Combine 2.25c milk, 1.25c sugar, 0.33c cornstarch, 2oz chopped chocolate*, 3 egg yolks (save the whites!), and a quarter-teaspoon of salt in a large saucepan. Whisk constantly over medium heat until uniformly chocolate-brown and boiling, then cook for two minutes more. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour into a cooled 9-inch pie shell and top with cinnamon meringue. Bake 8-10 minutes @ 350° until meringue is lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack and serve either barely warm or chilled (don't cover it in the fridge).
Cinnamon Meringue: Beat three room-temperature egg whites and 1/4 tsp cream of tartar to soft peaks. Add in a mixture of 0.25c sugar and one half-teaspoon of cinnamon, a little at a time, beating until incorporated. The meringue should end up thick, glossy, and not dry.
For everything that went wrong with the Coconut Cream Pie, this pie was a cinch to put together. The filling cooks up in short order to create the Best. Chocolate Pudding. Ever. In fact, whenever you hear "cream pie" just substitute "pudding pie" in your brain, although "cream pie" sounds more civilized. Seriously, I think I'm going to look up this recipe for the next time I'm in a pudding mood. Forget the crust - just give me a pan of filling, a spoon, and ten minutes to myself. I wonder how it would be with butterscotch chips or cinnamon chips or different extracts besides vanilla (rum? almond? mint?)
|Anyone else thinking of Bill Cosby?|
Once the filling is cooked, the pie is nearly done. The shell is pre-baked, so it's a matter of dump and go - no baking of the filling. Whip up the meringue, which is stunning with the little flecks of cinnamon, spread it on top (so much easier when the filling sets up!), and run it into the oven just to make the meringue look irresistible.
The smell of cinnamon when this comes out is great. After cooling, slice up the pie (I suggest twelfths - plenty of pie in a portion) and enjoy the spicy foaminess of the meringue with the unctuousness of the chocolate pudding filling. Really, the crust is just there to hold it all in on this one.
I think we may have a new favorite around here, but I'll have to make it again to check. ;-)
*Need I mention that the better the chocolate, the better the chocolate cream/pudding? That said, if all you have lying around the pantry are Toll House morsels, go for it! You won't be sorry.
Next time: The "Opposite" of Chocolate