Make Scott Peacock's chocolatey, beautiful pie for a potluck, dinner party dessert, or luxurious afternoon reward. "The secret to this dessert is to have your ingredients measured and ready," Scott says. "It makes the process move along quickly." See the following slides for the recipe and step-by-step instructions for getting it right.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring milk almost to simmering (watch closely so the milk doesn't boil).
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, stir remaining milk into egg yolks. In a second bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, and kosher salt; whisk in egg yolk mixture until smooth.
Gradually whisk in hot milk; return the mixture to saucepan.
Over medium-high heat, cook and stir mixture until it comes to a full boil. "You want large bubbles from the middle," says Scott. "And while you're whisking, be sure to get the whisk into the corners and sweep the bottom so you won't have to worry about scorching -- which would require starting over."
Before filling your pie shell, strain chocolate and butter mixture through a sieve, pushing it through with a spatula as needed. "There's a good chance there will be tiny pieces of cooked egg in your custard," Scott says. "Straining them out is a small, easy step that makes a big difference."
Before working with your egg white mixture, wash both bowl and whisk. "Dry them with a clean towel," Scott says. "Any grease is going to give you trouble in a big way." Set whites -- in bowl -- over a bowl of hot water. "Warming up the whites first will give you more volume," Scott says. "Five minutes of warming should do it."
In a large bowl, with 12-inch or larger wire whisk, beat egg whites slowly until foamy. "This is the step when whisking by hand pays off," Scott says. "It puts you in control of the meringue. Move only your wrist, otherwise you'll be exhausted before the meringue is done." You can also use an electric mixer on medium-high speed, Scott says.
Sprinkle the sugar over the whole bowl. Continue to whisk until whites are moist and glossy. "As you gain experience, you'll go faster," says Scott, "but the first few times, plan on 7 or 8 minutes."
Keep whisking until tips of the whites curl over slightly when whisk is lifted from bowl. Another good test: the whites should not slide when bowl is inverted.
Turn meringue out all at once on top of hot pie filling. With spatula, spread meringue from center to edges making sure meringue seals to crust all the way around. "That will help keep the meringue from shrinking away from the edge," Scott says.
To get gorgeous results, be sure to follow this one last step while baking. "Watch the meringue carefully through the window," Scott says. "Ovens vary, and if you overbake, the meringue can weep." If your oven doesn't have a window, go ahead and open the door for a peek, but remember that every time you open the door, it slows down the cooking time.