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Chocolate Meringue Pie

10 inch pie shell, pre-baked and cooled

1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups milk
3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar

In the saucepan off the heat, combine the cornstarch, sugar and
salt. Slowly add the milk, stirring to make a paste. Stir in the
remaining milk and whisk in the egg yolks. Break the chocolate
into pieces and add to the milk. Place the saucepan on medium heat
and cook, stirring constantly, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the
custard thickens and the chocolate melts. (Have patience--just when
you're sure the chocolate will be a speckled mess forever, it
reaches the right temperature and instantly becomes silky and
smooth.) Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla, and pour into
the prebaked pie shell. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

With an electric mixer, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar on
high speed until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla and sugar and
beat until glossy, stiff peaks form. Spread the meringue over the
chocolate filling, making certain it touches the edges of the crust
all around. (The baked meringue will shrink if it is not spread
out to the crust's edge.) Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the
meringue is golden brown. Cool to room temperature, then chill
before serving.


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