Tag Archives: coconut

Coconut Cream Cake – The Perfect Easter Dessert

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Finished photo

This is the Coconut Cream Cake that was so very popular at the bakery. Easter seems synonymous with coconut and I’m not sure why but happy it is.

Fairly early in the life of the shop, I got a mailer from General Mills touting their flours. It was a beautiful color brochure with cakes and sweet breads. I tried the cakes and the one that just amazed me is the one we used  with minor changes. This very almond flavored cake is the most moist white cake I have ever eaten.  We used the white chiffon cake for our wedding cakes and it never ceased to get raves.

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Coconut Cream Pie with a Difference

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Coconut Cream PieThis 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.

Pastry Cream 

For how to photos, go here.

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon cold water
1 1/3 cup milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar (100 grams or 3 1/2 ounces)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour (40 grams or 1 1/2  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 3/4 cups sifted cake flour (6 1/3 ounces or 180 grams)
1/3 cup sifted all purpose flour (scant 1 1/2 ounces or 40 grams)
3/4 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 1/2 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 1/2 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.

Assembly

2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut (170 grams or 6 ounces)
1 cup 40% cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar (22 grams or 3/4 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
1/2 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

You might also enjoy:
Lemon Meringue Pie
Lemon Meringue Cake
Coconut Cream Cake

Pina Colada No Bake Cheesecake

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Pina Colada No Bake CheesecakeThis Pina Colada No Bake Cheesecake is the perfect example of why I never tire of baking and pastry. I’m not even sure how it came about but if you go through the blog you will find other recipes on the same theme. I love the flavors of Piña Colada.

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German Chocolate Sweet Rolls

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

German Chocolate Sweet RollsI can’t remember when I started thinking about these German Chocolate Sweet Rolls which are based on the German Chocolate Cake.  While the name implies the cake comes from Germany, that is not the case.  According to NPR, “The name comes from Sam German — who was either an American or an Englishman, depending on what you read.

In 1852, he invented a style of sweet baking chocolate for the Baker’s chocolate company. The company named it after him, but “German’s Chocolate” didn’t become well-known until 1957. That’s when a Texas homemaker sent her now-legendary cake recipe to a Dallas newspaper.

Somewhere along the way, German’s Chocolate Cake lost its apostrophe-s, leaving Germany holding the credit for a classic American dessert.”

This dough, because it is heavy in chocolate and butter, needs a cozy, warm place to get going. I heated the oven to 350°F for exactly one minute, turned it off and put the dough in with the  oven light on to keep the temperature low but warm.  After an hour I removed it and let it finish rising at room temperature where it became light as a feather, exactly as I wanted it.

While I normally like to hold my yeast dough in the refrigerator for a day or two to develop more flavor, the dough for these German Chocolate Sweet Rolls is easiest to shape immediately after it has risen.  And this dough is a cinch to roll out.  It doesn’t spring back and keeps its shape.  It doesn’t have to be perfect either.

Filling and shaping these rolls is much easier than it looks with waves of the traditional German Chocolate Filling rippling through the finished rolls.   These German Chocolate Sweet Rolls are definitely worth making. And I’d be willing to bet that if you make them once, you’ll make them again.

German Chocolate Sweet Rolls FillingFilling ingredients

2/3 cup evaporated milk
2/3 cup sugar (130 grams or 4 1/2 ounces)
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup butter (75 grams or 2 2/3 ounces  or 5 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sweetened coconut (85 grams or 3 ounces)
3/4 cup chopped pecans (85 grams or 3 ounces)

Combine the milk, sugar, egg yolks and butter in a heavy saucepan.  Ingredients in a panCook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened, about 12 minutes. If you draw your finger through the mixture, it will stay divided. Thickened liquidStir in the remaining ingredients. Pecans, coconut added to filling Cool completely and chill. This filling can be made several days ahead.  Keep it refrigerated until filling the dough.

If you forget to make this ahead of time, just make it as called for then spread it out thinly and refrigerate it.  It will be cold and ready to use by the time the dough finishes rising.Quick cooling filling

Chocolate Yeast DoughDough Ingredients

2 cups bread flour (280 grams or 10 ounces)
1/3 cup sugar (65 grams or 2 1/4 ounces)
1/3 cup Dutch cocoa (30 grams or 1 ounce)*
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons butter (60 grams or 2 ounces)
3 ounces semisweet chocolate (85 grams)
1 teaspoon instant coffee
2 1/4  teaspoons instant yeast (1 package, 7 grams or 1/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla

*Natural cocoa can also be used if that is what you have.

Combine the milk, butter, chocolate, and coffee in a small saucepan.  Heat until the butter and chocolate have melted.  When the mixture has cooled to lukewarm, add the yeast and vanilla.  Let sit for about 5 to 10 minutes so the yeast softens.Yeast added to liquid

In the bowl of a processor, add the bread flour, sugar, cocoa, and salt. Dry ingredients in procesorPulse several times to mix.Dry ingredients processed

Pour the cooled liquid over the dry ingredients and Liquid in processorprocess until a soft ball forms.  Process 30 seconds to knead.  Dough finished in processorPlace the dough in a large container sprayed with a baking release and place the dough in it. Unrisen dough in containerCover with plastic wrap. Then cover the container with a lid or foil.

Preheat the oven to 350°F for ONE MINUTE with the LIGHT ONTURN THE OVEN OFF.  Place the dough in the oven for 1 hour.  Remove it from the oven and let it finish rising at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about 1 more hour.Risen Dough

Filling and Shaping for German Chocolate Sweet Rolls

Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12″ x 14″ rectangle.

Lightly mark 4 1/2″ strips in from the edge of the dough on each side.Sides marked

I then use a ruler mark the 4 1/2″ all the up the dough.

Sides Marked

Spread half the filling (about 235 grams or 8 1/3 ounces) evenly over the center strip.Center filled

Bring the right side over to cover the center strip and Right side overspread the remaining filling over the top of this strip of dough.Filling on top

Bring the left side of the dough over to cover the filling. You will have a 4 1/2″ x 12″ rectangle.Filling finished

Place it on a tray and transfer to the freezer to chill.  It should be firm but not hard.

Spray a six-hole Texas muffin pan well. with a baking release.

Remove the filled dough from the freezer and mark the dough every inch along the 12” side.  One inch markingsAllow the dough to soften at room temperature for a few minutes to shape it.

Cut two strips of dough Take one strip and hold each end twisting it by rotating your hands in opposite directions. Twisted stripPlace it in a muffin cup along one side. First twist in cupTwist a second strip and place it in the cup on the other side.
Tuck the edges of the second twist firmly down into the sides of the cup.  It is easiest to do this by using a small flexible spatula and pulling the dough already in the cup back a bit so the edge of the new piece will fit snugly against the side of the cup.Edges of dough pushed back

Shaped unbaked roll

Continue to fill all of the cups with 2 strips of dough each.Pan of rolls

Preheat the oven for 1 minute as above.  Cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 45 minutes.  Remove them from the oven and let the rolls rise until they come to the top of the cups or slightly above.Risen rolls

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350°F.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until the filling is lightly browned on top and the dough is set.  Let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes then carefully go around the edges to release them.

Leave them in the cups.   Let the rolls cool completely.  Go around the edges of the cups again and turn the German Chocolate Sweet Rolls out onto a cooling rack.Finished whole roll

Note:  While any yeast product is best the day it is made, these German Chocolate Sweet Rolls are great even three days later if wrapped individually in plastic wrap and held at room temperature.  These may also be baked, wrapped individually after cooling and frozen for a month.  Thaw at room temperature.  Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the rolls back in the muffin tin.  Cover with foil and heat for about 15 minutes.

Yield:  6 large sweet rolls.  Although I only made the large rolls, 1 strip of twisted dough could be used in regular size muffin cups.  The baking time may need to be reduced.

You might also enjoy the following recipes:

Chocolate Cranberry Quick Bread
Chocolate Orange Raisin Bread 
Lemon Glazed Twist with Brioche

Pina Colada Coffeecake

BY HELEN S. FLETCHER, ON
COPYRIGHT, HELEN S. FLETCHER, 2021. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
ALL PHOTOS BY PASTRIES LIKE A PRO UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

This Pina Colada Coffeecake was one of the most fun ideas I have had in a while.  I am so bogged down with cookie ideas and cookie testing, I sometimes get stuck for other ideas.

I took a recipe for Hawaiian Buns from King Arthur, changed it here and there, filled it with pineapple and coconut, then finished it with a Malibu rum and coconut glaze.  I used crushed pineapple in pineapple juice and unsweetened shredded coconut to control the sweetness of the filling.  Additionally, by draining the juice from the pineapple, I used it in the bread recipe. Continue reading