I was watching an episode of Cook's Country and was pleasantly surprised when they featured a pie I'd never heard of - Chocolate Angel Pie. Instead of a traditional pastry crust, the vintage recipe calls for a crisp meringue shell to hold the chocolate custard filling that is then generously topped with fluffy whipped cream. What I love about this recipe is not only is it kitchen-tested but you also get those often undisclosed but helpful tips that can make or break a great dessert. For instance, did you know that the trick to preventing baked meringue from sticking to your pie plate is to use a double dose of cornstarch - first in the egg whites and then as coating for the pie plate? Or that confectioner's sugar helps whipped cream to hold its fluffy shape? I can tell you stories about the countless times I've tried a new recipe only to have it fail miserably. I can guarantee this recipe is full-proof. Happy baking!
Chocolate Angel Pie
9 ounces milk chocolate, chopped fine
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 1/4 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 tablespoon cornstarch, plus extra for pie plate
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large egg whites
pinch cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups heavy cream, chilled
2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
unsweetened cocoa powder
- FOR THE FILLING: Microwave milk chocolate and bittersweet chocolate in large bowl at 50 percent power, stirring occasionally, until melted, 2 to 4 minutes. Whisk egg yolks, sugar, and salt together in medium bowl until combined, about 1 minute. Bring half-and-half to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Whisking constantly, slowly add hot half-and-half to egg yolk mixture in 2 additions until incorporated. Return half-and-half mixture to now-empty saucepan and cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until thickened slightly, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir half-and-half mixture into melted chocolate until combined. Let cool slightly, about 8 minutes.
- Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip cream on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. Gently whisk one-third of whipped cream into cooled chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or until ready to assemble pie. (Filling can be made up to 24 hours in advance.)
- FOR THE MERINGUE CRUST: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 275 degrees. Grease 9-inch pie plate and dust well with extra cornstarch, using pastry brush to distribute evenly. Combine sugar and 1 tablespoon cornstarch in bowl. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium-high and whip whites to soft, billowy mounds, 1 to 3 minutes. Gradually add sugar mixture and whip until glossy, stiff peaks form, 3 to 5 minutes. Add vanilla to meringue and whip until incorporated.
- Spread meringue into prepared pie plate, following contours of plate to cover bottom, sides, and edges. Bake for 1½ hours. Rotate pie plate, reduce oven temperature to 200 degrees, and bake until completely dried out, about 1 hour longer. (Shell will rise above rim of pie plate; some cracking is OK.) Let cool completely, about 30 minutes.
- FOR THE TOPPING: Spoon cooled chocolate filling into cavity of pie shell, distributing evenly. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip cream and sugar on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until stiff peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. Spread whipped cream evenly over chocolate. Refrigerate until filling is set, about 1 hour. Dust with cocoa. Slice with sharp knife and serve.
Don't make this mistake: Busted Crust
The egg white crust is part of what distinguishes angel pie. To avoid a sticky, broken meringue shell, we added cornstarch to the whites, and we greased the pie plate and dusted it with more cornstarch. We also figured out the ideal baking time and temperatures to ensure that the interior and exterior of the meringue cooked properly.