Sunday, November 11, 2012

Coconut Cream Pie

A get well gift that keeps giving

When I was in high school I worked at a great restaurant, The Pancake Wagon. It was only open from 6-3 every day and it was full of characters -- the cook, the "hostess", the owners, and the waitresses. I learned to drink coffee there, and we ate fried fish sandwiches after our shift. One of my favorite things about the Pancake Wagon was the pie lady -- she'd bring in pies on Saturdays and they were awesome. One of my favorites was the coconut cream.

Flash forward 30 years, and I find myself craving some coconut cream pie. I decided this weekend to make one -- I thought I'd give it to my friend Pat who wasn't feeling well, but then my husband got wind of the baking, and requested one for us. So I made two.... neither worked out, the filling never solidified, and it was just a mess. Still edible, but not a mess.

On Sunday I tried again, but this time, with a new custard recipe. Success! Unfortunately, that's the one that went with Pat (feel better soon!) but as we eat the two duds in bowls with spoons, next time I make it for us it's going to be great.

Pie Crust
1 c. flour
1/3 c. shortening
1/3 c. cold water

In food processor put flour and butter into bowl, with the blade running, slowly add cold water in the tube, just until the dough forms a ball in the processor. Remove, shape into a ball, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

After completely chilled, roll out for a 9" pie plate, prick liberally, and pre-bake for this pie.

Bake at 450 degrees for 12 minutes.

Coconut Custard
1/4 c. cornstarch
3/4 c. sugar (divided)
2 c. half and half
4 egg yolks (when separating eggs, save 2 egg whites for pie; 2 others for breakfast another day)
3 T. butter
1 t. vanilla
1 c. coconut

In large sauce pan, combine sugar and cornstarch. In bowl, combine egg yolks and cream. Gradually add liquid to sugar mixture, heating it over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once all liquid is added, heat to
boiling, stirring constantly. Once it reaches boil, allow to boil for 1 minute, remove from heat, stir in butter, coconut, and vanilla.

Place custard in bowl, cover with plastic so the plastic touches the top of the custard, chill for at least 20 minutes.

Whip 2 egg whites until stiff, add 1/4 c. of sugar.

Fold custard in baked pie shell, top with egg whites making sure they are spread all the way to the crust covering all custard. Sprinkle coconut on top of pie. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes (until lightly browned).

Next weekend might be banana cream!

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