A few weeks ago Mother’s and my friend, Joan, served a chocolate meringue pie after a supper meeting.  Joan reminds me of being with my mother.  She has the prettiest smile and such a warm, loving demeanor. She’s also a great cook.  I asked Joan if she’d be willing to teach me on occasion how to cook her fabulous recipes.  First up was the pie.  I tried one time to make meringue and it was runny and gross.  Joan agreed, came over one morning and we walked step-by-step through her mother’s recipe.  I made tons of notes in the margin so I can hopefully replicate this again on my own.

The first microwaves were as big as a Range Rover, but built to last.

Joan’s mother used to cook the pie filling on the stove.  However, once Amana invented the microwave and housewives all over the world started receiving these ginormous ovens for Christmas, including my mother, the microwave is how she cooks the chocolate custard.

We mixed sugar, salt, cornstarch, flour, cocoa and milk in a large 2 quart glass mixing bowl. Then, we popped it into the microwave for about 3 minutes.

after about 5 minutes of cooking

We checked the custard after two minutes of cooking, whisked it some more, then put it back into the microwave for another three minutes.

While this was happening, I cracked two eggs (saving the white part for the meringue) into a bowl and whisked them.  After the pudding had cooked for a total of five minutes we added a little of the hot mixture to the eggs.  This is called “tempering” — here is a tutorial on how to do it. You never want to dump hot anything into eggs unless you want chunky cooked egg in your pie filling (probably in the 70’s this was popular, but not now unless you want your guests to hurl).  Once the eggs had heated up some, we folded all the yolks into the pudding and put the mixture back into the microwave for 1-2 minutes.  Then, we let it slightly cool on the counter for a few minutes before pouring it into the pie crust.

Side note:  When we ate Joan’s pie for the first time at the supper meeting, we were all going on and on about how flaky and delicious her crust was. Joan could see we were on the verge of asking for the recipe and blurted out, “I didn’t make the crust!  It came from Aldi!”  Since we were in a church meeting…I think she felt Jesus would be a tad disappointed if she fibbed on the crust.  Half the cost of Pillsbury, I may have to stock up on Aldi premade pie crust from now on.

We poured the filling — rich, thick and smelled like chocolate heaven — into a pre-baked pie shell.  Now we made the meringue.

Basically, egg whites, cream of tartar, and sugar.  We beat it with the standing mixer until it held a peak and it was glossy.

Then, topped the pie with clouds of more…heaven.

We popped it into the oven for about 10 minutes until the meringue was a golden brown.

It was gorgeous!  I jumped up and down like a kindergartner I was so excited.  I mean look at it!

Isn’t Joan adorable?  I know Mother would have been so happy to hear us bustling around in the kitchen… and Daddy would be bursting at the seams to have a slice.  It really was so much fun.  The sweetest part of this recipe was the note written at the top by Joan about her mother Margaret Keith Jones.

“Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for JOY, all you upright in heart.”  Psalm 32:11

If one word describes my mother, it would be JOY!  She was filled with joy in her day to day living and was the happiest when those around her found joy.  We all loved her chocolate pie, and I remember her well, standing at the stove beating it with a hand mixer and all of us, waiting to lick the pan and spoon.  I have modified the recipe somewhat but I never make a chocolate pie that my mother is not standing there with me. Enjoy, Joan Morris.

I think both our mothers were with us in the kitchen that morning Joan, finding joy in watching us bake together.

Stay tuned for more of Joan’s School of Yum this spring!