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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Coconut Cream Pie


Coconut Cream Pie is a luscious, coconut, custardy pudding piled into your favourite pie crust, mounded with whipped cream and more coconut.  

My mother loved coconut desserts but she didn't like the coconut cream pie in a certain restaurant.  I won't name the restaurant (it's been long gone) but the pie was more like thickened sweet water with a sprinkle of coconut on top. She'd always tell us not to order the coconut cream pie. As a child I thought my mother's opinion of the pie's taste was a bit harsh as I'd eat anything sweet but I had the misfortune to taste one of those pies as an adult and, yes, mom was right, as usual!  Sweet wall paper paste would be an accurate description.  I don't know how so many people like a pie like that.  

Fortunately, I've eaten more than my share of good tasting coconut cream pies and know how they should taste.  I've made loads of them myself but, like the chocolate cream pie, never had any recipe in my files. So I thought it was about time I'd remedy that. Actually, my sister, Heather, suggested I make a Coconut Cream Pie for the blog.  So for you, Heather, here is a lovely pie just in time for Mother's Day.  Too bad you're so far away and can't have a taste. Ah, well, I'll do as I always did and eat your piece for you!  (I did this often when we were children. One night Heather woke up screaming and crying that I'd eaten her pie.  She was inconsolable and kept us up for about an hour sobbing her little heart out.  Her dream was so real but I really didn't eat her pie that night!)


Coconut Cream Pie
1 can coconut milk +w
hole milk to make 3 cups together
5 tablespoons cornstarch + 1 teaspoon
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
teaspoon vanilla
1 or 2 drops yellow food colouring, optional
1 teaspoon coconut flavouring, optional
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup unsweetened fine/medium shred coconut

1 9-inch baked pie crust found also here and here

 or a 9-inch graham cracker crumb crust

Whipped Cream
1 cup chilled whipping cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla

Garnish
¼ cup toasted or plain coconut, unsweetened or sweetened

Measure the coconut milk and add enough whole milk to measure 3 cups.  In a saucepan bring coconut milk and whole milk to a simmer over medium low heat.  
I used a non-stick pot which works very well with custards. 

Mix the cornstarch, sugar and salt together in a small bowl. Pour this mixture into the hot milk, whisking or stirring constantly. Continue cooking and stirring over medium low heat until thickened and bubbles are breaking the surface.  

Beat the egg yolks and slowly pour a little of the hot pudding over the yolks while stirring so the eggs will not cook.  This is called tempering the eggs.  Pour the tempered eggs back into the hot milk mixture and combine well.  Return pot to the stove and cook a minute or two to make sure the eggs are fully cooked.  Try to keep the heat low so the mixture does not come to a rapid boil.

Turn heat off and add the vanilla and butter.  Stir through.  Strain the mixture through a sieve to remove any little lumps or cooked egg.  Once the mixture has been strained stir in the 
coconut.  

Cover filling with plastic wrap and cool to lukewarm and then pour into baked pie crust.  Smooth top and cover with plastic wrap.  Lay the wrap on top of the filling to avoid creating a skin on the custard.  (If you do not want to use plastic wrap, parchment paper will make a good substitute as long as it covers the surface of the filling.)

Refrigerate the pie until it is well chilled, about 4 hours or overnight.  When ready to serve top with whipped cream and sprinkle the toasted coconut over the cream.  


To whip the cream, place the chilled whipping cream in a deep bowl, add the sugar and vanilla and whip on high until stiff peaks are formed.  Be careful not to over whip and turn the cream into butter!

To toast the coconut, place the coconut on a baking sheet or pan and place in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes.  Stir several times during this time.  Once the coconut has reached the desired shade, remove from oven.  

Makes a 9-inch pie with 6-8 servings.  


Coconut Double Cream Pie
Use the recipe above but increase the cornstarch to 6 tablespoons. Chill the cooked filling.  Increase the whipping cream to 1½ cups and add 3 tablespoons sugar.  Remove a heaping 1 cup whipped cream and fold it in the chilled filling.  Spoon the filling in the prepared pie crust.  Pile the remaining whipped cream on top of the pie and chill at least 3-4 hours before serving.  Sprinkle the top of the pie with toasted or plain coconut before serving.   Makes 6-8 servings.



Measure the coconut milk and add enough whole milk to measure 3 cups.

In a saucepan bring coconut milk and whole milk to a simmer over medium low heat.  

Mix the cornstarch, sugar and salt together in a small bowl.

Pour the cornstarch and sugar mixture into the hot milk, whisking or stirring constantly. I switched to a non-stick pot which works very well with custards.

Continue cooking and stirring over medium low heat until thickened and bubbles are breaking the surface.  

Beat the egg yolks and slowly pour a little of the hot pudding over the yolks while stirring so the eggs will not cook.  This is called tempering the eggs.  Pour the tempered eggs back into the hot milk mixture and combine well.

Return pot to the stove and cook a minute or two to make sure the eggs are fully cooked.  Try to keep the heat low so the mixture does not come to a rapid boil.

Turn heat off and add the vanilla and butter.  Stir through.  Strain the mixture through a sieve to remove any little lumps or cooked egg.  Once the mixture has been strained stir in the coconut.


If you want a stronger coconut flavour you can add a teaspoon coconut extract.  Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't.  I'm sure that doesn't help.  


After the coconut has been added to the filling, cover with plastic wrap and cool to lukewarm.  Do not chill.


Smooth the top of the filling and cover with plastic wrap and chill at least 4 hours. 

When ready to serve, whip the cream and pile on top of the chilled pie. 

 Sprinkle the top of the pie with toasted or plain coconut. 

I found these large baked coconut chips at the grocery store. I thought they would be quite striking on the top of the pie. I toasted them a few minutes to deepen the colour.  If you use something like this make sure you sprinkle them on the pie just before serving because the large coconut chips loose their crispness if left overnight on the cream.

Of course, regular shredded coconut makes a wonderful garnish for the pie. 


 The cold pie cuts well into slices.


 Here's the first slice!


Ready for company.


A luscious Coconut Cream Pie for dessert!



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