Vanilla cream pie

Serves: 8 or 10

For the pastry
2 cups flour (240grams)
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons sugar
1 egg yolk
120 grams butter or margarine
3 tablespoons cognac (milk, water, orange juice)

Vanilla cream
½ cup flour (60grams)
1 cup sugar (200grams)
6 egg yolks
3 cups hot milk (750cc.)
50 grams butter or margarine
2 teaspoons vanilla essence

4 egg whites at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
8 tablespoons sugar

Pastry dough. Sift flour, salt and baking powder onto worktop. Make a well in the center and rub in the butter, using your fingertips, until mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add the egg yolks, the sugar and the cognac (milk, water, orange juice). Work it until you get a firm dough and shape it into a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic food wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour before using.
Remove from fridge and roll out over a floured surface until very thin. Roll up pastry around the pin and roll out onto pie dish to cover its base and sides. Cut leftovers around the edge of the pie rolling the pin over them. Prick pastry with a fork. Wrap base and sides of the pie dish with aluminium foil. Freeze until hard.

Remove from freezer and bake in a hot oven (375º F / 190º C) for the first 5-6 minutes.
Lower temperature of oven, remove aluminium foil and keep baking until well cooked.Cool on wire racks for 15 minutes. Remove the pastry from pan. Cool thoroughly.

Vanilla cream. In a medium saucepan combine the sugar and the egg yolks. Add the flour and a small pinch of salt and stir together. Gently, add the hot milk and mix well.

Cook over medium high heat, stirring all the time, until mixture is thickened and bubbly.
Reduce heat and let it cook for 2 more minutes, stirring all the time. Add the butter and the vanilla essence beating constantly.
Continue to stir the vanilla cream until it cools a little. Pour it into the pastry dough.

Meringue. In a mixing bowl combine the egg whites, 2 tablespoons sugar, the vanilla essence and the cream of tartar. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form.
Gradually add the remainder sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time beating until stiff peaks form.
Using a spatula spread meringue over vanilla cream sealing it to the pastry.
Serve cool.