Monday, August 22, 2011

Coconut Cream Pie

Creamy and coco-nutty!

If cream pies were a family, then vanilla, lemon, lime, peanut butter, and Boston Cream would be long-distance relatives that I haven't met. On the other hand, chocolate and banana cream would be cousins that I see at yearly get-togethers, while coconut cream would be my grandma - comforting, dependable and something I always look forward to. 

The best coconut cream pie that I can remember eating as a kid was from Louis' Restaurant in Chesterville, Ontario. My mom and I would always get a slice and share it, as my other sisters didn't really care for it. Mom and I'd ooh and ahh over that pie... savouring each creamy bite sandwiched between the flaky crust and the crunchy toasted coconut.

Growing up, we'd usually buy the on-sale McCain frozen cream pies. But a couple of years ago I pleaded with my mom to make a coconut cream pie from scratch. Together we found a recipe and made the pie, and it was pretty good. But I've since added a few tweaks to the recipe to come up with MY favourite coconut cream pie recipe.

For starters, I prefer a graham cracker crust versus a pre-baked pie shell, so I switched that up. Also, the original recipe that I used called for milk and cream, but I substituted coconut milk for the regular milk to boost the coconut flavour. I think these changes make a huge difference, but the pie would certainly still be delicious if you chose to go old-school.

This is a wonderfully delicious dessert to bring your family closer together!

Coconut Cream Pie

1 cup coconut milk
1 cup coffee cream
3 tbsps. all purpose flour
1 tbsp. cornstarch
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 cup flaked coconut, divided
Whipped cream (recipe)
Pre-baked pie shell (graham cracker crust recipe)

1.   Scald coconut milk and cream (heat until bubbles form at the edges of the pot) in the top of a double boiler, over simmering water.
2.  In a small bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, and sugar.
3.  Add the flour mixture to the milk and cook for 15 minutes, stirring constantly. The mixture should be thick and smooth.
4.   Lightly whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl and continue whisking while slowly pouring ¼ cup hot milk mixture over the yolks (doing this slowly while whisking will prevent the yolks from cooking).
5.   Return the yolk mixture to the double boiler and cook for one minute longer.
6.   Remove from heat and add ½ cup coconut and vanilla, stirring just to combine.
7.   Pour mixture into the pre-baked pie shell and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Top with whipped cream.
8.   Toast remaining coconut under broiler and sprinkle on top of the whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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