Friday, September 26, 2008

Chocolate Meringue Pie

I got this recipe from a cookbook that my grandmother gave me when I was 16.

1 baked pie shell

1 cup sugar
4-5 tablespoons cornflour
2 squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped up
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
2 1/2 cups whole milk
3 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup sugar

Prepare and bake the pie shell and let it cool.

Making the filling:
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, cornflour, chocolate, and salt (if desired). Slowly stir in the milk. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring often. When it comes to a boil, remove from the heat and stir in some of the hot liquid into the egg yolks to temper them. Then add the yolks to the hot liquid, stirring as you add them. Put back onto the heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. This should take very little time. Remove from the heat and stir in the extracts. Pour immediately into the pie shell.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Making the meringue:
Put the egg whites and cream of tartar into a large mixing bowl - I use my kitchenaid. Start mixing on high, gradually adding the sugar. Continue to beat until you have a nice thick meringue. You can't really over beat this because of the sugar. When done, put onto the pie filling by big dollops-full. Make sure to smooth around to completely cover the filling. Bake for about 7 to 11 minutes, until you have a nicely browned surface.

Cool completely on a rack before serving.


Make the pie omitting the meringue.  In it's place top the pie with a half-pint of whipping cream beat until thick with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

haricots verts d'ail

As a child I was never fed fresh green beans. My mother used to buy canned green beans by the case. So I grew up hating green beans. Actually, to this day I hate canned green beans. I was at a dinner party once where they were served, and not wanting to be rude I served myself some. But one bite and I knew I couldn't eat them, and I was so relieved to realize that I could hide them under my baked potato skin. But fresh green beans, cooked al dente can be wonderful. I've been known to eat just that for dinner.

fresh green beans, thinner rather than fat
garlic, very finely minced, or garlic salt, or garlic powder
sel gris or fleur de sel (optional)

Wash the green beans and remove the little ends.
Put them into a pan with a lid, add about a half cup of water and a good pinch of salt.
Put on the stove on medium heat and cover and cook just long enough to have them barely cooked, and definitely al dente.
This will be something probably under 5 minutes. Test by taking a bean out and having a bit.
When done, quickly pour off the hot water to prevent any more cooking, and run cold water over the bean to cool them down just a bit. Pour off the water, but leave the beans in the pan. The goal is to make sure you do not over cook the beans. They want to be green green green.
At this point you can set the beans aside until just ready to serve.
When ready to serve, put the beans back on the stove on medium heat and add a good dollop of butter. How much depends on how many beans you have. Add the garlic, whatever form you have, and cook just until heated. This should be very quick. If not using a salt product, add some nice salt. I like sel gris. Put into a nice serving dish and serve immediately.