Mrs. Rowe is known as the Pie Lady in Virginia. Mollie Cox Bryan is the author of Mrs. Rowe's Little Book of Southern Pies. The most popular type of pie served at Mrs. Rowe's restaurant in Staunton, Virginia is the Coconut Cream Pie.
Mrs. Rowe's Meringue
4 egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
3 Tablespoons sugar
Combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in a chilled bowl and beat with an electric mixer on slow to medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the sugar one Tablespoon at a time and continue beating on slow to medium speed until the whites form stiff peaks but aren't dry. The meringue is now ready to pile lightly over a pie.
Original Coconut Cream Pie
1/2 recipe Plain Pie Pastry, pre-baked
3 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
3 cups milk
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 recipe Mrs. Rowe's Meringue
Preheat the oven to 325.
Stir together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and just enough of the water to make a smooth paste. Heat the milk in a double boiler set over simmering water. When the milk begins to steam, gradually whisk in the egg mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until very thick, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 3/4 cup of the coconut, the butter and the vanilla.
Pour the filling into the crust and top with the meringue, sealing the edges well. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup coconut over the meringue.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until the meringue is golden brown and it's firm to the careful touch (it's easy to poke a hole in the meringue). Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours before slicing. Serve the pie at room temperature or, for a special treat, serve it warm - pop a slice in the microwave for about 10 seconds.
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