2 extra large egg whites, room temperature
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup finely chopped toasted pecans. (toast pecans, spread in single layer on rimmed baking
sheet in a 350 oven for 5 to 8 minutes til fragrant)
COFFEE MALLOW FILLING:
1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
3/4 cup strong brewed coffee
2 tsp. unsalted butter
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1 3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. sugar
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce room temperature, recipe follows
one 3 to 4 oz. bar high quality milk chocolate for garnish. (lindt swiss milk chocolate is great for this)
1To make meringue shell, preheat oven to 275. Generously butter a 9 x 1 1/2 inch glass pie plate.
Using a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment or hand mixer, beat egg whites on medium speed til frothy. Add cream of tartar, increase speed to medium high and slowly beat in the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Increase speed to high and continue beating til whites form medium stiff peaks and look glossy. The meringue should stay stiff and not droop when you lift the beaters. If it looks dry or grainy instead of glossy, you’ve gone too far.
Gently fold the pecans into the whites. Spoon mixture into prepared pie plate. Using back of the spoon, spread meringue evenly over the bottom and up the walls of the dish.
Bake til light golden brown, about 45 minutes. Turn off heat and leave the meringue shell in oven with door closed for another 45 minutes. The shell should have a nice golden color. Remove it from oven and cool completely on wire rack before filling.
2To make coffee mallow filling, mix the marshmallows, coffee, butter and salt in medium pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, til marshmallows have completely melted. Remove form h eat and let cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, using a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment or handheld mixer, beat cream, vanilla, and sugar on high speed til medium stiff peaks form. Whisk a little of the whipped cream into the cooled coffee goo to lighten it and break up any lumps, then fold the mixture into the bowl of whipped cream til fully incorporated. Scrap mixture into the cooled meringue shell, spread evenly and smooth the top. Refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours before serving. Don’t assemble this pie too far in advance because the filling will make the bottom of the pie shell slightly soggy. If you need to work ahead, make the shell and the cream up to 1 day ahead but keep them separate.
3Drizzle top of pie with caramel sauce and use a rasp style grater to grate chocolate over top. Cut into slices and serve. The edges of the meringue shell might crumble a bit when you cut it. Just dust with cocoa powder to hide the imperfections. Honestly, you’re not going to care what it looks like because once it goes into your mouth, you’re going to be very happy.
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 1/2 tsp. fleur de sel
2 cups heavy cream, warmed
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
In a deep heavy bottomed pot, mix the sugar, water and salt and stir til well mixed. Cook over high heat til sugar starts to color around the edges of the pot, swirling the pan to promote even caramelization of the sugar. Don’t stir or the sugar will crystallize, that is, harden. Continue cooking, swirling occasionally til the caramel is very dark mahogany in color and lightly smoking. It should be on the verge of burning, 10 to 15 minutes.
Immediately remove the pot from the heat and while stirring with a whisk or wooden spoon, add the warmed cream in a steady stream. Since you’re taking the caramel to the dark side, you have to work quickly and begin adding the cram right away to stop the cooking process. But you don’t want to add it all at once, so pour it in a continuous steady stream. Be careful. The mixture wills team and bubble up furiously. Wear an oven mitt on the hand that’s stirring in the cream. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a metal bowl. Stir in the vanilla and let cool at room temperature, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour. Refrigerate, uncovered, for several hours to thicken.
Whisk before using or transferring to an airtight jar for longer storage. It will keep refrigerated for at least 1 week.
Tip: Warming the cream separately helps to keep the caramel from shocking into a hard mass when you add it. Be sure to add it quickly because you need to stop the cooking process as soon as the caramel turns the color you want. Otherwise, it will keep cooking and it can go from perfect to brunt in just a few seconds. Be sure the pot is heavy bottomed to promote even cooking, deep enough to hold the caramel when it bubbles up and light colored, such as stainless steel, so you can see the color of the caramel as it’s cooking. When mixing in cream, use heat proof utensils such as a wooden spoon or silicone spatula.
5To ensure that the sugar does not crystallize, you can add a very small amount of fresh lemon juice for 1/2 lemon, to the sugar mixture before putting it on the heat.
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