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So, Easter.  While I suppose I should have been passing around the commuion vino, I broke out the coconut rum.  (What?  Don’t judge me.)  And what do I love even more than rum?  Pie, of course.  So you can imagine the results when I combined the two.

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I love, love, love coconut cream pie.  I was planning on doing a lemon chiffon cake out of Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes, but I then realized I didn’t have the 11 eggs called for.  Parker was sleeping, so running to the store was out, and I couldn’t wait until later, as pretty much my only time to myself in the kitchen is during his naptime.  (Welcome to life as a single mommy.)  So I called my mom and poked around my pantry and tinkered around on Epicurious and ended up on this pie.  And oh boy am I glad I did.

As long and as many-stepped as it looks, the great thing about this is that you can do it in stages.  The day before, I whizzed up the pastry, made the custard while it rested, rolled out the crust to freeze, and chilled the custard for the next day.  I blind baked the pastry the next morning, filled it at my mom’s, and topped it with cream I had whipped at her house.

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As easy as it was, I obviously didn’t pull it off without something going awry.  That would just make too much sense.  I couldn’t find my pie plate anywhere, so ended up using a tart pan.  (No biggie, but my relative are forever accusing me of making “fancy” food.  Scalloped edges didn’t help.)  I also didn’t have any coconut extract on hand, which is where the Malibu comes in.  (What, you’re surprised my bar is stocked better than my pantry?)  While not totally the same, it served it’s purpose.  (And since you only used a teaspoon or so, you’ll have plenty leftover to mix with mango juice for a lovely drink while you bake.  Or drink it straight up, as it’s pretty much juice anyway…)  I also swapped out some of the milk for the coconut variety, and increased both the custard and cream amounts.  You’ll end up with a wee bit more custard than necessary, but like that’s a bad thing.

Coconut Cream Pie
adapted from Bon Appétit

Crust
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons cold vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons of ice water

Filling
3/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs
4 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 1/4 cups milk (Whatever combination of whole and/or coconut you have on hand)
2 1/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coconut rum -or- 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract

Topping
2 1/4 cups whipping cream
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon coconut rum -or- 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract

2/3 cup toasted sweetened coconut

Blend flour, sugar, and salt in bowl of food processor until combined.  Add your fats and throw the whole bowl, ingredients and all, into the freezer for about 15 minutes.  Pulse until you have pea-sized bits of butter.  Sprinkle the water over, and pulse again just until it starts to clump together.  Open the lid, and pinch the dough to be sure it stays together.  If the dough is still too dry, continue to add ice water by the teaspoonful until you have the right consistency.  Dump onto plastic wrap, form into a disk, and chill for an hour while you make the custard.

For the custard, simmer the milks and coconut in a medium saucepan over medium low-ish heat while you whisk together the sugar, eggs, and flour.  While constantly whisking, add the contents of the saucepan to the bowl a ladlefull at a time.  When all of the milk has been combined with the egg mixture, return to the saucepan.  Cook the custard until good and thick.  (I generally start this over medium heat, and as it begins to thicken, I reduce it to medium low until it looks right.  It takes me about ten minutes.)  Cover with plastic wrap directly touching the stuff and chill.  If you’re crazy and doing this to serve right away, chill over an ice bath.

Roll out your crust.  You can make a mess with bench flour, or just do what I do and roll it out between plastic wrap.  A good way to measure is to flip your pie plate (or tart pan) over and center on your pastry round.  You want about an 1 1/2 inch border around the perimeter.  Peel the crust off into your plate, fold the overhang under, and crimp as you wish.  (If you’re using a tart pan for some reason, just use a paring kinfe to cut off the excess.)  Prick all over with a fork, and freeze for at least 15 minutes, or until you get around to baking it.  To bake it, line with foil, dump in pie weights (rice, dried beans, etc.) and bake at 375 for 20 minutes.  Remove weights and foil, and bake for about another 10 minutes, or just barely golden.

To serve, pour the chilled custard into the cooled crust.  Whip your cream, sugar, and extract until peaks form.  I normally prefer my whipped cream on the softer side of things, but you want it a bit firmer for this to hold up in slices.  (Be careful you don’t overwhip–a butter topped pie isn’t as appetizing as it sounds.)  Top custard with cream, and cream with coconut.  You can definitely do this a few hours ahead, and I would, just to allow things to set up a bit.

Apparently it’s only good for four hours or so, but I found no problem with the remaining two slices for breakfast the next morning.  If you think it’ll be an issue, eat the whole thing at once.  (I promise it tasted better than that picture looks.  Holidays plus a million kids running around are not exactly conducive to picture-taking.)

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One Response to “cuckoo for coconuts”  

  1. 1 Aimee S.

    I absolutely hate coconut. Funny, I don’t like the shredded stuff in a bag you find at the store but love the FLAVOR…I have 2 cans of coconut milk in the pantry for Thai soup…..but that looks good Meleyna. ; )

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