Coconut Cream Pie
Coconut cream pie was my mother’s favorite pie, and I’ve learned to make a really good one! The key ingredient is vanilla paste in both the filling and the cream topping. If you don’t have vanilla paste, be sure to use pure vanilla extract (not that imitation stuff).
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 stick butter, cut into 1/4” pieces and cold
1/2 cup cold water
3 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
3/4 tsp. salt
3 cups whole milk
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. vanilla bean paste (or pure vanilla extract)
1 cup sweetened and flaked coconut
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla paste
1/2 cup sweetened coconut, toasted in oven
To make crust, place flour, sugar, salt, and cold butter pieces into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 25 times, until mixture resembles course cornmeal. Slowly add the cold water while pulsing the food processor, until a soft dough forms. This should take about 12 pulses. Do not over-mix. If it’s too dry, add a bit more water. Form dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove from refrigerator, and unwrap dough. Place on a floured board, and using a rolling pin, roll dough into a circle, about 1/4” thick and about 14” in diameter. Carefully lift the dough and place into a 9” pie pan. Crimp the edges. Place a piece of aluminum foil in bottom of dough and put pie weights or dried beans on foil to weigh it down. This prevents the dough from puffing up. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the weights and foil, and cook another 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely.
Make filling: Place egg yolks in a 4 cup measuring bowl and set aside. In a 1 1/2 quart saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Place pan over medium-high heat and add the milk, stirring constantly until mixture comes to a boil. Boil and stir for one minute. Take off heat and using a ladle, pour a small amount of hot liquid into the egg yolk, whisking very quickly so the yolks don’t cook. Keep adding small amounts of hot liquid into the yolks until more than half has been added, stirring the entire time. Add the stirred mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining hot liquid and stir. Bring to a boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Turn off heat and pour through a sieve into a large bowl, pressing mixture with a wooden spoon into the sieve. This will remove any egg particles that may have curdled. Stir in the vanilla, butter and coconut. Pour into pie crust and cover with plastic wrap, letting it cling to the surface of the filling. Refrigerate at least two hours until set.
Make whipped topping: In a medium bowl, add cold heavy whipping cream. Beat with a hand mixer (or standing mixer), and very slowly add the powdered sugar. Mix until soft peaks form and add vanilla paste. Continue to mix until stiff peaks form. Spoon cream on the pie and spread all over. Top with toasted coconut, and keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.