Last night, I made awesome pal David a coconut cream pie that looked stunning and tasted textbook awesome. Creamy, cool, coconutty. Not too sweet. Buttery, flaky, fully-cooked crust (!!!), luscious custard, billows of freshly whipped sweet cream. David loved it. Allison and Arianna loved it. And I’m sure I would’ve loved it, too. If I didn’t drop the last big slice just as I was getting out of my car.
But I jump ahead. Let’s start from the beginning. Woke up at 8am to whip cream. Why? Because I knew that by 10am my apt would be hovering around 80°, and heat + whipped cream = total druckin’ mess. So I took my chilled bowls and beater out of the fridge, and beat that drucker UP:
Popped it in the fridge feeling inordinately pleased with myself for outsmarting nature, who thinks she’s all that with her stealthy summer heat wave. She did bring the heat, though. Especially when I cranked my oven up to 400° degrees, and blind-baked the crust. I weigh mine down with pie weights to avoid puffage, and this time it worked beautifully:
And then, dropping the temp in my oven to 350° while increasing my apartment temp by an additional 15°, I toasted the coconut for about 10 minutes, watching it like a hawk because it WILL burn on you if you’re not looking:
For the custard, I followed Emeril’s Best Ever Coconut Cream Pie. This recipe calls for a mix of coconut and whole milk, which gives it an extra dimension of coconut flavor. The resulting pie was very pretty, even if the slices did get a little sloshy as they warmed up.
I brought the pie to the pub, where it was a smash hit, but I did manage to save one big slice for myself to enjoy, alone, in my apartment, while watching Family Guy. (Whatever, we all have our rituals.)
Unfortunately, I have a precarious pie-carrier in that the lid slides off, seemingly of it’s own volition, and as I pulled the pie out of my car late last night, tottering on my high heels, balancing pie and purse and trying to shut the door, the last of the pie hit the pavement with a satisfying splat before I could even process what was happening. There was no three second rule here. (But don’t think I didn’t consider it.) That pie was DEAD.
I assumed some lucky squirrel would take it, but NO! This morning, there it was, crust up, cream down, wholly unmolested by man or beast. My neighbor stopped me this morning just before I drove off, and the whole time I was thinking, please don’t stand in pie, because if you do, I’ll have to lie and say I’ve never seen that pie before in my life and what kind of a person would just LEAVE pie there, on the street, without at least attempting to hose it off. A clumsy, exhausted, blond person. Whoever that might be.
Emeril’s Best Ever Coconut Cream Pie
- 3/4 cup sugar (I reduced to 1/2 cup and then used sweetened coconut)
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup flaked, unsweetened coconut
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 (9-inch) baked pie shell
- 1/3 cup toasted coconut
- Whipped cream, for garnish (I used a half pint of heavy cream and piled it up on top of the filling)
In a nonstick 1-quart saucepan, combine 3/4 cup sugar, coconut milk, and 1 cup milk. Scald mixture. (Look for tiny bubbles around the edge of the milk, just before it comes to a boil.)
In a small mixing bowl, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup milk and cornstarch together to make a slurry. Whisk egg yolks with salt in medium bowl. Temper yolks by adding 1/2 cup scaled milk mixture to yolks and whisk well. Add yolk mixture and slurry back into milk mixture and whisk vigorously over medium heat until thickened. (This took me about 7-8 minutes, will vary.) Remove from heat and add coconut, vanilla, and butter. Whisk until uniformly incorporated.
Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell. Cover the pie with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Chill the pie completely, about 2 hours.
To serve, top with toasted coconut and a dollop of whipped cream.