Miriam requested the recipe for the prize-winning pie and I am happy to share! This pie is a family recipe, but we aren't secretive about it. In fact, my sister sent it in and had it published in Taste of Home years ago. You can see it here. We are, however, secretive about our pie CRUST recipe and process so I won't be giving you that!
1 (4 ounce) bar German sweet chocolate
1/4 cup butter
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (9 inch) deep dish unbaked pie shell
1 1/2 cups coconut
1 cup pecans, chopped
In a saucepan, combine chocolate and butter. Melt over low heat. Remove from the heat and blend in milk; set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch and salt. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Blend in melted chocolate; pour into pie shell. Combine coconut and pecans; sprinkle on top of pie. Bake at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes.
Hints from a third-generation maker of this pie:
Of course, you can also do the melting the chocolate and butter step in the microwave, just be careful not to burn the chocolate.
Make sure your pie shell is deep enough, this is a large recipe and definitely needs a nice deep 9" crust to hold all the liquid without spilling over the sides.
I put my pie pan on a sturdy cookie sheet before pouring in the filling. I think it makes it easier to handle since the filling is basically liquid when you pour it in and it contains any drips over the edge. (But you shouldn't have any drips if your pie crust is big enough!)
If you don't have German sweet chocolate, you can use semisweet chips (you'll have to weigh them out) or unsweetened bricks (it takes 4). I used unsweetened because it's what I had on hand AND because I think it gives it a much chocolate-y flavor, not as sweet. My family and I love it when it's sickeningly sweet but I knew most people wouldn't care for it that sweet.
When you take the pie out, there will be some burnt pecans on top, that's normal. I usually just brush them off and stir the coconut on top around so it looks less burnt. It doesn't taste burnt but it can look quite....blackened.
It can be hard to tell when this pie is done. When you take it out, it should be wiggly but NOT liquid. Press down on the coconut layer, if waves ripple out from the center, it is not done. If it's kind of springy like firm jello, then it's done.