Have you ever been to a diner and ordered a slice of pie? More often than not, it comes topped with a mountain of meringue, and I find that unfortunate. I recognize that it complements some pies better than a heaping portion of whipped cream, but I find it tasteless and a little bit gross.
I hope I didn't offend anyone with that statement; to each her own. I simply prefer a blanket of sweetened cloud-like cream--it adds a touch of decadence to even the most basic of pies.
|Proper proportions? I think so.|
Some pies, however, don't need a touch of decadence. Case in point: Coconut cream pie. Lusciously velvety and oh-so-flavorful, with contrasting textures from the custard to the crust and toasted coconut on top, this is show-stopper of a dessert. So, while it doesn't need whipped cream to achieve delectable status, I figured it certainly wouldn't hurt.
Whether by accident or subconscious choice, I ended up with equal parts filling and whipped cream. It was magnificent--dense custard and soft cream melting together in the mouth. The small bit of crunchy coconut on top was the perfect ending touch. I would really recommend this pie, topped with as much or as little whipped cream as you please. Or, if you insist, meringue.
Pie of Creamy Coconut and Creamed Cream
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into small pieces (do it!)
4 tablespoons (or more) ice water
1-1/2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided use
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
2/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut, for garnish
1 1/4 cups chilled whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon coconut extract
To make the crust, blend flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter and shortening; cut in until mixture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle 4 tablespoons ice water over mixture. Process just until moist clumps form, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic. Chill 1 hour.
Roll out dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to 14-inch round. Transfer dough to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Fold overhang under. Crimp edges decoratively. Pierce bottom of crust all over with fork. Freeze crust 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line crust with aluminum foil. Fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake 20 minutes. Remove weights and foil. Bake until golden and set, about 10 minutes. Cool. (Crust can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand at room temperature.)
To make the filling, heat the milk, cream, and 1/4 cup of sugar until a thin skin forms on top. Meanwhile, viciously whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and egg yolks. Add in the flour, cornstarch, and salt and mix well. Temper in the very hot milk mixture, whisking well. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly with a spatula for 1 minute (filling will be thick). Add the butter to the custard and let it sit for 15 minutes before folding it in, along with the vanilla and coconut. Pour the filling into crust, cover the surface of the filling with wax paper and cool completely, about 4 hours.
Toast coconut in heavy small skillet over medium heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Cool completely.
Using electric mixer, beat cream, sugar, and coconut extract in medium bowl until peaks form. Spread whipped cream all over top of filling. Sprinkle evenly with toasted coconut.
For another creamy treat (and one that's even MORE decadent), check out my bete noire on the Key Ingredient blog!