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Friday, November 12, 2010

Coconut Cream Pie

I have to confess that this recipe is straight out of the Betty Crocker Cookbook. But it's a classic that we make over and over again. I justify putting it here because it's written in the BC Cookbook as a variation of banana cream pie; therefore, following the directions is always a little tricky for me.

My own finishing touch is the toasted coconut on top. Toast a few tablespoons by putting it under the broiler for a couple of minutes. Check it frequently and toss it when it starts turning light brown. Be careful; it burns quickly and then won't have the desired effect on your pie.

Coconut Cream Pie
1 pie crust, unbaked
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup flaked coconut
1 cup sweetened whipped cream (1 cup heavy cream beaten to stiff peaks with 2 teaspoons sugar)

Bake the pie crust. In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks with fork; set aside. in a 2-quart saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minutes. Be sure it's really boiling when you start timing the minute. Otherwise you'll end up with a gooey mess that will taste good but not look pretty.

Immediately stir at least half of the hot mixture gradually into the egg yolks, then stir back into hot mixture in saucepan. Don't skip this step and try putting the egg yolks straight into the custard; you'll end up with little fragments of scrambled eggs in your pie, which tastes fine but, again, isn't very pretty. Ask me how I know this.

Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in butter, vanilla and coconut; cool filling slightly (this is another step that I believe makes a difference in whether the pie sets up properly, although I have limited empirical evidence). Pour filling into the pie crust. Press plastic wrap on filling to prevent a tough layer from forming on top. Refrigerate at least two hours until set. Top the pie with sweetened whipped cream and toasted coconut.

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