Friday, March 1, 2013

Chocolate Cream Meringue Pie Like Mama Used to Make

I am updating this post today 3/25/2013 about the pie my mother-in-law used to make  to link up to   Jessica at for her "A New Creation" Link Party.

My husband, Glenn, celebrated a birthday last week. He received a very special surprise from his sweet sister, Sharon, who brought by an absolutely gorgeous and delicious Chocolate Meringue Pie.  The story behind this pie goes back some forty or fifty years to the days when their mother was still living and Glenn was a young teenager. She passed away when only in her early fifties. She was a special lady and a wonderful cook, as was my husband's father. I was truly blessed to have known both of them to have shared many good times in their lovely home. Meals with them were always such warm and wonderful gatherings, where good food was abundant. Great meals with them were not limited to holidays and there was always some fabulous dessert at the end of a meal made by Mama. You see, my mother-in-law had a sweet tooth and was especially fond of making desserts and baking. The thing is, Glenn, who inherited her sweet tooth,  loved the Chocolate Meringue Pie she used to make more than any other dessert. We all thought this pie was special, but Glenn was so fond of it that when she made the pie, she would always make two, one for Glenn and one for the rest of the family.

His mother had told me this story and I've heard it many times over the years since she passed away. He would eat every bite and didn't have to share his pie with anyone.

When this wonderful lady passed away, so young, so suddenly and unexpectedly, none of us had thought to ask what recipe she had used to make this coveted pie. Sharon had been trying to find the recipe for years. We had all scoured through the hand-written and clipped recipes she left behind, to no avail. Not long ago, Sharon was thumbing through her old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, which she has owned since she married, about forty-two years ago. She came across a recipe for Vanilla Cream Pie on page 236 of the book. Below the Vanilla Cream Pie  recipe was a variation for Chocolate Cream Pie. The light went off in her head. This was Mama's recipe! She had used the Chocolate version of the Vanilla Cream Pie! You see, their mother had owned this same cookbook and her copy had been passed down to younger sister, Janet, and it was lost in a fire at her apartment, over twenty years ago. Like many other young women of the day, I had also owned a copy of this cookbook, but I used mine so much in the early years of our marriage that it literally fell apart and disintegrated. I suppose it was because my mother-in-law's book was gone, none of us had thought about it as the source. Sharon decided to try the recipe to see if she was right. She made two, one for her family and one for Glenn, just like Mama used to do. I was allowed a small piece and sweet memories came flooding back as if I were still a newlywed, enjoying those precious times spent with those two loving and beloved people. How wonderful it was!

Look at this meringue! The meringue recipe is on page 234 of this same old cookbook. It is fabulously tall, fluffy as a cloud and divinely scrumptious! 

The following is the recipe for Vanilla Cream Pie ( including Chocolate Cream Version) and for Meringue, as taken from Better Homes and Gardens. I am referring to the pages in the cookbook, so as to give credit for its origin. Here's a tip worth noting: Prepare the  Meringue before you make chocolate pie filling, as you will want to spread it onto the filling while the filling is still hot (this helps to form a seal on top of the filling).  So as not to complicate the process, I'm giving you the Meringue recipe first.


For one 9-inch pie

3 egg whites(save yolks to use in pie filling)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons sugar

Beat egg whites with vanilla and cream of tartar till soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating till stiff and glossy peaks form and all sugar is dissolved. Spread meringue over hot filling, sealing to edge of pastry. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, or till meringue is golden. Cool.

Vanilla Cream Pie 


3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour or 3 tablespoons cornstarch
                                                           1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
3 slightly beaten egg yolks(saved from the eggs used in making the meringue)
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1  9-inch baked pastry shell (a purchased frozen shell was used for this pie or you can make your own)

In saucepan, combine sugar, flour, and salt; gradually stir in milk(see instructions below to add chocolate for Chocolate Cream Pie). Cook and stir over medium heat till bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir small amount hot mixture into slightly beaten yolks; immediately return to hot mixture; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla. Pour into baked and cooled pastry shell. Spread meringue atop pie and bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool before cutting the pie.

To make the Chocolate Cream version do the following:

Chocolate Cream Pie

Prepare as for Vanilla Cream Pie, increasing sugar to 1 cup. Chop two 1-ounce unsweetened chocolate; add with milk.

This creamy and delicious pie is well worth the extra time it takes to prepare. It is absolutely delicious! 


My Garden Diaries said...

You have brought me to tears with this sweet story!!! I loved every bit of it and how special that she would make him his own...what wonderful memories!!! When my grandmother passed my uncle misplaced her hand written cookbook. We have all been practicing different things to try to make them like Grams. I guess it is a lesson to us all to take time to learn these recipes from our loved ones so that we can pass them on!!! I will be trying this one!!!

lynn cockrell said...

Nicole, I'm so glad to hear from you and glad that you enjoyed my "trip down memory lane." I have to admit that I was crying when I did this post. I miss my husband's parents and mine, too, so very much. I had the same thoughts as I posted, that we should not take for granted even one moment in time because we are not promised the next moment. I hope you will be able to locate your Gram's cookbook. What a treasure that would be! If you try this pie, I hope you'll enjoy it. It is so worth the effort! God bless you.

Patty said...

Wow - what a wonderful story. So glad you found the recipe. I am going to pin this so I can make it too! It looks so delicious! Glad you got a little piece!

Shannon @ A Cozy Place Called Home said...

That is one delicious looking pie! I am a chocolate lover so now I will be thinking about that pie all day. Ha ha. The story about the recipe is very touching. I am sure your husband appreciated his special gift.

Jann Olson said...

Hi Lynn,
Can you believe that this is the exact same recipe that I have of my sweet MIL's. She gave it to me when we were newlyweds. She has passed away, but I make the coconut cream variety all the time. Her recipe is for Vanilla Cream Pie and then on the back she tells how to make chocolate or coconut. Believe it or not, I am not a chocolate lover, but my hubby loved her chocolate cream pie. That meringue is amazing. I am sure that this pie made your hubby's birthday wonderful!

lynn cockrell said...

I'm so glad you stopped by, Shannon. I love chocolate, too, but not as much as my husband. It truly was sweet of his sister to think of him in this way and he really was surprised and very touched when he came home and saw it sitting there. She could not have done anything more special and thoughtful.

lynn cockrell said...

How sweet of you to comment on my post about this special pie! It was wonderful to hear you use the same basic recipe often for your pies. I tell you, that BH&G cookbook was definitely one of the most(if not the most)popular cookbooks of the day. It is probably one of the main reasons(and I say this with much humility)I turned out to be a decent cook today. I referred to the book, often, because of the cooking methods for every day things and getting to know cooking terms. I was so sorry when my copy fell apart and I had to let it go. I had not remembered the chocolate version of the vanilla custard pie, however, until Sharon gave me the pages to copy and I don't remember trying either version. I do remember, however, making the lemon meringue pie which used the same meringue recipe as the vanilla and chocolate and coconut. I like the chocolate, but I love lemon meringue, so since that recipe is right there with the meringue,I might just have to try it again soon. You can't beat those old-time recipes, for sure.

Debbie@Debbie-Dabble and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

I apologize as I am late in replying to my comments...... Trying to get the house decorated for Easter and some Spring cleaning too....

That pie looks amazing and I bet it tastes amazing.
Thanks so much for always stopping by!! I could not beieve everything that I got in the bag for 2 bucks!!! It was like Christmas morning and I was a kid again as I went through that bag!!


lynn cockrell said...

Hi, Debbie! I went to our local Hobby Lobby on Saturday. It's the only real craft/design store we have left in Aiken. I was hoping to find some wonderful deals, especially after I got inspired by your post! That was a great find. They had no Valentine left and the SPI was only 30% off, so I'm going to try to make it back next week before everything gets away from me.I did find a couple of bags(12 each)of white(haven't ever seen white ones)plastic eggs for about 50 cents ea. I'm going to cover those with something--not sure what yet. I'll get my Rachel to help with those, I think she will like that. I can't wait to see all your great Easter decor. Have fun getting ready for Easter! Lynn

Maria Nazareth said...

Hi Lynn,
I really liked your pie and wish i could bake one too
I have nominated your lovely blog for a Liebster Award. Read all about it on my blog at
I do hope you visit me
Love Maria

Christine Graves said...

That looks positively scrumptious!

Jessica @ A Humble Creation said...

Lynn, I'm so glad you joined my party!! I was wondering if you might; probably should have just invited you, but I didn't want you to feel pressured.

I don't know how I missed this post the first time, but I so enjoyed it! What a lovely story about the pie. Such a blessing that the recipe was discovered and the tradition can be carried on. Thanks for sharing with all of us. I'm going to check my BHG cookbook too!

lynn cockrell said...

Thanks, Patty! I don't know how I missed your comment before. Thanks for your comments! Bless you for stopping by!

lynn cockrell said...

Maria, I thought I had replied to your sweet comments earlier, but maybe I missed it. Thanks so much for stopping by and thanks for nominating me for the Liebstar Award. Believe it or not, I am slowly putting together a post about it, which I hope to publish over the weekend. Thanks again for your graciousness. May you be blessed!

lynn cockrell said...

Thanks so much, Jessica! I think you were one of the first people to visit my little blog and I just love your blog, so I wanted yours to be the first party I linked up to. So far, yours is the first and only party I've joined. It is fun, but I don't know how so many bloggers, including you, manage to do so much. Many thanks for your always candid, helpful and sweet comments and posts! Bless you for being the good person you are.

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