blind baking…
I found this recipe for chocolate-pudding pie with meringue and its title sported a kindly Aunt as it’s source; family recipes are always the best, aren’t they?
My pudding stuck a little bit but besides that the recipe was really a piece of cake…er… pie. My very first meringue attempt turned out BEAUTIFULLY and Seth ate no less that 80% of the pie; I’ll take that as a ringing endorsement.
Blind-baked pie shell (I used Martha Stewart’s Butter Crust)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups whole milk
3 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 large eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of fine sea salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
In a bowl, combine the remaining 1 cup of milk, the flour, and cocoa powder in a bowl and whisk thoroughly to combine. Set aside.
Heat the saucepan with the milk-sugar over medium-high heat until simmering. Slowly add the milk-flour mixture and stir to combine. Bring to a boil. Add the egg yolks, whisking constantly, until it returns to a boil. Be SUPER careful, this will burn and stick in the blink of an eye. Once the mixture comes to a boil, add the vanilla and remove it from the heat.
Pour the mixture into the baked pie crust (or whatever’s left of it if you’re me). Set aside.
To make the meringue topping, place the egg whites in a non-reactive bowl (glass or stainless steel- google if you’re unsure!) with a pinch of salt. Add the cream of tartar and, using a hand-held mixer or a stand mixer, whisk on high speed until foamy. Sift over the confectioners’ sugar a little at a time and whisk until the whites are glossy and hold stiff peaks when the whisk is lifted.
To finish the pie, spoon the meringue over the pie, making sure it touches the edges of the pie crust. Bake until golden brown, 3-5 minutes or less. Move to rack to cool completely and set, then serve.