There were lazy days recently enjoyed over here; lazy days when I was getting over a flu and my kids were home on spring break. I have so many recipes to share and haven’t had the time to get to it. While I was sick, all I could think of was making a Coconut Cream Pie.
Doesn’t everyone think of thick and dreamy slices of Coconut Cream Pie when they are fighting a fever? I was feeling lethargic and unambitious. For days. I couldn’t shake this flu and I couldn’t get my energy back…but I was dreaming of Italian meringue and coconut.
I had to wait until the fever passed and then it was time to get outside and enjoy the gorgeous weather. And then it was time to start baking. I tried to take as many photos as I could while juggling boiling hot sugar syrup (thank goodness my mom was here when I was making that and was helping me so I could get a photo). And thank goodness my baking assistant Luca was here to help with some mixing. We even cracked an egg that had twin yolks.
My mom said that brings good luck.
I used Martha Stewart’s pie filling. I have seen recipes where the coconut is strained out of the filling. I suppose that is for those that don’t like the crunchy texture in every bite. I happen to adore coconut and didn’t mind the texture one bit. In the recipe I used from Martha she tops her pie with a simple and wonderful whipped cream.
If you prefer something quicker, go ahead and whip some cream to put on top. I just love Italian meringue and it was the perfect way to use the egg whites from the egg yolks used in the filling. You see, some of my mother-in-law Teresa is rubbing off on me. Every ingredient has to be used for something…there should be no waste. And honestly, this Italian meringue is light as a feather and with just the right sweetness. If I were in a rush, I would probably make it again with a whipped cream topping. But this is not the sort of pie to be in a rush to make. I was anxious to slice it and see how it tasted. I should’ve waited a full 6 hours. Two hours after chilling was way too soon. The pie's filling wasn’t cold enough and it made a messy but delicious slice.
An irresistible pie. A happy spring pie! Hello, spring…we are ready for you and your beautiful days filled with happy and sweet pies. ;)
Perfect Pie Crust Ingredients:
pie crust recipe Martha Stewart
*feel free to use a ready made pie crust
Yield: Makes 1 double-crust for a 9-inch pie (I used a deep dish pie plate and this filled it perfectly)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons margarine or chilled vegetable shortening
1/4 cup ice water
Hand Method: In a large bowl, sift the flour and salt. Cut the chilled butter and margarine into 1-tablespoon bits and add to the flour. With a pastry cutter, work flour and shortening together until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the ice water little by little pressing the pastry together into a ball. Wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
It is very important to work the pastry as little as possible. Don't over handle. A secret to light, flaky pastry is to keep the mixture cool, add as little water as possible, and mix only as much as necessary.
Food Processor Method: Put flour and salt in bowl of machine. Cut butter and margarine into flour. Process a few seconds until mixture resembles coarse meal. Drop by drop add the water, processing very briefly. The whole process would take 20 to 30 seconds. Wrap and chill the pastry for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 425 F. If pastry has been chilled for a long time, let it sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before rolling.
Lightly flour a pastry board, marble counter, or kitchen counter. Divide the pastry in half. Pat each piece of pastry into a flat round. Lightly flour the rolling pin. Roll pastry in one direction only, turning pastry continually to prevent it from sticking to the surface.
Using pie plate as a guide, measure rolled-out pastry -- it should be slightly larger than the pie plate and 1/8-inch thick. Fold rolled pastry circle in half so you can lift it more easily. Unfold, gently fitting the pastry into the pie plate, allowing pastry to hang evenly over the edge. Fold edges over and flute. Line the dough with foil paper and fill the dough with dried beans or pie weights. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes. Remove the weights and the foil paper and bake another 10 minutes (or until golden). Cool completely on a wire rack.
For the Topping and Filling
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt (I used sea salt)
2 3/4 cup milk
4 large egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
Decrease the oven temperature to 350 F. Spread 1/2 cup coconut on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes, tossing occasionally. Don’ t leave the oven for a minute. Check it constantly because it can go from nicely toasted to badly burned in a matter of minutes.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk in the milk, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until bubbling and thick; about 7 minutes total (you end up cooking it 2 minutes after it comes to a boil.)
In a medium sized bowl, whisk egg yolks until combined.
Add the milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture in a slow and steady stream. Whisk until completely incorporated. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until it returns to a boil; about 1-2 minutes.
Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl and stir in 1 1/4 cups coconut (I didn’t strain my mixture and it was perfectly fine). Pour filling into cooled crust and smooth top.
Refrigerate until filling is chilled and completely set, about 2 hours (or wrap tightly with plastic and refrigerate, up to 2 days).
When the filling has cooled for 2 hours, make the Italian meringue.
Add the room temperature egg whites and the cream of tartar to the bowl of a mixer. Before beating the egg whites and cream of tartar, add the sugar and water to a large sauce pan and bring to a boil. Let it simmer without stirring it until a candy thermometer reads 250 F. While it is simmering, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar in the mixer for about 3 minutes. When the sugar syrup reaches 250 F carefully pour it into the mixer with the egg whites and beat until it is thick; about another 4 minutes.
The total mixing time is about 7 minutes.
Spread the meringue over the pie filling.
Toss on the toasted coconut before serving. I ended up chilling the pie for about 5 hours until it was completely set. I attempted to slice it after 2 hours and it was definitely not ready. That’s what I get for being impatient! ENJOY this wonderful pie and enjoy your day. Thanks for the visit and your sweet comments. :)