Monday, June 24, 2013

Coconut Cream Pie

If you love coconut, you will love this pie. It is almost a triple coconut pie - Coconut Milk and flaked coconut are in the filling, plus toasted coconut on top. Cool and creamy, this makes a delicious Summertime dessert.

Coconut Cream Pie:
For the crust, you can use a Flaky Pie Crust (as shown in the picture), but I usually prefer a Graham Cracker Crust for cream pies, because cracker crusts do not have to be baked like a flaky crust does. For coconut cream pie, you could use Vanilla wafers or Ritz crackers instead of Graham crackers if you'd like. Just remember to add more or less sugar depending on how sweet your crumbs are.

1 cup sugar (or you can start with 3/4 cup and add more as you go - this pie is very sweet)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 Cups (one 14oz can) Coconut milk (NOT coconut water or Crème de Coco - plain Coconut milk is usually in the international foods aisle of your grocery store, it is used in Asian recipes)
3 egg yolks
1/4 Cup flaked coconut, (plus a little more for garnishing later)

In the top of a double boiler combine the sugar, flour, salt, and coconut milk. Stir the mixture in the bowl while the water boils beneath it, cooking for about 12-14 minutes until the mixture thickens (In the first five minutes it doesn't seem to get thicker, but once it starts to thicken, it goes quickly. Make sure to stir it frequently and scrape the sides with a plastic spatula). Remove from the heat.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks. Take a small amount of the hot milk/flour mixture (about a tablespoon) and stir it into the eggs. Add another spoonful and stir it in (you are "tempering" the eggs so they don't cook and curdle). Now pour the egg mixture into the rest of the hot milk mix. Return it to the double boiler and cook until thickened some more (about 3 more minutes) stirring constantly. Take it off the heat.

Now let it cool a bit. I place a layer of plastic wrap over the top to prevent the usual "pudding crust." You can stick the filling in the fridge or freezer to help it chill faster, just remember to take it out and stir it occasionally. When the filling has cooled, pour it into the pie shell. Then return it to the fridge to for another hour to make sure it is well-chilled before topping it with whipped cream. Keep it in the fridge when not serving.

Fresh Whipped Cream Topping:
1 pint heavy cream
1/4 - 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, depending on how sweet you want it
Optional: 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract or 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

Make sure the cream is well-chilled, (I even chill the mixing bowl and beaters when I make whipped cream). Beat the cream with a wire whisk (or electric mixer with the whisk attachment on high) until it is thicker and can form soft peaks. Add in the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until very thick and can form stiff peaks. Spread it over the chilled pie and garnish with toasted coconut:

Spread 2 Tablespoons coconut flakes onto an ungreased cookie sheet and put in the oven at 350 degrees. Watch the coconut carefully, it only takes a few minutes to brown. You can choose how brown you want it. I usually only leave it in there for 5 minutes, stirring once halfway through.

Put the pie back in the fridge until serving.

Cut this with a very sharp knife dipped in hot water. Clean the knife with a towel between slices to keep it neat.