As many of you know my mom has Alzheimer's.
                                                                  (Just FYI, Alzheimer's SUCKS!)
Before Alzheimer's took my sweet Momma from us (she is still alive, but anyone that has lived through Alzheimer's will know what I mean when I say Alzheimer's took my Momma - and sure we still get glimpses of her but it is not the same) she was an amazing cook.  She was a back home, country girl cook and with 10 kids in tow (that's right, that was NOT a typo - I have 9 siblings!) and she could make a meal stretch.  I swear one cup of beans would feed our entire family for a week.  (Oh goodness, I see this post going in a different direction - back on track =  Chocolate Meringue Pie - that is what we are talking about.)  Growing up I LOVED the holidays. We may not have had much in the way of worldly possessions and I may not have loved that meatloaf Momma always cooked, (give me her fried chicken ANY DAY OF THE WEEK!) but when it came to Thanksgiving and Christmas my favorite thing ever was Momma's homemade Chocolate Meringue Pie!   She always made the pies a day or two ahead of time and she would 'hide' them on the washer and dryer.  I would go look at them and ask her if I could PLEASE have a slice, she always said "No, those are for Thanksgiving - you need to wait."  It was TORTURE.

As the years went on and I grew into an adult and moved further and further away from my home and started missing more holidays at home I tried recreating the chocolate pie for my own family.  I remember the first time I tried to make Momma's pie, I was living in Colorado Springs - I called Momma on the phone and she walked me through making the pie, a pinch of this, a pinch of that, and let it bubble, if is not sweet enough just add more sugar, pour in a little more milk....that pie turned out so awful I had to throw it out.  Mom had a talent, I was fearful I did not.   I didn't try to make Momma's chocolate pie for many years to come.  I knew the next time I went home Momma would make one for me.  The years passed, mom made pies for me and I didn't bother learning.  Then one year it was clear to me that I needed to learn, Momma's memory was slipping and she had stopped cooking.  She couldn't remember how to make the pie.  She couldn't even remember what was in the pie.   My sister and I pulled our resources and I started experimenting.  It took a couple of years but I finally did it.  I have recreated Momma's Chocolate Meringue Pie.  Now I cook a little like Momma used, a little of this, a little of that..... but I tried very hard to put everything into measurements for my children so that they to can make "Momma's Chocolate Meringue Pie" for their families some day.

Momma's Chocolate Meringue Pie:

3/4 cup of sugar (a little more or less depending on how sweet you want it)
1/3 cup of flour
sprinkle of salt
2 1/2 cups of milk heated (Momma would say "Scald the milk in a pan on the stove")
3 egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 TBL melted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 pie shell baked (Momma always bought the frozen pie crust that were already in the tin pie pan - I haven't seen those in a LONG time!)

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In cereal type bowl whisk egg yolks (save the whites!)

Put sugar, flour, salt and cocoa in a saucepan over medium heat, gradually whisk in hot milk.  Once all milk is mixed in continue whisking until the mixture starts to thicken.  When mixture thickens add about 1/2 a cup of the cocoa mixture into the egg yolks (in case of curdling you have not lost your entire cocoa mixture!)  and mix.  Once the eggs and cocoa have been mixed well add the egg mixture into the saucepan and continue to whisk until the cocoa mixture start to make big bubbles - continue cooking for about 30 seconds while bubbling.  Remove the cocoa mixture from heat and add the melted butter, chocolate and vanilla - mix well.  Pour into pie shell.

Meringue topping:
3 egg whites
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites on HIGH until they start to thicken and form peaks when you pull the beaters out of the mixture.  Once it starts to thicken gradually add the sugar and vanilla (still on high).  The meringue is ready when you can make firm peaks with the egg whites. 

Add meringue to the top of the chocolate pie, spreading out with a spatula. 

Once the meringue is spread evenly and all of the chocolate pie is covered make peaks. 

The best way I have found (this is the way Momma used to do it too - and I tried many different ways - proving that moms do know best!) is to use a regular ol' kitchen teaspoon.  Using the backside of the spoon gently smack it down on the meringue and pull it up quickly with (only using your wrist) and you will create delicate little peaks (pictured below and above).

I start making the peaks by working my way around the edge and then moving to the center.

When peaks are perfected put this bad boy in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes (give or take a few depending on your oven) or until your peaks a soft brown.
This is the hard part:

Cool the pie at room temperature for NO LESS THAN AN HOUR.  4 hours is better. The chocolate filling needs to set. 
If you CAN'T wait that long go ahead and dig in, it won't be set, but it will still be super YUMMY!

This one wasn't set all the way, but I couldn't wait.
This one was almost fully set:
Either way, it is good.
Just eat it.
This post was about so much more than pie so I am going to continue on with another little story about Chocolate Meringue Pie.

I just like my mom made the pies a day in advance for Thanksgiving.
Just like me, Boy 2 can't resist a good Chocolate Meringue Pie. 
Boy 2 just like me wanted some the night before Thanksgiving.  But just like my mom did when I was little, I told Boy 2 -"No, those are for Thanksgiving - you need to wait." 
Boy 2 couldn't resist and I found this:
Sorry for the bad quality of the picture, I took it with my phone.
Now, I hate to admit this part: 
I yelled at him.
"Why on earth would you do that?  You KNOW these pies are for Thanksgiving!  I can't believe you would do that!"
He ran off crying.
He hid in the bathroom.
I started thinking.
And feeling bad.
It's just a pie.
I hated having to wait for pie at Thanksgiving & Christmas.
After all we are teaching our kids to be thankful for what they have. 
Boy 2 is thankful for pie and he loves his "Momma's homemade Chocolate Meringue Pie". 
I thought to myself "What is the big deal?  Why did I freak out over something so little?"
At that moment I went back into the kitchen (took a picture of the pie with my phone), and then cut a big ol' piece of pie, the piece he stuck his finger in and put it on a plate and went and knocked on the bathroom door.
Through the door I said "I'm sorry I yelled at you, please come out, it's not a big deal, it is just pie and we have 6 of them in the kitchen."
He ignored me.
After a few minutes of pleading with him and telling him over and over how sorry I was, he FINALLY came out of the bathroom.
I hugged him and gave him the piece of pie.
The grin on his face was priceless.

And now a new tradition was born into our home.
I told Boy 2 that I was glad he stuck his finger in the pie because now every year the night before Thanksgiving I want him to find the pie he wants and to stick his finger in it.
When I find the pie he stuck his finger in that will be our Thanksgiving Eve pie.
12/17/2012 10:50:05 am

That looks so yummy and loved the post!!

12/17/2012 10:50:50 am

Such a sweet story. And I love your new Thanksgiving tradition!

Jo Beth
12/17/2012 10:53:21 am

You made me cry. You owe me a pie!

12/17/2012 11:00:02 am

The story about your momma warmed my heart!

12/17/2012 01:12:24 pm

I bet it's not as good as granny's but it looks good

12/18/2012 06:27:40 am

Honestly Chad, I don't think you would be able to tell the difference. I have tried to years to get it 'just right'. :o)

12/17/2012 01:13:01 pm

Omg u made me cry I love granny so much & you r so rite it is hard with her but we do what we have 2 I am goin 2 try 2 make this pie 4 xmas I wich u was here lov u

12/17/2012 01:24:23 pm

This is such a sweet story...It makes me miss my Nana. The hug your Momma gave me this past Spring felt like Home to me. : )

12/17/2012 02:26:53 pm

Quite possibly your best post ever. And that pie looks and sounds amazing!

12/17/2012 02:28:57 pm

My favorite was coconut cream........I love that creamy crunch of the roasted coconut.....I still can't make it as good as mom's....mine is good but not mom's.

12/18/2012 06:28:13 am

I do remember the coconut cream meringue being yours and Tennie's favorite....Doesn't Tennie have Mom's recipe for that one? The other thing I LOVED was Melba's Mississippi Mud. If you have that recipe I would love to have it...

12/18/2012 06:16:27 am

I really miss granny's cooking!! It was amazing! But I do have to say I have a great mom and aunt that can cook just as good! Trish when u talk about granny and food it brings back so many memories I had growing up with granny always there for me. It truly isn't the same anymore but I have to say she can still be pretty fun and crazy just like the good days. I know it hurts u not being here with her but just know she gets to see u a lot. I would get so mad because she called me Trish because I was have fav grandchild not her daughter Trish. Anyway finally I got over that because when I would walk in the door and see that great big smile and come hug me and say Trish how are u doing. I miss u and so happy u came to see me. It just melts my heart to see her so happy That she gets to see her daughter Trish and that just means the world to me just to see her happy. Because she knows sometimes she is losing her memorie an it makes her so mad. So if I can see her happy just thinking I am you then I will be Trish from here on out. I know u truly miss granny and we all miss you so much. I love you so much and I can't wait to start family traditions with my family..

12/18/2012 06:26:38 am

Oh Stacy, you just made me boo-hoo!!
I am sad that I can't be there and see mom, but as I told you before I am glad she thinks that you are me, just make sure you are doing me justice and be as kind as you can to her. Give her hugs and tell her you (I) love her so much and that she has been a great momma. I'm so glad she thinks I am around. Love you dearly my sweet niece.

1/3/2013 03:19:43 pm

I have no idea why...but I am just sitting here crying after reading that! You are such a good Momma and what a sweet tradition to start. I have been there...frustrated because I made the pies and now the whole family wants pie...24 hours too soon! I think I may have found my new tradition too...

1/3/2013 07:54:40 pm

Thank you! I think it is a good tradition that everyone should start. I mean really - who wants to wait 24 hours for pie?

11/24/2013 05:29:27 am

Love you!!!!

Cynthia Romero
11/24/2013 05:47:10 am

Made me shed tears!! Love this story!! Thanks for sharing!!!

11/24/2013 06:47:59 am

You do know chocolate was daddy's favorite also?

11/29/2014 09:58:52 pm

I am bawling. I love that you went and found him and gave him a piece- that is the sweetest, most thoughtful thing I have ever heard! You make the world a beautiful place.

11/17/2016 05:06:05 am

Just like Ma used to make! I love your stories! My Mom's Mom died from complications...but I know it was Alzheimer's too! Love! I can see you offering up your son a big slice! LOVE! :) Hugs!!!

Dawn Farrow
11/17/2016 02:01:24 pm

What a great story, Trish! You are the kind of mom I want to be!

And now I want to try that pie!!


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