{recipe} Southern Chocolate Pie

I've been making a few variations of my grandmothers original southern chocolate pie for about 10 years. I started young with the original recipe {15-20 years ago}, flopped it forever, made a few tiny adjustments and finally got the hang of it as an adult. Now, I'm a pie master just like my grandma. Cooking and baking are two completely different animals all together. I'm a natural cook and a forced, try oh so hard, baker - but I can bake baby! It may sound completely against feminism, but nothing makes me feel more like an accomplished, on top of the world REAL woman, like tackling and mastering a pie from scratch.

Extra Supplies
Besides the usual bowls, spoons, etc...you will need:
9 or 9.5 inch glass pie pan
Rolling pin
Double boiler

Pie Crust
1 and 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chilled vegetable shortening
3 tablespoons super ice cold water

Pie Filling
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
3/4 cups of sugar
5 tablespoons of flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 and 1/2 cups of milk
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon of butter

Meringue Topping
2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon of salt
4 tablespoons of sugar

Pie Crust
Blend flour and salt in a large bowl. Add chilled vegetable shortening. I use my hands to incorporate the flour and shortening together. Try not to handle the mixture too much because it will make for a less flaky and a more bready crust. When it's almost completely mixed, add the 3 tablespoons ice water and continue folding and mixing with your hands until it's a nice ball of dough. Wrap in saran wrap and place in the fridge for 1 hour for extra easy handling.

Move oven rack to the lower 1/3 of oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Flour the surface of your counter where you intend to roll out your pie crust. Roll your pie crust into an 11 inch diameter circle to fit your 9 or 9.5 inch pie pan. My SECRET TIP: Gently and lightly fold your pie crust in half and in half again, line the pie crust up in an exact 1/4 of the pie pan, unfold once to cover 1/2 the pie pan and unfold the last half to cover the whole pie pan. Don't press your crust into the pan. Gently make sure it is laying in the pan - pressing in will make it fall apart and hard to remove when cutting the pie later. Trim the extra to fit how you would like it and adorn the edges if you wish. Poke the bottom and sides of the pie crust 50 times or more to prevent blistering and rising during the baking process. Bake in your preheated oven 10-15 minutes or until edges are brown and bottom is golden brown. Set aside and turn oven down to 350 degrees.

Pie Filling
Mix the flour, sugar, salt and cocoa in the top portion of your double boiler. Mix the egg yolks and milk in a separate bowl. Poor wet mixture into the dry mixture with a whisk and whisk over double boiler, cooking until it becomes thick - like the consistency of thick pudding. This takes about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla and set aside.

Meringue Topping
Beat the egg whites with the salt until it forms soft peaks. Add the sugar and beat a little more until just mixed.

The Finale
Mix the pie filling well and pour into the pre-baked crust. Pour the meringue topping right on top of the chocolate filling layer. Put into the oven that is now at 350 degrees and bake until the meringue topping is golden brown - about 10-15 minutes. Remove pie from oven and set out to cool. You can serve warm after it cools for an hour or cool after it cools for 3 hours. After 3 hours, cover with saran wrap and store in the fridge. You can serve chilled from there on out. Enjoy!

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