Martha Webb’s West Tennessee (The Best) Chocolate Meringue Pie

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 Although I have eaten fancier, more complicated chocolate desserts in my lifetime in cities and countries far and wide…none is as dear to my heart and palate as a dark chocolate pie with a fluffy meringue browned just right.

This was my favorite pie of my West Tennessee childhood. My mother, Grandmother, Aunts, Mother’s of friends all seemed to bake this classic pie with ease. My Mother’s was my favorite as she added just a bit more cocoa to make the filling darker and richer.

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Alas, there are no hastily written nor carefully scribed recipes left to me from Mother, nor my grandmother…no splattered, tattered scrapes of paper!

But life can have so many  intriguing twists and turns and one is that I often work with  fabulous food photographer, Stephanie Mullins, who happens to be from West Tennessee…as is her Grandmother, Martha Webb…and Martha Webb has a chocolate meringue pie recipe that is the mirror of Mother’s!

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A couple of years ago Stephanie made a recipe book of some of her family’s recipes. She gave me one and this Holiday season I made chocolate meringue pies for my family using Martha Webb’s recipe with a few small changes.  Thanks Martha for the recipe and Stephanie for sharing with me.

Big pie, wee pies, medium size pies…crust “blind baked” cooling and ready to fill. Blind baked simply means to pre-bake the pie crust before filling. This works especially well with pudding or custard fillings keeping the crust from getting soggy. For a video how-to from Fine Cooking Magazine go here.

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Chocolate filling ingredients measured and ready….

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…a rich, dark pudding….

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..poured into pie shells to cool.

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All topped with fluffy meringue.

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Before………………………..After baking.

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Martha Webb's West Tennessee Chocolate Meringue Pie

  • Servings: 6
  • Print

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Ingredients:

  • 6 Tbsp cocoa powder
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 large egg yolks (set whites aside for meringue)
  • 1 cup sugar + extra for meringue
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1  9″ pie crust blind baked and cooled

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl whisk together flour & cocoa. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan whisk together the egg yolks and 1 cup sugar with just a bit of the milk until blended.
  3. Gradually whisk the flour-cocoa mixture into the yolk-sugar-milk mixture.
  4. Set saucepan over medium-high heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.
  5. Slowly add the remaining milk, stirring with the whisk until the mixture thickens into a chocolate pudding. Be patient as this might take a bit of time, but well worth it…about 10-12 minutes.
  6. Add butter and whisk until fully melted and incorporated into the pudding. Remove from  heat.
  7. Fill pie crust with pudding mixture. Set aside to cool a bit while you make the meringue. Preheat oven to 350 degrees for meringue.
  8. Place egg whites in a clean dry mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer beat whites until fluffy and airy. Halfway through slowly sprinkle sugar by tablespoons over the whites with mixer running. Continue adding sugar and mixing until soft, fluffy peaks form.
  9. Scrape meringue onto pie spreading out to the edge of the crusts completely covering the pie filling.
  10. Place pie on a sheet pan and bake in oven until meringue is golden brown on the tips. Remove from oven and let cool for at least an hour before serving.

Recipe adapted from original. Teresa Blackburn    http://teresablackburnfoodstyling.com

 

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27 thoughts on “Martha Webb’s West Tennessee (The Best) Chocolate Meringue Pie

  1. That mile high meringue is just so seductive Teresa and your photos jaw dropping gorgeous! Old recipes with a story are the best. I bet your mom and grandmother would think you nailed the recipe and even improved on it!

  2. That’s the pie my mother made almost every week. Actually she made 2 on the weekend. We had 1 for Sunday dinner, then ate the other 1 over the next week–at breakfast with oatmeal! Chocolate meringue pie is truly a breakfast of champions. Beautiful photos. I need some chocolate meringue pie now! Happy New Year!

    1. Candace I had been obsessed with making this kind of pie for the past year or so…Stephanie’s Grandmother had the same recipe as Mother….and your Mother….etc…just the best ever. Make one….it will create a sense of well being and happiness. Happy New Year to you too.

  3. darn, i wish we lived closer…..looks amazing….i can only imagine the wonderfulness of west tennessee chocolate meringue pie!!!

    1. Hi Jenny, I am not sure what part of the country you live in, but I live in a rather humid area of the South and humidity is one problem when it comes to making meringues. Dry days are best for making meringues as opposed to very humid days is one thing to help you make a lofty and sturdy meringue for a pie.
      The other thing is to make sure to put the whipped meringue onto a hot filling instead of a cold one. The hot filling against the whites will help them “cook” to the surface.
      Another reason for weeping meringues can be overcooking them. So the check list is to make a meringue on a low-humidity, dry day, put on top of a hot filling and do not overcook. Give this a try and let me know how your meringue turns out. Thank you and Happy New Year.

      1. Thank you for this information. I will definitely take all that in consideration when I make your chocolate meringue pie. And by the way……I live in Decatur County in Tennessee, which is West Tennessee as well. We might just be neighbors!!! Thank you again and Happy New Year!

  4. My Western Kentucky grandmother made her chocolate meringue pie with cocoa, too. I haven’t had one in years, but I can still taste it in my mind. Happy new year!

    1. Michelle, thanks for stopping by. This recipe seems to be particularly Southern…every person I have talked to from Western Kentucky and West Tennesse has knowledge of this simple and delicious recipe. Happy New Years Day.

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