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I've always thought the best part of a lemon meringue pie is the topping. Airy and light, it's the perfect foil to an intense, sweet-tart citrus filling. I like how the meringue crackles between your teeth, and how alluringly it browns in pretty swirls when toasted.
When you find something you like in this world, you'd be wise to hang onto it tightly, to enjoy it whenever possible. Such is the lesson I've learned with meringue: Why haven't I been putting it on every dessert? Why relegate it to lemon pie?
I found this recipe from Baker's Chocolate in an old cookbook, and the name alone promised brilliant results: chocolate meringue pie. The filling is a simple chocolate pudding, made with unsweetened baking chocolate instead of cocoa for a richer, more intense flavor. (Just try and resist eating spoonfuls straight from the bowl before the tart is ready. I dare you!)
Instead of sticking with a standard pie crust (which you could do), I made a shortbread crust. Not only is the buttery, rich crust an excellent match for chocolate, but you also need merely to press it into the pan instead of rolling out pie dough.
It also makes the tart reminiscent of a s'more, but far more elegant. That, in addition to this tart being easy to make ahead of time, means it should be moved to the top of your dessert list. And it will convert any lemon meringue pie lover to the chocolate camp.
For the crust
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
For the filling + topping
- 1 1/2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
- 2 eggs, separated
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar, divided into 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon butter