Sunday, March 20, 2011

Coconut Cream Pie...Mmm!

So... It's my beautiful mommy's birthday this weekend and I just had to make her her favorite pie! I didn't want to just make a 'jello' pudding pie out of a package... it just wouldn't seem right! So I found a recipe online and tweeked it a bit to my liking to fit what she'd like...If you want to make it... just make sure you have a candy thermometer If you want to make the yummy meringue!

Coconut Cream Pie topped with Italian Meringue 

(serves 12)


1 1/2 cup of dates
1/3 cup of chopped almonds
2 tbsp of warm water
Coconut Cream Filling:
1  cup Coconut milk (skim the cream off the top first and then add up to 1 cup)
2  cups  half-and-half
1 1/2  cups  flaked sweetened coconut
1  vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2/3  cup  sugar
1/3  cup  cornstarch
1/4  teaspoon  salt
4  large egg yolks
2  tablespoons  butter
3  large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2  teaspoon  cream of tartar
1/2  cup  sugar
1/4  cup  water
1/4  cup  flaked sweetened coconut, toasted

You can definitely make this pie with a different crust, but my mom doesn't eat flour so I just made this recipe. Do as you please, but this is the recipe I used... I just put the dates and the almonds into the food processor and chopped them up until they were really fine and added a little warm water here and there until it started to stick together. Lydia loved this part since I let her push the button once! (I guess if you need to get out a little steam, you could smash them by hand too). I spread it into a cute little pie plate. Now if you're baking your crust, make sure to let it cool fully during the next steps.

mmmm... the most important ingredients! Coconut milk, 1/2 n 1/2, coconut, sugar, and vanilla beans. If I could have found some unsweetened coconut or some of the yummy non-dehydrated stuff from the freezer section then I would have used that instead of the sweetened, but unfortunately I couldn't find any this time

So add your coconut milk, half and half, 1 1/2 cups of coconut to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean with a spoon and add those along with the whole vanilla pod into the milk mixture. Heat it slowly to a simmer and then quickly cover it and remove it from the heat.

Now look over at my sweet little boy sleeping in the bouncer on the counter with a death grip on his monkey :]

Now in a large bowl... add 2/3 cup of sugar, your cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks and wisk it all together. It'll be one nice, big, gooey clump, but no worries!  (Make sure to set aside 3 of the whites of your eggs for later!) 

Now that 15 minutes have gone by... Strain your milk mixture through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a bowl. Gather the edges of the cheesecloth and squeeze out the remain liquids into the bowl. Don't burn yourself! It's still pretty hot. Toss the remaining stuff in the cheesecloth into the trash. Now add the milk mixture to the sugar and egg yolk mixture. Wisk it until it's smooooth

Return your mixture to your saucepan and bring it slowly to a boil while wisking it constantly. It'll set up fairly quick, so don't let it burn on the bottom of the pan!

Remove it immediately and put it into a bowl over ice. Mix it to cool it down a bit faster. It'll take about 5-7minutes. Now pour that into your cooled pie crust, smooth it, cover it, and put it in the fridge to set for an hour.

15 minutes before my hour was up for the pie to be done, I started my meringue topping. It takes about 2 hours to set so be aware of that to know you'll be able to serve it on time.
Beat your egg whites (room temp), and cream of tarter with a mixer on high until stiff peaks form. Then combine 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of water into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Cook it without stirring until your candy thermometer registers at 250°. ( I didn't use a saucepan small enough to keep my thermometer from touching the bottom so I had to keep tipping it a bit to get a reading... just a warning. Choose your smallest saucepan!) Pour the hot syrup in a thin stream over the egg whites and beat on high until it gets thick. Spread the meringue over your pie and make it pretty... then cover the pie and stick it in the fridge for 2 hours to set. Top it with some toasted coconut if you'd like... we opted for a few cute sprinkles on top instead!

Now lick the spoon! It's perfectly yummy and totally safe to heat. The eggs are cooked just enough from the sugar syrup and tastes amazing. YUMM!!

It turned out GREAT! The taste was delicate and sweet. Using real vanilla beans really made a big difference. Maybe I've just had too many pudding pies made from a box.... but this was good. I can't really eat dairy, so it left me a bit sick, but it was worth it :) I'll be working on a dairy free option soon! I know I definitely will be using the meringue recipe in place of whipped cream topping on anything I do make dairy free in the future. It was great! So let me know what you think after you make it!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! I'm excited to make you your pie every year for your birthday! I love you so much :]

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