1 -1/2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs (about 10-12 whole crackers)
4-6 TB melted butter
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 TB cornstarch
2 cups milk
4 squares bittersweet chocolate, coarsely broken
1/2 tsp vanilla
4 egg whites
1 TB cornstarch
1 TB sugar
1/3 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Prepare graham cracker crumbs by food processor or hand (see Tips from Jane, below). Add melted butter and combine. This will require a few pulses in the food processor or a few seconds mixing by hand in a bowl.
Press the crumbs into a 9-inch pie pan, spreading them evenly over the bottom and sides.
Bake for about 8-10 minutes.
Mix sugar and cornstarch in a small bowl.
Beat egg yolks in a kettle, and then add the sugar/cornstarch and stir well. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly. Heat over medium burner until it is thick; gradually stir in the chocolate and heat until thick and boiling. this will take about 10 minutes or so. Remove from fire, add the vanilla, and pour into prepared pie shell. Cover filling with plastic wrap while you prepare the meringue.
Preheat the oven to 350°F and place oven rack in the middle.
In a small pan, combine the cornstarch, 1 TB sugar, and water. Cook for several minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken and become translucent. Cool.
Beat the egg whites until frothy, then add the vanilla, cream of tartar, and 1/2 cup sugar. Beat until foamy. Add the cornstarch mixture and continue beating until the meringue forms soft peaks; if you lift some with a spoon or spatula, it should form a peak that stands up. The meringue will also look shiny.
Remove the plastic wrap from the pie and spread the meringue carefully over the filling. Start by spreading it around the edges, being sure to seal the edges of the crust. Pile the meringue into the middle of the pie and make some decorative swirls with your spatula.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes. The meringue should be lightly browned. Check it frequently for the last 5-10 minutes to make sure the peaks don’t burn.
Tips from Jane
• Prepare chocolate graham cracker crumbs by one of two methods:
– Coarsely break crackers and place in the food processor. Process with metal blade until finely pulverized
– Place crackers in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin
• You can buy pre-made graham cracker crusts. They tend to be more solid than home made ones and hold their shape better, but they also tend to be higher in fat and include preservatives. The advantage is that you can buy some and keep them in the cupboard for when you need a pie in a hurry.
• You can vary the amount of chocolate to suit your taste. See the Dark Chocolate Meringue Pie recipe for a richer version. If you prefer a sweeter pie, use semi-sweet chocolate instead of bittersweet.