Makes 2 (9-inch) pies. Recipe is by Margie Marie Lowry Toney, Port Sulphur, Louisiana.
2 (9-inch) frozen pie shells
1 1/2 cups plus 4 tsp. sugar
1/3 cup Hershey’s Cocoa
1/2 tsp. salt
3 1/2 tbls. cornstarch
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1 1/2 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 F.
2. For filling, in a 3-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine 1 1/2 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 8-9 minutes. Chill pies completely before serving.