In December I was agonizing over what to get Joe's family for Christmas/Hanukkah/Christmaskah. At the same time I was mulling over what to make for my mom's nontraditional Christmas dinner. I was considering making a coconut cream pie for the dinner and randomly asked Joe if his dad happened to like coconut cream pie. "Oh, coconut cream pie? That's one of his favorites!" A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE. OR HANUKKAH MIRACLE. INTER-RELIGIOUS MIRACLE.
So I revised my plans and decided to make two coconut cream pies. I eventually decided upon a coconut cream pie recipe by Emeril that used coconut milk in addition to shredded coconut to make the coconuty pie filling. Extra coconuty goodness? Yes please.
I was hesitant to make my own pie crusts, as my making pie crusts highly correlates with an emotional breakdown. But I did it anyway! Because what is better is more appropriate during the holidays than a nice, long nervous breakdown?
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 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, recipe follows
- 1/3 cup toasted coconut
- Whipped cream, for garnish
In a nonstick 1-quart saucepan, combine 3/4 cup sugar, coconut milk, and 1 cup milk. Scald mixture.
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, about 2 minutes. 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.
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
6 to 7 tablespoons ice cold water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Mix well. Add the shortening and mix until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the water and let sit 1 minute. Either using a fork or your hands, carefully press the mixture together to form a soft ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a circle about 12 inches in diameter and 1/4-inch thick. Gently fold the circle of dough in half and then in half again so that you can lift it without tearing it, and unfold into a 9-inch by 2-inch deep-dish pie pan. Crimp the edges and chill again for 30 minutes before baking.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake pie shell until golden, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely before using.
But I actually had the easiest time with this pie crust. I think a large part of this was because my mom doesn't own a large food processor, which I normally use to make pie crusts, and I was forced to do it by hand. Maybe this prevented me from over mixing the dough or something? Whatever it was, I did not want to kill somebody when I was finished. The crust was in no way attractive but everybody in the immediate family survived so I considered that a success.
Another bonus to making pie on Christmas was that the oven was on for hours and hours, which is quite useful when your mom's heaters decide to fail in the depths of the Alaskan winter. I came home from school and thought, "We have no heat and our vicious dog is attempting to eat the neighbors? What is this, a Charles Dickens novel?"
Because everything I touch magically doubles, I somehow came out with way too much of the coconut filling, I probably had enough to fill like three pies. Huh. I had no choice but to leave the remainder in mom's fridge where it would taunt her silently. Haha. Mu haha. MWA HAHAHA.
Anyway. I was pleased with how this turned out, I think the coconut milk made it especially good. Even though my pie crust skillz are quite as good as I would like them to be, the crust still tasted good. But really, in pies like these its all about the filling, baby. And it was quite good.
Next up: something that I actually made THIS MONTH. I know, crazy right?! Its almost like I try to keep a blog about baking!