I’ve had a head cold with a vengeance all week.
I don’t get sick very often, but for the last seven days I’ve been walking around talking like my nose is plugged (because, ha, it is), and marveling at the nasty tricks my body plays on my poor victim sinuses.
Now is not the best time to bake treats because I can’t give them away, and I can’t let them stay in my kitchen. Because then I eat them. And I love eating cookies, but I don’t love eating all four dozen, especially when my body is screaming for notcookies.
On the other hand, putting together a coconut cream pie seemed like a completely sensible thing to do. Yeah, I don’t know either.
There are several variations of coconut cream pie out there. Meringue topping vs. whipped cream. Pastry crust vs. graham cracker crust. Coconut milk vs. heavy cream.
I don’t really keep coconut milk as a staple in my kitchen. And I thought a pastry crust sounded tasty at the time. And I just really like whipped cream. So, this pie is a product of my own personal tastes. But here are a few hints if you want to change it up:
- If you prefer meringue topping, take a look at this post from Simply Recipes, which gives a good meringue recipe and explanation of the process. After you pour the coconut filling into your pie shell, you’ll want to immediately put the meringue topping on, while the filling is still piping hot.
- If you prefer a graham cracker crust, you can use the recipe in this post and simply bake up the empty crust at 375 degrees for 13-15 minutes. Let it cool completely on a rack before you pour in the coconut filling.
- If you prefer coconut milk, just substitute that for the regular milk in this recipe. And take out the coconut extract, unless you really want a coconut kick.
Coconut Cream Pie
adapted from Lion House Bakery
for the pastry crust:
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold butter, cut into cubes
3-4 tablespoons ice-cold water
for the filling:
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
2/3 cup sugar, divided
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
3/4 cup flaked coconut
for the topping:
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
(1/2 cup toasted coconut, for garnish)
For the pastry crust, combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut the butter into the flour until pieces are about the size of large peas. Add the cold water one tablespoon at a time, tossing the mixture with a fork until the dough is shaggy and holds together, without being soggy. Form the dough into a disc and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Take the dough disc out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Roll the dough on a lightly-floured surface, into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a pie pan, and trim and flute the edges.
Line the pie dough with aluminum foil and fill with 2 cups dried beans, or pie weights. Bake for 12 minutes, then remove the foil and pie weights and bake for an additional 3-5 minutes, or until the edges of the crust are golden brown. Gently pat down any pastry that is puffing up in the center of the crust. (The dried beans are no longer good for eating, but you can save them to use as pie weights in the future.) Allow the crust to cool completely on a rack.
For the filling, place half the milk (1 cup) in a large saucepan along with the heavy cream, butter, and 1/3 cup of the sugar. Heat over medium low heat, stirring frequently, until the butter is melted and milk is scalded.
In a small bowl, mix the other cup of milk together with the cornstarch until completely smooth.
In another small bowl, whisk egg yolks well; add remaining 1/3 cup sugar, and the salt, and whisk very well. When the milk mixture on the stovetop is ready, slowly add the egg mixture, stirring constantly for about half a minute. Allow mixture to cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently. This gives the eggs time to cook and start thickening.
Add reserved milk and cornstarch slowly to the hot mixture, stirring constantly to avoid formation of lumps. Continue to stir for at least 2 minutes, then stir occasionally for the next 10-15 minutes.
When pudding is thick, stir in the vanilla and coconut extract, and the flaked coconut. Remove from the heat and pour into the prepared pie shell. Smooth the top. Cool on a wire rack, then chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. Top with whipped cream and toasted coconut when ready to serve.
For the whipped cream, combine the cream and vanilla in a medium-sized, chilled mixing bowl. Mix on high speed until the cream starts to thicken, then add the powdered sugar and beat on low speed just until soft peaks hold their shape. Do not overbeat.
To toast the coconut, spread it on a lined baking sheet and broil in the oven on low, just until edges turn light brown. Watch it closely, because it will overbrown very quickly.