Monday, May 12, 2014

Coconut Cream Pie


Easter may have come and gone, but is that any reason to stop making spring-y desserts? No way! As far as I'm concerned, we still have another good six weeks of spring (100 degree temps notwithstanding). Before we roll out the watermelon and ice cream, I'm not ready to be done with the lemon bars, the carrot cake, or this delectable coconut cream pie. It's one of those sleeper recipes that came from my rather unassuming Bridal Edition Betty Crocker Cookbook, but I tell ya, Betty really hit some home runs as a faux homemaker extraordinaire (you did know Betty Crocker wasn't a real person, right?) Even my husband, who likes cream pies about as much as most men like watching Gilmore Girls, admitted to genuinely liking this version. My only significant change to Betty's original recipe was to toast the coconut on top, for aesthetic reasons as much as for taste. (Though it does nothing for the coconut getting stuck in your teeth--that's the price you pay for tropical deliciousness, I guess.) I also like that it's not one of those cream pies that's 80% cream and 20% pie. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy whipped cream. I just like pie better. And I'm not crazy about the heaping pile of excess goo that ends up on the side of my plate like liposuction aftermath. 

So on that lovely note: gear up for the rest of spring and get ready for the coconut cream pie of your dreams! (Seriously, it's really yummy.)

Coconut Cream Pie
(Adapted from Betty Crocker's Cookbook: Bridal Edition)

Ingredients:

Pastry for a one-crust pie
4 large egg yolks
2/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
3 c. milk
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flaked unsweetened coconut
3/4 heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar

Directions:

1. Bake pastry for one-crust pie at 450 degrees for 9-11 minutes (or according to package/recipe directions).

2. Beat egg yolks with a fork in a medium bowl; set aside. Mix sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a 2-quart saucepan. Gradually stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute.

3. Stir at least half of the hot mixture gradually into the egg yolks, then stir the whole thing back into hot mixture in the saucepan. Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in butter, vanilla, and 3/4 c. of the coconut. Pour into pie crust. Press plastic wrap onto filling to prevent  a tough layer from forming on top. Refrigerate at least 2 hours until set.

4. To make the whipped cream: In a large chilled bowl, beat whipping cream and powdered sugar on high speed until soft peaks form. To make the toasted coconut: Spread remaining 3/4 c. flaked coconut on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 3 minutes.

5. Remove plastic wrap from pie and spread whipped cream on top. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Serves 8.

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