Friday, October 21, 2011

Coconut Cream Pie...oh my!

Hubby won't let me, but I would eat pie everyday if I could...savory pies, sweet pies, or even eat pie crust on its own, like my mom used to.

A couple of weeks ago, I made a coconut cream pie. Wow, was that ever good.  Here's a photo of the toasted coconut, set aside, and the filling in progress:
The recipe I used is from Mark Bittman's book, How to Cook Everything.

Coconut Cream Pie

1 pie crust (I use the one from the same Bittman book; it's the best one I've ever made)

3/4 C sugar [I always reduce the amount of sugar called for]
2 T cornstarch
pinch salt
3-4 eggs, separated
2.5 C whole milk
1 vanilla bean or 2 t vanilla extract
2 T unsalted butter, softened [though I'm not sure why it needs to be softened since you're just putting it into the hot filling]
pinch of Cream of Tartar
1/4 C confectioners' sugar
1 C dried sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut

Toast the coconut by placing it into a dry skillet over very low heat and cooking, shaking almost constantly, until it begins to brown. Remove from pan immediately [with a gas stove, I just remove from heat and leave in pan].

Pre-bake pie crust [according to the directions for the pie crust recipe you're using] and start the filling while the crust is in the oven.  When the crust is done, leave the oven at 350F and cool the crust slightly on a rack.

In a small saucepan, combine sugar with the cornstarch and salt. Mix together the egg yolks and milk. If you're using a vanilla bean, split it and scrape out the seeds; stir them into the milk mixture (reserve the bean itself to make vanilla sugar [recipe in the same cookbook on p. 682]). Stir the milk-egg mixture into the sugar-cornstarch mixture over medium heat; at first whisk occasionally to eliminate lumps.  Then stir almost constantly until the mixture boils and thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in the butter and toasted coconut (and vanilla extract, if you're using that) and set aside.

Make the meringue: beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt and cream of tartar, until foamy. Keep beating, gradually adding the confectioners' sugar, until the mixture is shiny and holds fairly stiff peaks.

Place the pie plate on a baking sheet. Pour the warm filling into the warm crust. Cover with the meringue, making sure the meringue comes in contact with the edges of the crust.  Note that the meringue will hold its shape so you can decorate it if you like.

Bake until meringue is slightly browned, 10-15 minutes.  Cool on a rack, then refrigerate; serve cool.
Speaking of pies, I noticed last month that I had 100 followers and to celebrate, I was going to have a giveaway of the Pillsbury "Easy As Pie" cookbook. However, apparently someone was at the wrong party, realized this, and left. So, now it's back to 99 followers, and no giveaway.

But if it ever goes back to up 100 followers, I'll offer that book! ;)

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." ~ Douglas Adams