October is a month of birthdays around here — and few of us opt for actual birthday cakes – most often it’s ice cream cake, or a croquembouche, or pie. My husband always chooses lemon meringue pie, but this year his choice is coconut cream — I made this last week for a story, and he declared it the Best Pie Ever. We had to invite friends over to help finish it, as it could not stay in the fridge. I personally couldn’t be trusted alone with it. I decided to swirl in a big spoonful of pumpkin puree, knowing how well pumpkin pairs with creamy things. This makes a delicious alternative to the usual pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving dessert.
It’s easy to make, even with a custard made from scratch – make sure you whisk it frequently as it cooks, and constantly as it starts to bubble and thicken – sweet custard scorches easily.
This pie is well worth it – your family will be rewarded for your efforts!
Classic Coconut Cream Pie
Adapted from Bon Appétit.
pastry for a single crust pie (or use a graham crust)
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 14 oz. (398 mL) can coconut milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup shredded or flaked coconut
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. coconut extract (optional)
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
3 Tbsp. icing sugar
1/4 tsp. coconut or vanilla extract
1/2 cup shredded or flaked coconut, toasted
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry and fit it into a 9-inch pie plate (don’t use a deep-dish pie plate); crimp the edges and poke the bottom a few times with a fork. Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
Line the pastry with foil and fill with pie weights or dry beans; bake for 15-20 minutes, or until pale golden.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan whisk together the sugar and flour to get rid of any lumps; eggs, egg yolk, coconut milk, pumpkin puree and coconut and set over medium-high heat; bring to a simmer, whisking almost continuously, until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Cook for a minute, stirring constantly, then remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla and coconut extract. Set aside to cool slightly, then pour into the pastry shell, top with a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm.
To make the topping, beat the cream, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon until stiff peaks form; spread over the filling and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Chill until ready to serve. Serves 8-10.