Thursday, April 28, 2011

Yum...Coconut Cream Pie

Okay, this getting-back-into-blogging-after-personal-trauma thing has been a lot harder than I thought it would be. Luckily over Easter I had the chance to engage in some therapeutic (that's a hard word to spell!) baking. I give you an excellent coconut cream pie, above.

The filling is creamy and thick without being overly sweet and there's just enough shredded coconut in there to create a nice texture. I decided to top the pie with meringue, which is something that I recently learned how to make thanks to my grandma.

I will post the procedure that I followed in making this particular pie, but I'd like to note that I cobbled this recipe together from a pie recipe on and a meringue recipe from Sunset magazine.

You can skip the meringue and substitute whipped cream. But, if you've never made meringue, you should definitely try it! Sunset's directions are clear and easy and it's totally worth trying.

If you'd like some more information on making meringues, these websites are helpful: (also check out the sidebar articles)

Coconut Cream Pie with Meringue Topping (Serves 8-10)
1 (9-inch) refrigerated pie crust
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups milk
1 cup coconut milk
4 eggs
3 Tbsp. butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
3 egg whites (reserved from above)
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1/8 tsp. salt

1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Press pie crust into a 9-inch pie plate and use a fork to poke holes at a 1-inch interval around the bottom and sides of the crust. Bake for 9 minutes until just golden brown. Let cool completely while you're making the rest of the pie.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, flour and salt over med-high heat. Slowly add milk to the mixture, stirring well after each bit to keep the sugar-flour mix from lumping up. Once you've added the milk, add the coconut milk and mix well.

3. Whisking constantly, cook the milk-sugar mixture until it thickens and starts bubbling, about 15-20 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook 2 more minutes. Remove pan from heat.

4. Separate egg yolks from whites. Save 3 egg whites for meringue, letting them come to room temperature. 

5. In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks lightly. While whisking the eggs, add a large spoonful of the milk-sugar mixture. This will temper the eggs. Add about a total of 1 cup of the hot mixture to the eggs; return the tempered egg mixture to the rest of the milk-sugar mixture.

6. Put the saucepan back over med-high heat and whisk until it bubbles gently. Cook 2 more minutes; remove pan from heat.

7. Stir butter, vanilla, and shredded coconut into the mixture. Cover to keep warm while you make the meringue.

8. Lower your oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cornstarch.

9. In a glass or metal bowl, beat the egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt until the whites are very foamy.

10. Continue beating the eggs and add the sugar mixture, 1 Tbsp. at a time every 30 seconds. Continue beating until whites hold stiff, glossy peaks. You can test this by stopping the mixer and dipping the beaters into the meringue. You're good to go if the resulting peaks stay upright.

11. Use a spatula to fill the cooled pie shell with the coconut custard. Then spread the meringue over the top of the custard and smooth it all the way to the edges of the crust.

12. Bake the pie at 325 degrees 15-20 minutes until the meringue is lightly browned.

13. Let the pie cool completely on a rack. Slice and enjoy!

You can cover and refrigerate for a few days. The meringue may weep a little on the top but it won't damage the pie at all. 

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