Saturday, March 16, 2019

Coconut cream pie for my favourite brother

I love the relationship I have with my little brother.  We're 7 years apart, so I can remember life before him... and it's better for having him in it.  Growing up with him, while challenging at times, helped shape me into being a better mama to my boys.

Well now that that sappiness is over, I can get to food.  I lived vicariously through Al when he went to culinary school, and continue to be jealous of his prowess in the kitchen.  For his birthday, my mom aimed to impress by baking not one, but TWO of his favourite pies: key lime and banana cream.  Unfortunately she was slightly misinformed... while her banana cream pie was indeed delightful, COCONUT cream pie is actually his #1.  Mom had never made a coconut cream pie before, and was a bit disappointed that she got it wrong; of course we still had two delicious pies, so no harm done.

Somehow, my overtired mom-of-three brain parsed this situation into a PERSONAL CHALLENGE: to bring Al some homemade coconutty goodness on the actual day of his birth.

CHALLENGE  ACCEPTED.  Coconut cream pie tarts.
During the wonderful time that was my maternity leave, I also started using Pinterest again to find quick and/or make-ahead recipes that would help us eat in (and use up a ridiculous quantity of meat from NutriFarms), even when I went back to work.  I used that addictive platform to find this recipe for a coconut cream pie, and merged it with this recipe for a stabilized whipped cream.  I didn't want the topping to get all sad and deflated while waiting for little brother to finish his shift at work, you see.  However, owing to 1) my last-minute discovery of a lack of cornstarch, 2) my previous utter failures at homemade pie crust, and 3) my desire to make these SUPER COCONUTTY, I made a few tweaks.  Happily these were well-received, if the following text exchange is anything to go by...

I impressed him, I think!!

Honeybee's Coconut Cream Pie
Makes 12 tarts + 1 typical 9" pie... or one very large deep-dish pie

For the filling:
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
  • 5 egg yolks (I saved the whites and made an egg-white omelete for brekkie)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Birds custard powder (you can get this at Bulk Barn... or use 4 tablespoons cornstarch, like the original recipe states)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flaked sweetened coconut
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
For the topping:
  • 1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut
  • teaspoons water
  • teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • cups cold heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

For the crust:
  • Not gonna lie, I used Pillsbury frozen pie crusts.  A dozen tarts in a standard muffin tin uses about 1 & 1/2 to 2 crusts; a third crust is needed if you're also making the standard 9" pie like I did.  You could buy frozen tart shells.  If you're good at making crust from scratch or have another go-to pre-fab product/mix, use it!

  1. Prepare pie crust according to blind-baking instructions of recipe, for whatever receptacle (9" pie plate, deep dish pie plate, 12 standard muffins, etc.) you're using.

For the Toasted Coconut Topping:
  1. Spread coconut evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Place into 350º F oven for 8-10 minutes until coconut has just begun to turn brown.  Set aside to cool.
For the Coconut Custard:
  1. Pour coconut milk and half-and-half into a liquid measuring cup. Add egg yolks and whisk together. Set aside.
  2. Add sugar and custard powder to a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk egg and milk mixture together once more and then slowly begin to add to the sugar and cornstarch, whisking together constantly.
  3. Bring custard mixture to a boil. Switch to a rubber spatula or wooden spoon and continue to stir constantly. Boil one minute.
  4. Remove from heat and add butter, (untoasted) flaked coconut, vanilla, coconut extract, and salt.
  5. Spread custard into pre-baked pie crust/spoon into baked tart shells. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator until set, about 30-45 minutes.
For the Whipped Cream:
  1. Add the water to a microwave safe bowl and sprinkle the unflavored gelatin on top. Allow to sit for a few minutes.
  2. Transfer the gelatin mixture to the microwave and microwave until the gelatin is fully dissolved (start with ~10 seconds in the microwave, it's quick).  Stir the mixture, then set aside to cool.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large mixing bowl using an electric mixer, combine the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla & coconut extract. Whip the mixture until it starts to thicken and soft peaks form, then turn the mixer to low speed. 
  4. Slowly pour in the gelatin mixture until well combined. Increase the mixer to medium speed and continue mixing until stiff peaks form.
  5. Spread or pipe the stabilized whipped cream on top of coconut custard. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  6. When ready to serve, top pie or tarts with toasted coconut.
Oh yes, it works well as a standard pie, too.  I made this after realizing that I had a TON of custard left after filling 12 muffin tin sized crusts.
Cross-section.  It's a bit of a thin pie (since it's really just the leftovers from the tarts)... I look forward to making the whole recipe into one enormous deep-dish pie (probably for Hubs' birthday).
Delish (if slightly messy with all that coconut)
So there you have it, ma.  Apparently Al expects this every year.  We'll draw straws for 2020. ;)

Having enjoyed dusting off the old blog, I remain,

-Honeybee (now a perpetually tired mom of three) <3

1 comment:

  1. Well hello from one perpetually tired mom of three to another!! :) Nice to see you here again, especially with such a decadent looking recipe. Might just have to try it for Easter!! Take care!