Dad’s favorite chocolate pie

What better gift for Father's Day than to make Dad his favorite dessert?

Three Many Cooks
Fresh chocolate pie topped with a light meringue.

Dear Dad,

Offspring are typically a balanced blend of both parents, but we all know I’m way more you than Mom. On this Father’s Day I’m especially grateful for all you’ve passed on to me.

You taught me to fish. With that Boston Whaler of yours we spent weekends snaking through swampy rivers and bumping over salty white caps. Thanks for making me bait my own hook.

You didn’t shield me from life. Whether it was taking me to a pig slaughtering or an open-casket funeral, you saw it as a part of life I should experience at an early age.

You let me drive young! When I was really young you let me sit in your lap and steer the wheel.When I was tall enough to reach the pedals you let me drive on deserted country roads. The day I got my license, we were both proud as I confidently pulled out of the driveway.

You loved a little naughty. We all know that my reputation for salty jokes and colorful language most definitely didn’t come from Mom. I’m afraid you’re gonna have to take credit for this one.

You demanded my best. I remember the report card with one B too many. Never again! Oh, and thanks for not paying me for my A’s.

You knew the difference between the week and the weekend. As an entrepreneur in the Internet era, I struggle separating work and pleasure. Thanks to you, I at least know what an eight-hour workday with weekends off looks like.

You taught me to seek work I loved. Because you didn’t love yours so much, you wanted to make sure I did. Many thanks for this.

You exemplified faithfulness in relationships. Mom says your marriage “gets sweeter and sweeter every day.” Neither of us buys the every day part, but a good marriage does get sweeter over time. Thank you for nearly 64 sweet years with Mom.

You passed on your love of the grill. From you I gained confidence with both charcoal and gas. I also loved our grill talks. It was there we could speak freely and honestly as you brushed the chicken and flipped the ribs.

You taught me to love good food with gusto. I happily struggle with weight in exchange for my love of great food. That, dear Dad, I owe to you.

Dad’s Favorite Chocolate Pie

1 9-inch pre-baked pie shell
10 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch, divided
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Pinch salt
5 large eggs, separated
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
1 cup whole or 2 percent milk
4 ounces bitter- or semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped or broken
2 tablespoons butter
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Prepare and bake pie shell; set aside.

Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Whisk 10 tablespoons of the sugar, 1/4 cup of the cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk in yolks, and then immediately, but gradually whisk in milks. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently at first, and then constantly as mixture starts to thicken and begins to sputter, 8 to 10 minutes. Whisk chocolate and butter into thickened pudding until melted, about 1 minute longer; off heat stir in 1 teaspoon of the vanilla.

Meanwhile, bring remaining 1 tablespoons of cornstarch and 1/3 cup water to a thick, sputtery, translucent state in a small saucepan, whisking occasionally at first and constantly as mixture thickens. Remove from heat and let cool slightly while beating whites.

Beat egg whites, cream of tarter, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla until frothy. Gradually beat in remaining 1/2 cup of sugar until incorporated and mixture forms soft peaks. Dollop in warm cornstarch mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time; continue to beat meringue to stiff peaks.

Pour warm chocolate filling into pie shell. Using a rubber spatula immediately distribute and then spread meringue evenly over pie, making sure it attaches to piecrust to prevent shrinking. Use a spoon to create peaks all over meringue. Bake pie until meringue is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Pam Anderson blogs with her daughters at Three Many Cooks.

Related post: Fresh Strawberry Pie

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