Well, I made it. I have been settling in to my new job and readjusting to life on the Great Plains. There have been a few things that are notably different. I had forgotten how much the wind blows, and I am pleasantly surprised by how few honking horns I’ve heard.
By far, the best thing about being back in Kansas is being able to easily connect with and spend time with family. In honor of that, I thought I would visit my grandmother’s recipes to choose one for my first Kansas post.
I love working from old recipes. They are worn, spattered, often contain measurements like “speck of salt,” and vague directions such as “cook until done.” But best of all, they are in my grandmother’s handwriting.
This Chocolate Pie recipe is actually my great-grandmother’s. I mentioned I was thinking about making it when my aunt and uncle stopped by last weekend. “Oh, I’ve never had a chocolate pie as good as Grandma’s,” my aunt said. She encouraged me to make it while reminiscing about how her grandma, my great-grandmother, made chocolate pies that were not so rich and dense with chocolate. Everyone in the room agreed that they were delicious
That secured it, and I knew I would be making this chocolate pie. Having never eaten the pie, I had to consult some sources to learn how to make it given the limited direction the recipe gives. The recipe offers a list of ingredients with these simple instructions: after cooked add 1 teaspoon vanilla, some butter. After chatting with my aunt, my mom, and consulting some other similar recipes I set out. This is the recipe just as my grandmother wrote it. Below, I add some thoughts on the process.
Chocolate Pie (Mom’s)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 cups milk
- 2 eggs
- 1 heaping tablespoon of cocoa
- speck of salt
After cooked add: 1 teaspoon vanilla, some butter.
What I suggest:
1. Blind bake a pie crust (use a fork to poke holes around the crust so it doesn’t bubble and poof and bake it without any filling), and set it aside.
2. Add all of the ingredients except vanilla and butter to a saucepan.
3. Whisk to combine.
4. Cook over medium high heat until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken.
5. Reduce heat to medium or medium low and, while whisking, continue to cook until it reaches the desired consistency.
6. Once the mixture reaches a consistency you like, pour it into the prepared pie crust and smooth the top.
At this point, you could be done. Or, you could add whipped cream and some chocolate shavings or mini chocolate chips to make it pretty. Or, you can do what I did, and what my great-grandmother did, and add a meringue.
- 4 egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons of sugar
7. Beat the egg whites and salt until foamy.
8. Add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until the meringue is fluffy and holds peaks.
9. Spread the meringue over the pie and create any design you like. Swirls or peaks, whatever floats your boat. I did peaks here by touching a spatula to the meringue and lifting up.
10. Bake at 350 until the meringue is golden brown.