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Black Bottom Pie

20 ginger snaps
4-5 Tablespoons melted butter

Crumble gingersnaps with melted butter in food processor.  Pat evenly into pie pan; bake for ten minutes at 250.

1 Tablespoon gelatin
4 Tablespoons cold water
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
4 egg yolks
1-1/2 squares bittersweet baking chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
4 Tablespoons bourbon or rum
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3 Tablespoons confectioners sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
dash vanilla
1/2 square bittersweet chocolate shavings or curls

Soak gelatin in cold water.  Scald milk.  Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch.  Pour scalded milk into top of double boiler; add sugar and cornstarch mixture.  Stir in egg yolks.  Cook mixture over hot water until custard coats a spoon - about twenty minutes.

Remove from heat; take out 1 cup of the custard.  Add melted chocolate to the one cup of custard and beat well with mixer.  When cool, add the 1 teaspoon of vanilla.  Pour into crust.

While remaining custard is still hot, blend in gelatin and cool slightly, but do not allow to stiffen.  Add bourbon or rum.

Make stiff meringue by beating egg whites until frothy; add cream of tartar, beat until stiff.  Fold meringue and dash of vanilla into custard while it is still soft.  As soon as the chocolate custard has begun to set in the pie shell, cover with the fluffy custard and chill until firm.  When ready to serve, spread with sweet whipped cream.  Garnish with bittersweet chocolate shavings.

(The Memphis Cookbook, 16th edition, 1952)