Hey y’all. How’ve you been? Kick ASS, I hope. I have been doing some serious baking and fear that I may lose these fabulous recipes that I’ve already kitchen-tested, the way my mom lost our treasured family recipe for nice synagogue lady Phoebe’s melt-in-your-mouth, honey and saffron-scented challah bread. (Ahem.)
So I made my annual coconut cream pie for awesome pal Anspaugh’s birthday again this year, and everyone (including me) seems to agree that I outdid myself. I used an easy Emeril recipe (even easier than last year, yay!) and it turned out really well — even without the use of coconut milk or cream. I find the taste of coconut milk so subtle that I can’t really tell it’s in there, so why bother?
In researching this recipe, I found out that there’s a big difference between coconut cream pie and coconut custard pie. I also learned that for a light, fluffy pie, you need to use gelatin, like this recipe does. I may try that next time but it would be hard to improve on this one. BAM! Thanks, Emeril.
Freshly whipped cream is just heaven, isn’t it? I added a few drops of coconut extract to it this time and it made a lovely, subtle difference.
Coconut Cream Pie
- 1 blind-baked 9-inch pastry shell (I used a Pillsbury one and weighed it down with a piece of foil covered in dried beans)
- 2 1/4 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract (mine was imitation, sorry but it’s true), plus 1/8 tsp (or more) for whipped cream
- 1 3/4 cups coconut, plus 1/2 cup for toasting
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 8 oz. (half pint) heavy whipping cream or 12 oz if you like it super thick, sugar to taste
Toast 1/2 cup coconut in a single layer on a parchment-covered cookie sheet at 375• for 7-10 minutes, turning it to brown evenly and watching so it doesn’t burn. Cool, then set aside in air-tight container.
In a saucepan, whisk the 2 cups of the milk and 3/4 cup sugar together. Place the pan over medium heat and bring the liquid up to a simmer. Whisk the egg yolks together. Temper the hot milk into the egg yolks. Whisk the egg mixture into the hot milk mixture. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining milk, making a slurry. Whisk the slurry into the hot milk mixture. Bring the liquid up to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until the filling is thick, about 4 to 6 minutes. Fold in the vanilla, coconut extract, coconut, and butter. Mix well. Pour the filling into the prepared pan and cool the pie completely; chill.
Using a chilled bowl and beaters, whip heavy whipping cream to fairly stiff peaks with sugar and coconut extract to taste. Pile whipped cream upon chilled pie. I find that if I chill it again at this stage, it really sets the cream. Sprinkle toasted coconut on top just before serving so it doesn’t get soggy.
Tip: The awesome blogger from whom I pilfered my pretty pie picture made HER whipped cream like this: 1 1/2 cups (12 oz.) heavy cream, 1 packet Whip it, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 3 Tablespoons sugar. I’ve never used a whipped cream stabilizer before but if it doesn’t change the flavor, why the heck not? I see Whip it on the baking aisle at my local supermarket, so maybe you can find it there, too.