You might think of a topping when you hear "meringue pie," but our chocolate pie with meringue crust starts with a light and fluffy meringue recipe as the base (instead of a pastry or graham cracker crust).
For meringue, combine egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).
Lightly spray a 9-inch pie plate with nonstick coating. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip with the meringue mixture. Beginning in the center and working in a spiral outward, pipe meringue over bottom and up sides of plate. Or, use a spoon to spread meringue into pie plate, building up sides.
Bake in the center of a 300 degree F oven for 45 minutes or until lightly browned. Turn off oven. Let shell dry in the oven with the door closed at least 1 hour.
For filling, soften gelatin in cold water in a small bowl. Combine 1 cup of the whipping cream, the semisweet chocolate, and unsweetened chocolate in a heavy medium saucepan. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until chocolates melt and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in softened gelatin mixture; stir in remaining whipping cream, mixing well. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add vanilla. Cover and chill several hours or overnight. Or, place in a larger bowl of ice water, stirring occasionally, until chilled.
Beat chocolate mixture with an electric mixer on medium speed just until soft peaks form (do not overbeat). Mound into meringue shell. Cover and chill several hours or overnight. To serve, top with chocolate curls and/or whipped cream, if desired. Makes 10 servings.