Makes two (9-inch) pies. Recipe is by Margie Marie Lowry-Toney, Port Sulphur.
2 (9-inch) frozen pie shells
11/2 cups plus 4 tsps. sugar
1⁄3 cup Hershey’s Cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt
31/2 tbls. cornstarch
1 (12-oz.) can evaporated milk
11/2 cups water
4 eggs, separated
1 tbl. unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Bake pie shells according to package directions and set aside to cool while making filling. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. For filling, in a 3-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine 11/2 cups sugar, cocoa, salt and cornstarch. Stir in milk and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer 1 minute, stirring constantly.
3. Place egg yolks in a medium bowl and slowly whisk in 1 cup hot chocolate mixture. Add egg mixture to chocolate in saucepan and, whisking constantly, cook over low heat until thick, about 5 minutes. Stir in butter until melted. Remove from heat and cover surface of filling with wax paper.
4. Make meringue by beating egg whites at high speed of a mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add 4 teaspoons sugar and vanilla, and beat until stiff peaks form.
5. Divide filling between pie shells and smooth the tops. Cover each pie with half of meringue and seal it to pastry. Bake until brown, about 8 to 9 minutes. Chill pies completely before serving.