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CHOCOLATE MERINGUE PIE

Ingredients:
Pie shell, pierce bottom and sides with a fork. Bake at 425 degrees
1 scant cup white sugar
4 very slightly more than level tbls cornstarch
4 heaping tbls cocoa powder
1/2 cup cold water
4-5 large eggs, separated. (Be very careful not to get any yoke or shell in the whites)
2 1/4 cups boiling water
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1-2 tbls white sugar
1 tbls cold water

Blend sugar, cornstarch and cocoa well in a heavy bottom cook pot. Add cold water and whisk until smooth. Beat egg yolks, then add to cocoa mix. Heat water in tea kettle until it boils. Place coca mix on medium heat and slowly pour in boiling water, whisking constantly. When mix starts to bubble and clarify, remove from heat and add vanilla. The custard should be thickened but pour easily.

Clear a spot in your freezer that will not be damaged by hot pot. Place pot inside to expedite cooling process. In about ten minutes, stir so no film will form on top. Keep checking/stirring until you can stick a finger into the custard without discomfort. In cooling, the custard should thicken considerably. When custard reaches this state, pour it into the baked pie shell and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight. Store egg whites in a mixing bowl and cover/refrigerate them also.

To make meringue, beat whites at high speed until they start to thicken. Add cream of tartar, 1-2 tbls sugar and 1 tbls water. Continue beating until whites form stiff peaks. Use a plain table knife or small spatula to top pie with meringue. Don't smooth it, just distribute it evenly with peaks for a better texture. Place pie in a 350 degree oven for 3-5 minutes, watching and turning it so it browns evenly. Remove it from oven and place on a cooling rack. Then refrigerate until you wish to serve it.

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