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! 

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