Even with all its tips and step-by-step illustrations, making a dessert as temperamental as a meringue is challenging. How well the delicate mixture peaks relies on the right tools, their cleanliness, the temperature, the weather, the ingredients and a litany of other do’s and don’ts.
But Better Homes and Gardens and Cooking With Paula Deen magazines faced off in their most recent issues to tackle the finicky–and sometimes elusive–perfect chocolate meringue pie.
May’s “American Classics” installment in Better Homes and Gardens magazine focused solely on the chocolate meringue, while Cooking With Paula Deen magazine‘s May/June issue covered lemon, pineapple, vanilla, peanut butter and butterscotch, along with chocolate.
In terms of ingredients, Better Homes and Gardens and Cooking With Paula Deen’s chocolate pie fillings are quite similar, though Paula Deen’s is not surprisingly heavier on the eggs and sugar. Still, the difference is very slight.
Better Homes and Garden’s version calls for more milk, chocolate (both cocoa powder and chopped), butter and vanilla. The differences in milk and butter are relatively minimal, but based on the amounts of chocolate and vanilla, this version will be richer in taste–and calories.
Speaking of calories, only Better Homes and Gardens includes nutritional information with its recipe. Its 9-inch pie yields eight servings, and each contains 539 calories, 26 fat grams, 140 milligrams of cholesterol, 444 milligrams of sodium, 68 grams of carbohydrates, 3 grams of fiber, and 11 grams of protein. No comparable information is given for Cooking With Paula Deen’s version.
After putting both Better Homes and Gardens and Cooking With Paula Deen’s meringues side by side, it’s obvious that Paula Deen’s recipe should be heavier, with nearly double the sugar, plus five egg whites–an ingredient absent in Better Homes and Garden’s version.
Neither magazine gives an estimated prep time, but the one obvious shortcut for both would be using a prepared pie crust. Better Homes and Gardens points readers to its website for a pie pastry recipe.
Both magazines are strong when it comes to depicting the difficult task of perfecting a meringue: Better Homes and Gardens followed the entire pie-making process from the beginning, and Cooking With Paula Deen illustrated how to make only the meringue in nine step-by-step photos.
Cooking With Paula Deen magazine’s coverage garners high praise for its informative meringue do’s and don’ts, in-depth illustration and variety of recipes, but is disappointing in its lack of nutritional information.
Better Homes and Gardens’ chocolate meringue pie feature shines because it is forthcoming in calorie count, and it, too, earns marks for illustration.
Ultimately, Cooking With Paula Deen offers a richer, deeper understanding of the meringue-making process than Better Homes and Gardens. But of the two versions of a very decadent chocolate meringue pie, Better Homes and Gardens would be the ever so slightly lighter choice.