Coconut cream pie holds a special place in my heart. I think it was the summer of 1991, I was unemployed and not too happy with my station in life. My mother included me on a trip to Oklahoma, which is one of my favorite places to visit.
On this trip we took a side adventure to see the country and places of her childhood. We drove on long majestic roads with old long-abandoned barns, cruised through towns that have been obliterated by the arrival of Walmart, and stopped at cute little family restaurants along the way.
Somehow we decided to share a slice of coconut cream pie as dessert at many of our stops. The only requirement was that the pie had to be made from scratch. We had our share of slices. Some were great, some were good, a few needed help, but it is the memory of that trip that makes me only want to share a slice coconut cream pie with my mom. So make this great pie and share it with people you love. Enjoy!
Coconut Cream Pie
For the filling2 cups whole milk 1/2 cup sugar 6 egg yolks 1/3 cup sifted corn starch Pinch of salt 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 3 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into chunks 1 cup shredded coconut, lightly toasted Your favorite pie shell-baked blind
Topping1 cup heavy cream 2 tablespoons powdered sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla Toasted coconut for decorating
To get started, in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk to a slight boil, making sure not to scald. In a separate bowl combine the sugar, yolks, cornstarch and salt.
Whisk until all ingredients are combined.
Now we are going to temper the sugar egg mixture. This is warming the yolks so that they won’t curdle and turn your beautiful custard into scrambled eggs. So, whisking the egg mixture, slowly add about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture. Still whisking, add the remaining milk. Transfer the mixture back into the saucepan and over medium heat whisk continuously until mixture begins to thicken and bubble.
Remove from heat. Whisk in vanilla and butter. Stir until everything is incorporated and the custard is smooth and shiny.
Stir in coconut. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cool.
For the topping
Using a stand mixer or the power of your arm, whisk the cream until it holds a medium to stiff peak. Add sugar and vanilla.
To assemble the pie
Pour custard into pre-baked crust. Spoon whipped cream over custard. Sprinkle toasted coconut for decoration.
Andrea Charroin was a trained baker and pastry chef in San Francisco before she and her family moved to Redding 10 years ago. After falling in love with Redding’s downtown, Andrea and husband Westley opened a little pastry shop, Rene-Joule Patisserie, across from the Cascade Theatre. For the three years Rene-Joule was in business, it was renowned for making everything from scratch, using the best ingredients and keeping with a seasonal menu. To this day, Andrea is asked about her Marathon Bars, Orange Twists and sourdough bread.
Copyright 2009 Andrea R. Charroin. Visit her blog at bakerslove.typepad.com