Saturday, November 24, 2012

Chocolate Angel Pie Revisited

If ever there was a recipe that deserved a re-post, it is this one--my favorite pie, my daughter's favorite pie, and the only pie I have ever seen my brother-in-law eat. Even my husband, who abhors meringue, savors every bit of the creamy chocolate filling and real whipped cream topping, all the while saving the meringue crust for my daughter. This pie is a tradition for me. My sister learned how to make one from her mother-in-law and promptly taught me. It has graced every Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas celebration in our family for over thirty years. What is this amazing pie? Chocolate Angel Pie.

The recipe that I am going to share is the very same one that I have made for over 30 years. I've strayed from the original just a few times...using the occasional pasteurized egg, meringue powder, or a splash of Kahlua. It has never failed me. Let me begin...

Chocolate Angel Pie

4 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 t. cream of tartar
1 cup sugar

1 cup chocolate chips
4 egg yolks*
1 t. vanilla (try using a tablespoon of Kahluha instead)
2 egg whites, stiffly beaten
1 (8 oz) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

1 cup heavy whipping cream 
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Chocolate curls or shavings for garnish

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F; grease a 9" or 10" glass pie plate or spray with cooking spray.

Beat 4 egg whites until stiff, but not dry, adding cream of tartar. Add sugar gradually, beating until stiff and glossy. Spread meringue in pie plate, making a "well" in the middle for filling. Bake in 300 degree oven for 1 hour. Turn off heat and keep meringue in oven for at least one hour or overnight.

Greasing the pie plate is essential if you eventually want to get the crust out.

Put chocolate chips in medium sized microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute to 1 minute and 20 seconds (be careful not to burn them--the chips will retain their shape). Add egg yolks and beat with electric mixer until smooth. Let chocolate mixture cool slightly, then add vanilla. Fold in beaten egg whites, and then thawed whipped topping, mixing well.

The egg whites that are added to the filling help to give it volume. If you are concerned about raw eggs, skip this step or use powdered meringue.

Pour filling into pie shell, cover with plastic wrap and chill for several hours.

Just before serving, whip whipping cream with 1 T. powdered sugar and spread over the top of the pie. Garnish with chocolate curls, if desired.

*If you are concerned about using uncooked eggs, use pasteurized egg yolks for the filling and leave out the two beaten egg whites. It is not recommended to use the pasteurized whites for making the meringue crust (they won't get stiff).

Use a potato peeler on a bar of chocolate to make the curls.

It's interesting how recipes change over the years. The original recipe came from my brother-in-law's family and it doesn't use frozen whipped topping. My sister changed that back in the 70's because her filling didn't set up as well with just the whipped cream. I like this addition because it's not as heavy as using the yolks and the whipped cream--plus it's how I learned the recipe. These days, it isn't always safe to use eggs that aren't cooked completely. For myself, I use the recipe as is, unless I'm making it for work or for people I know might be at risk for eating a rare contaminated egg. For me, it's worth it to use three different egg sources to keep the integrity of the recipe: regular egg whites for the crust, pasteurized egg yolks for the filling, and powdered egg whites for the filling. Omitting the egg whites in the filling is probably ok, but I think it gives the filling some lift.

Happy Holiday Baking!