I rarely make pies because… well… I have to eat them. The problem is that I don’t like to make anything else until after I have eaten what I have already made. So you can see my dilemma, right? I need to churn out desserts fast for this site, so pies slow me down considerably. Anyway, I wanted to take another shot at pie making, so I created this unfrozen chocolate ice cream pie.
I know you’re probably wondering how an unfrozen ice cream pie is possible. Ice cream is 50% air, 30% ice, 15% sugar matrix, and 5% fat. This pie has all of these components, except for ice of course. The secret to air incorporation is to create a meringue with the egg whites that go unused.
Meringues have a way of seeming intimidating, but once you understand the science behind them it isn’t so bad. In fact, in theory is it nearly the same principle as making custards. The egg white of an egg contains 88% water and 12% protein. As you whip the egg, air gets incorporated into the water forming bubbles. As this is happening, the proteins are denatured via the whipping process. These proteins coagulate around the bubbles form causing air to become trapped in the egg whites.
For the purposes of egg whites, there are a few things that need to be known (if you forget these, I have included them in the actual recipe). The first thing to remember is not allow any egg yolks into the egg white. The fats in the yolk disrupt the ability of the proteins to trap air. The second is to add cream of tartar after a foam begins to appear. Cream of tartar is an acid. Acids denature proteins, which allow coagulation to more readily occur. Third is to begin adding sugar once soft peaks emerge. Sugar protects the air bubbles already formed, so adding sugar to early will limit the volume of the meringue.
Once the egg whites are whipped and fully meringue, just fold the meringue into the custard and the filling is ready.
3/4 cup white sugar (divided- ¼ c and ½ c)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons of flour
½ cup of Cocoa powder
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 egg whites
1/8 tsp of cream of tartar
- In a saucepan, combine 1/4 c of sugar, flour, cocoa powder and salt. Add milk in gradually while stirring gently. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is bubbly.
- Temper the eggs into the milk: While whisking, slowly pour about 1/3 of the milk mixture into the eggs. Then slowly pour the milk-egg mixture into the milk pot while stirring.
- Return the pot back to the stove and cook for 1 to 2 more minutes (until temp hits about 170 or appears to be thicker); remember to keep stirring. Remove the mixture from the stove, and add butter and vanilla. Stir until the whole thing has a smooth consistency. Allow to cook on counter for about 30 minutes.
- While the custard is cooling, whip the meringue. For the meringue, whip using stand or hand mixer at medium high speed until foam begins to form. After foam begins to form, add cream of tartar and turn mixer on high. As the foam gains in volume, begin adding remaining sugar in 2-4 tablespoon increments until the sugar is added. Stop mixing when the meringue forms soft peaks.
- Fold the meringue into the cooled custard mixture.
- Add the custard to the prepared pie dish and allow to chill in refrigerator for at least 3 hours.