After an unusually warm December, we’ve made it through a rather cold and snowy January.
Now here we are in the chilly month of February
and what lovely little holiday is just around the corner? Need a hint? Something to do with love? Yes, it’s Valentine’s Day! That one day a year devoted to romantic love.
There are many different kinds of love; the love we have for our spouse, children, parents, family and friends. And then there’s the love we have in our hearts and souls for the Lord God and Jesus. The love and faith that I have in them has carried me through many a difficult time in my life; especially those times when there was no one else to turn to. But it is because of my journey in faith that I am here today, having this conversation with you. If it wasn’t for that faith, Without it, I would never have taken the step to become involved in a beautiful life, or have met the many wonderful people that write from their hearts to yours.
One of my great loves is …. ta dahh! …. Chocolate! (Big surprise, right?) Chocolate will always be near and dear to my heart. I think the only way I got through grad school was by eating bags (many, many bags) of milk chocolate Hersey Nuggets, especially when studying for exams or writing papers! I looked at many a chocolate recipe until I found one in a Taste of Home magazine that was so decadently rich, that even a major chocolaholic like me can only have a very small serving of it. Since this recipe has several steps, I’m inserting comments to streamline the process.
…on with the decadence!
Diff: Intermediate Time: 1 hour+chilling Serves: 16
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 10 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup butter, cubed
- 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream (36%+)
- 5 large egg whites
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- In a small bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs and sugar, stir in melted butter. Press firmly into bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Refrigerate 30 minutes. *To simplify, you can use a purchased graham cracker crust.
- Place chocolate chips and butter in a large bowl.
- In a small saucepan, bring whipping cream just to a boil. Pour cream over chocolate and butter; let stand for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until smooth.
- Pour into tart shell and refrigerate for 1 hour or until set.
- Place egg whites into a large bowl and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- In the top of a double-boiler, or in a metal bowl placed over gently simmering water in a larger metal pan, combine egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar.
- With an electric hand mixer, beat on low speed for 1 minute.
- Continue beating on low until a thermometer reads 160°F, about 5-8 minutes. (Be careful of that thermometer!)
- Transfer mixture to a large bowl; (glass or metal is best), beat on high speed until stiff glossy peaks form and mixture has cooled slightly.
- Spread mixture thickly over chocolate tart, keeping a 1/2 inch of chocolate open around the edge. Using an icing spatula, swirl meringue topping.
- For a finishing touch, heat meringue with a kitchen torch or broil 2 inches from heat source for 30-45 seconds or until meringue is lightly browned.
- Refrigerate any leftovers.
I love the flavor contrast of the bittersweet chocolate and sweet meringue topping.
The chocolate portion of the pie can almost be candy; it is that dense! The meringue is reminiscent of the White Mountain Frosting recipe from the 1984 edition of The Fannie Farmer Baking Book by Marion Cummingham. If you ever get a chance, make this! It billows up white and glossy and is absolutely excellent for frosting coconut cake. Yum, yum, yum!
If you don’t want to make the meringue, you can always substitute sweetened whipped cream and save yourself more than a little bit of time. However, don’t even think about putting it under the broiler!
Hoping that all your culinary adventures are fun! Until next time, wishing you all a Happy Valentine’s Day, all of God’s blessings, good health and happy eating!
Smiles and blessings,