3/28/2014

#48 Coconut Cream Pie

Posted by Chrisi



(Sing)
Sometimes you feel like a nut
Sometimes you don’t
Almond Joy’s got nuts
Mounds don’t

Almond Joy’s got rich milk chocolate
Coconut and a crunchy nut, too
Mounds got deep dark chocolate

Chewy coconut ooh




This pie inspired my sister-in-law to sing the Almond Joy/Mounds jingle from our childhood. While no Mounds candy was used, it’s got “deep dark chocolate and chewy coconut, ooh.”

Quite honestly, the addition of the dark chocolate was completely utilitarian. Cream custards often make the crust soggy, even if it has been fully baked. For this reason, I brush the crust with egg white. It seals the vent holes and acts as a protective layer between the filling and the crust. In fact, this technique works so well that I use it for any partially (see pumpkin pie) or fully baked crust. But this time I went one extra step… I painted the crust with melted dark chocolate. No soggy crust here! And the chocolate adds a little extra something special.

Also, and I’m super-excited about this (!), the crust did not shrink one bit when baked. This was a first for me! I had a lot of shrinkage with the banana cream pie. A little less with the chai tea cloud pie (the only success with that pie). Even less with the strawberry pie. And now zero, zip, nada with the coconut cream pie! The trick? Patience! Pie crust shrinks when gluten is activated and stretched, so I gave the gluten plenty of time to relax at each step. I refrigerated the dough for several hours and then rolled it out, cold (great arm workout!). When I placed the dough in the pie pan, I was careful not to stretch it. I gently laid the crust down in the corners, instead of pushing it into the pan. Then I then I covered the dough with plastic wrap and let it sit overnight in the frig before I baked it. Perfection!

Crust: 9” fully baked crust sealed with beaten egg whites and dark chocolate

Filling:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup cream of coconut (not coconut milk), well mixed
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sweetened coconut flakes, plus 1/2 cup for toasting
  • 3/4 heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
  • ~1/3 cup Ghirardelli’s chocolate chips, 60% cocoa


Instructions:

Crust. Bake the crust with pie weights (I use a mixture of random beans) for 17 minutes at 400 °F. Prick the crust with a fork ~8 times to make vent holes then bake an additional 10 minutes at 375 °F. Use a pastry brush to apply whisked egg whites then bake an additional 2 minutes. Allow the crust to cool completely. Once cool, melt the chocolate. (I heated the chocolate in a glass bowl in the microwave at 20 sec. intervals). Use a pastry brush to paint the chocolate onto the crust. Place the crust in the freezer for ~20 minutes to set the chocolate, then move the crust to the refrigerator.

Filling. Mix the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a small saucepan. Add the milk, well-mixed cream of coconut and beaten egg yolks. Heat on medium with constant stirring until the mixture thickens, approximately 6 minutes. (Careful! It thickens quickly). Remove from heat. Stir in the butter, vanilla extract and 1 cup of shredded coconut. (If you want extra coconut flavor, add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of coconut extract). Place plastic wrap over the top of the filling to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cool.

Toasted coconut topping. Toast the coconut in a skillet on medium-low heat with intermittent stirring. It will take about 15 minutes… but be patient. The coconut oil will cause the coconut to burn if higher heat is used. Set aside or store in a baggie until ready to use.


Assembly. Pour the coconut filling into the pie crust. Make the whipped cream just prior to serving: In a chilled mixing bowl, whisk the heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add the confectioner’s sugar and whisk until peaks are stiff but not grainy. Spoon the whipped cream over the coconut filling. Top with the toasted coconut. Serve immediately.

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