A Southern Grace: pie in the sky

July 15, 2012

pie in the sky


Some may accuse me of being a little bit un-American, but my favorite pie isn't the apple variety, though it was at one time. My tastes have now moved on to coconut cream (sans meringue, if you please!).

Since I'm also on a cupcake tear, it's only natural that I devise some sort of coconut cream pie cupcakes. That, my friends, is what you've stumbled upon here.

The coconut cake is a fluffy and fantastic vehicle for a pastry cream filling made with coconut milk and a lightly coconut-flavored buttercream frosting. The crowning touch is a smattering of toasted coconut on top. Don't skip that part--toasted coconut has a completely different flavor (and texture, obviously) from the untoasted form.

I could've gone crazy and placed a graham cracker crust in the bottom of each cup, but while the crust is my favorite feature in several types of pie, that's just not the case when it comes to coconut cream. That custardy, creamy filling is the highlight for me. That's not to say that you couldn't sprinkle some graham cracker crumbs on top for a similar effect (along with the toasted coconut--I was serious about not skipping that!); in fact, I think that would be grand.

Coconut Cream Pie Cupcakes
(adapted from Martha)
Makes 21

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed sweetened shredded coconut
6 ounces (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs, plus 2 large egg whites
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Coconut Pastry Cream:
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1-2/3 cups coconut milk (1 can)
2/3 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flaked coconut

Coconut Buttercream Frosting:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2-3 tablespoons milk, room temperature
2-3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon coconut extract

1-1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted

First, make your pastry cream so it can chill. Beat the egg yolks with a wire whisk until smooth and lighter in color. Add 1/4 cup sugar and beat well. Set aside. In a small heavy saucepan, combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in the coconut milk and milk until cornstarch is dissolved and mixture is smooth. Place saucepan over medium-high heat and cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, continuing to stir, 2 minutes longer. Remove the pan from the heat. While whisking the egg yolks, add a bit of the milk mixture to temper the yolks. Slowly pour the egg yolk and milk mixture to the remaining milk in the pan, stirring continuously. Return the pan to medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil and cook 1 minute longer. Remove from heat. Pour though a sieve to remove any lumps. Stir in the butter and vanilla until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Gently fold in the coconut. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least an hour.

To make the cupcakes, first preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk dry ingredients (including coconut) in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Mix remaining wet ingredients in a bowl. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in three additions, alternating with wet ingredients and ending with dry, scraping the sides of bowl occasionally. Divide the batter among the muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks.

To make the frosting, beat the butter with an electric mixer for a few minutes. Add the milk and coconut extract and briefly blend. Add the powdered sugar gradually until the frosting is thick enough to spread easily. If the frosting is too dry, add additional milk until the desired consistency is reached.

To fill the cupcakes, carve out a cone-shaped hole (forget donut holes--I'm marketing cake holes!) and carefully spoon the coconut pastry cream inside. Apply frosting generously to the cupcakes, sprinkle the tops with toasted coconut, and, after giving the components a few minutes to get to know each other, devour.


Foodycat said...

Yum! I love coconut. I've always wanted to try coconut cream pie - for me it is very, very American!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Divine! What a fabulous treat.



Barbara said...

I really had to give some thought as to what my favorite pie was. :) Coconut cream is right up there and I agree about the crust, while it is the best part of most pies, in banana cream or coconut cream, that's not what I look for. How lovely to make it in cupcake form!

Beth said...

What a lovely cupcake! I must admit that apple pie is one of my favorites, but this cupcake would definitely turn my head!

Blond Duck said...

The best of both worlds!

Kate said...

I am a fan of coconut and I must admit that if I was choosing...I would have to say that coconut cream would be rated number 1. These look heavenly.

Kathy - Panini Happy said...

Can you believe I've never had coconut cream pie?? I sooo need to change that!

Sue/the view from great island said...

Love these---coconut cream pie is a favorite of mine and you never see it anymore!

Elizabeth King said...

Love coconut! These look absolutely delicious!

Guru Uru said...

Coconut cream pie in cupcake form seems gorgeous :D
Lovely idea my friend!

Choc Chip Uru

Cara said...

I'd seriously love to bite into one of those! You know else would be pretty awesome? Mini chocolate chips mixed into that sweet creamy filling! Unless chocolate in coconut cream pie is a no-no? I dunno, never had it!

Jackie@Syrup and Biscuits said...

Oh, Grace. You seriously take my breath away.

Carolyn Jung said...

Pie in a cupcake! Love it! It's like getting a bonus.

Faith said...

That shot of the cupcake's interior seriously made me gasp a little! Need to make these beauties!!

Erica said...

I wish I were your next door neighbor.My mouth is watering ....I love coconut!

shaz said...

Oooh, these sound absolutely divine, Grace. I definitely won't forget the coconut.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Grace your're hurting me as I can't take a bite of these right now which I want to. Don't tell me you've moved on from cinnamon though. You haven't right? :o

I Wilkerson said...

Your filled cupcakes are (always) so gorgeous. I think this one has put me over the edge and I'm going to need to pick a recipe to try! Wish me luck!

jillian said...

Anything with coconut sounds good to me! These sound great!

Monet said...

I adore coconut so this little cake looks like heaven. Thank you so much for sharing. I'm hungry for dessert now.

Joanne said...

I concur. Coconut cream without the meringue is AMAZING. Luscious and rich...and dare I say even better in cupcake form? Gorgeous!

Robin Sue said...

I too have fallen in love with coconut everything lately. It is the best flavor in the world!!

Lori said...

So awesome. I love this recipe!

Hungry Dog said...

My husband is a coconut nut and his birthday is coming up...might be the perfect opportunity to give these a try!

Lynda said...

I'll take coconut cream pie with or without the meringue....it's yummmy anyway I can get it. your cupcakes look amazing with all that filling Grace......finger lickin good,as they say!

Rosita Vargas said...

Rico ,suave y elegante me encantó una exquisitez,eres hermosa Grace mis felicitaciones,hugs,hugs.

The Teacher Cooks said...

Now I am going to have to make these. My favorite dessert is Coconut Cream Pie!

Nutmeg Nanny said...

Yes please! I will take two...ok...maybe three :)

Pam said...

I am not a fan of apple baked goods but give me coconut and I am a happy lady. YUM!

Lucy @ Lucyeats said...

Oh my goodness that looks good. My boyfriend saw my screen from about 10m away and made me promise that I would try this out!

Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic said...

I have a thing for coconut too (and coincidentally just posted about coconut cheesecake). I want to gobble up one of these right now!

lisa is cooking said...

Coconut cream is a great place to turn to after apple. It's one of my favorite kinds of pie. Love the idea of sprinkling graham cracker crumbs on top.

Fairhope Supply Co. said...

My Grandmother always had the most amazing coconut cake, and then one day, I found out she bought them from a neighbor! - It was still very tasty.

Gina Gao said...

This looks great!


sophiesfoodiefiles said...

MMMM,..I love everything with coconut in it.

This cupcake looks,divine, tasty & well flavoured too!

Deborah said...

I do like apple pie, but I think I'm with you and I'd choose coconut first! Love these cupcakes and pretty sure I'd enjoy them completely!