Coconut Cream Pie

This week I’ve gone out on a limb with the recipe. It’s “mine." The base of most cream pies is pastry cream and this makes some substitutions—coconut cream for most of the milk and rum to compliment. One of unspoken goals of YoP—grow comfortable enough to LEGO-ize pies. The Chocolate Meringue uses a basic pastry cream base, no reason not to use it for this.

Some numbers are different, thought. Less sugar because sweetened coconut flakes don’t need it like 60% chocolate. The chocolate added stabilizing power, too, so without it we need a little more cornstarch. And rum, because we don’t use enough booze in pies.

The process is the same as the chocolate. Bring the milk and half the sugar to a boil, temper a third into the cornstarch/sugar/yolk slurry. Return to a boil, whisk vigorously for a few minutes. This cooks out the raw starch flavor and neutralizes amylase (a starch eating enzyme in yolks). Remove from heat and incorporate coconut, butter, vanilla, and rum. Pour it into a baked deep dish pie and chill. I went with a meringue topping, but whipped cream works, too. (I’m thinking meringue vs whipped cream might be a regional thing. All my older Southern cookbooks use meringue.)

The pie by the way, turned out beautifully. I couldn't wait for it to fully set... Which is what happened with the chocolate pie, too! The flavor was what I hoped for—coconut without being terribly sweet and the rum stayed in the background. Perfect companion to a black cup of coffee.

This is also the tenth pie in the Year of Pie project. The basics are coming along nicely. Soon we'll start talking about what goes into a pie and breaking it down into methods.

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 9" Deep dish fully baked pastry crust

Filling

  • 3c Liquid (A 13.66 fl oz can of coconut milk with enough milk or half-and-half added to make 3c)

  • 1c Sugar

  • 1/4c Cornstarch

  • 4 yolks

  • 1/4tsp salt

  • 1c sweetened coconut flakes

  • Sweetened coconut flakes for the top

  • 2Tbls Butter

  • 2tsp Vanilla

  • 2Tbls Rum

Topping

  • Meringue or Whipped Cream

Directions

  1. Combine the liquid and half the sugar in a medium pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and remaining sugar.
  3. Stir egg yolks into the starch-sugar mixer.
  4. Once the milk comes to a boil, remove from heat and temper one third into the starch-yolk mixture. Stir starch-yolk back into the milk.
  5. Return pot to medium heat. Stir constantly and bring back to a boil.
  6. Stirs vigorously once it returns to a boil. Pay special attention to the bottom and sides. Boil for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat. Stir in coconut, butter, vanilla, and rum.
  8. Pour into baked pie shell.
  9. If you're topping with whipped cream, then cover the filling with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming and fully chill before topping. Toast some coconut flakes on a sheet pan in a 375˚ oven and sprinkle on top.
  10. If you're going with a meringue, you can top the filling while it's hot, or chill before topping. Sprinkle coconut flakes on the finished meringue, and toast it all under a broiler, in a 375˚ oven, or with a torch.
  11. Chill for several hours, then serve!