pie crust (single crust)
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp very cold shortening (if lard, 1/3 cup)
2 to 2 1/2 tbsp cold water
Combine all dry ingredients. Cut shortening into very small cubes and cut into the dry ingredients until the consistency of small peas or coarse cornmeal.
Add cold water 1 tbsp at a time, tossing mixture lightly and stirring with a fork until just moist enough to hold together when pressed with a fork. Dough should not be sticky.
Shape dough in a ball with hands and roll out. (If doubling for two crusts, divide in half and shape each half into a ball and roll).
If not using right away, refrigerate for 30 minutes or until ready to fill and bake.
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbsp flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 cup milk
3 oz unsweetened chocolate (note: you can use bittersweet but cut your sugar in half)
3 egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
Beat yolks slightly then set aside.
Melt chocolate in double bowler over over low heat so as not to scorch. Make sure well blended. (Note: you can do this in the microwave in 30 second bursts, stirring between).
Combine sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt in top of a double boiler. Mix with wooden spoon. Blend milk and chocolate mixture on gradually, then add egg yolks. Place overly rapidly boiling water so pan is touching water. Cook until thick and smooth, about 7 minutes, stirring constantly. Scrape down sides occasionally.
Remove from heat. Add vanilla and butter. Stir until smooth and blended, scraping sides of pan well. Pour hot filling into pie shell. Top with meringue.
meringue (for 9″ pie)
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp sugar
Have whites at room temperature. Combine whites, cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until entire mixture is frothy. Do not beat until eggs stiffen.
Add sugar s little at a time, beating well after each addition. Do not underbeat. Beat until sugar dissolves to help prevent beading. To test, rub some of the meringue between your fingers to see if it is grainy. Continue to beat until stuff, pointed peaks form when you lift beater slowly.
Place spoonfuls of meringue around edge of pie filling, spreading it so it touches inner edge of crust to seal all around. This prevents shrinkage. Pile remainder in center of pie and spread to meet meringue around edge. The the filling is not covered completely, the oven may cause it to weep.
Lift up meringue over pie in points with back of the spoon.
Bake in moderate oven, 350, for 12-15 minutes or until browned. Too long cooking may cause weeping. Cool gradually away from drafts.