This is a Coconut Cream Pie with a difference. It has a great crust, lightened pastry cream filled with toasted coconut but instead of oodles of whipped cream topping, I have switched it to a meringue which I think allows the filling, which is the star of the dish, to stand out.
The coconut is toasted to bring out the full flavor.
I love whipped cream, but it often coats your tastebuds minimizing other flavors. It also doesn’t hurt that by substituting the meringue the calories and fat are reduced. See what you think.
For how to photos, go here.
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon cold water
1 ⅓ cup milk
4 large egg yolks
½ cup sugar (100 grams or 3 ½ ounces)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (40 grams or 1 ½ ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Soften the gelatin in the water and set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat the milk until very hot but not boiling. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a non-reactive bowl. Whisk in the flour. Add the hot milk slowly, whisking well and scraping the pan with a rubber spatula to make sure all of the egg yolk mixture is incorporated.
Strain into the top of a double boiler whisking constantly, heat until very hot and beginning to thicken. Remove the top of the double boiler and place directly over heat. Whisk constantly until it comes to a boil; cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat; add the vanilla. Tear the gelatin into small pieces and stir into the hot liquid until it is completely dissolved. There is no need to liquefy it, the heat of the mixture will do this for you.
Transfer to a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream, poke a few holes in it. Cool to room temperature and then and chill at least 6 hours or overnight.
Yield: 2 cups
Single Pie Crust for the Coconut Cream Pie
For How to pictures, go here.
1 ¾ cups sifted cake flour (6 ⅓ ounces or 180 grams)
⅓ cup sifted all purpose flour (scant 1 ½ ounces or 40 grams)
¾ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces and frozen until hard (90 grams or 3 ounces)
3 tablespoons shortening (like Crisco) frozen and cut into pieces (45 grams or 1 ½ ounces)
2 tablespoons beaten egg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
5 tablespoons water, chilled and divided
Place both flours and the salt in the processor bowl. Pulse several times to mix. Place the butter and shortening evenly over the flour and pulse until the butter and shortening are in pea size pieces.
Combine the egg, lemon juice and water. Pour it in a circle over the processor contents. Pulse until it forms clumps. Pour out onto a lightly floured work surface. Push the clumps together into a ball. Knead 4 or 5 times for form a dough. Pat into a circle about ½ inch thick. Wrap in film and refrigerate a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out to a circle approximately 13 inches. Place in the pie pan and fit into corners. Cut the overhang an even 1 inch all the way around. Tuck the crust under and flute the edges.
To bake blind, freeze for 30 or more minutes until hard. Spray a large piece of foil with a non-stick baking release Place it, sprayed side down, on top of the crust. Fill it to the top with beans or pie weights. Bake for 20 minutes with the weights. Remove them by bringing the four corners of the foil together and lifting out. Return to the oven and bake for approximately 13 to 15 minutes more until lightly browned and set.
Cool completely before assembling.
2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut (170 grams or 6 ounces)
1 cup 40% cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar (22 grams or ¾ ounce)
Pastry Cream, chilled
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the coconut in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes until a medium brown, stirring several times so it evenly browns. Cool.
Combine the cream and powdered sugar in mixing bowl; beat until stiff. Fold into, along with the coconut into the pastry cream. Spread it evenly into the cooled, baked crust.
Meringue for the Coconut Cream Pie
For How to pictures go here.
4 egg whites from above
½ teaspoon cream of tarter
1 cup sugar (200 grams or 7 ounces)
Place the oven rack on the most bottom rung. Preheat the oven to broil.
Place the egg whites and cream of tarter in a mixing bowl. Beat until soft peaks begin to form. Gradually add the sugar. Beat to really stiff peaks. Place in a piping bag fitted with a large open star (#8 or 9 open star) and pipe the meringue into swirls onto the filling starting at the inside edge of the crust, making sure you are attaching it to the crust. Fill any empty places with small stars of meringue.
Pipe more meringue on top of the already piped meringue until it is all used. Alternately, just spoon it on and make swirls with the spoon making sure you are attaching it all the way around to the crust.
At home I use a small pastry torch to brown the meringue. The important thing is to hold it about a foot away and keep it moving to avoid burning the meringue. You can see a lot of pastry torches, sometime called Creme Brulee torches here.
Alternatively. place the oven rack to the most bottom rung. Preheat the oven to broil on high. Set the pie on a rimmed baking sheet and into the oven for about 1 minute and 15 seconds or until lightly browned. Watch it carefully as the top most peaks of the crust will burn quickly. Cool completely before cutting. Store in the refrigerator.
Makes a 9" Coconut Cream Pie or 10 to 12 servings