Baking isn’t my strong suit. I don’t have the patience for it, I don’t have the discipline for it, and perhaps most of all, I don’t have the cooking work ethic for it. Most baking requires like 3 stages, and “tempering” and “being careful” and none of those things suits me very well.
That said, I LOVE DESSERTS. The best thing is that two of my favorite people are a pastry chef and a really good home baker, which means that I get to request awesome desserts I want to eat, but I seldom have to make them myself. Which really, is the best thing for everyone. I get the best desserts in the world, and can continue being lazy. For proof of my claim of best desserts in the world, go to the Berkshire in Denver, Colorado, and order the Chocolate Pretzel Tart. You’re welcome.
Anyway, I made a Coconut Cream pie, because Linda asked me to. Apparently she had forgotten about the time I made white chocolate raspberry scones and they came out exactly like damp moon rocks. Luckily for everyone, this pie was amazing. Granted, I circumvented failure by not using a regular pie crust, I used a graham cracker crust instead, which was both better, and a lot less prone to ruining the pie. BOOYAH, baking.
Though I will say that this pie took a long time. Normally, it is the kind of thing that I would say, “That looks delicious but is too much work, I will see if I can get someone else to make it”. It is super delicious though, the crust was a good choice because it stayed crunchy and didn’t get soggy at all. I made Dom have a bite (he HATES coconut) and even though he made the kind of face people make when they’re about to have blood drawn, he said “That’s pretty good. I mean it mostly tastes like sugar, but still.” Fool.
Coconut Cream Pie
1.5 sleeves of graham crackers, regular
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup corn starch
1/3 cup white sugar (I know it seems like not enough, but the coconut is sweetened, so trust me.)
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups milk, I used 1%
4 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
1 tbsp butter
Whipped Cream topping:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp white sugar
1/2 cup shredded coconut, toasted
For the crust: Pulse the graham crackers in your food processor until ground into pretty fine powder. Pour them into a bowl, pour the melted butter on it and knead it with your fingers until it feels like wet sand. Then, press it into a pie plate, moving it gently up the sides of the plate. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until the thing is golden brown. Note- if it’s underbaked, it’ll fall apart easier, so let it get pretty brown. It’ll be a nice foil to the sweet filling, even if it’s a little on the burnt side of browned.
For the filling: In a big bowl, make an ice bath of a bunch of ice cubes and some water and set aside, also set aside a heatproof clean bowl to pour the pudding into.
Whisk together the corn starch, sugar and salt in a medium sauce pan off the heat. Whisk in the milk (still off the heat) a little at a time until all the powder is dissolved. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, then add them to the mixture, whisking them in. Finally, whisk in the vanilla and shredded coconut. Now put the pan on medium heat and whisk pretty much constantly until you see a few big bubbles break the surface. This is time consuming, it probably takes 15-20 minutes of standing in front of the stove whisking away. Bring a magazine. When the bubbles are breaking, cook, still whisking, another 1-2 minutes, then pour into the other bowl, and put the bowl into the ice bath. Whisk the pudding awhile when the bowl is in the ice bath, you’re trying to cool it down, it will thicken as it cools. When it’s sort of room temperature, you can be done with the ice bath (it will take maybe 10-15 minutes). Then, put some plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding in the bowl (otherwise a weird skin will form) and put it in the fridge.
For the whipped cream: Put the sugar and cream in a bowl or in your standing mixer, and whip it until it’s whipped cream.
For the toasted coconut: Put the coconut in a pan on the stove on medium heat, and stir it around until it’s mostly golden brown.
When the filling and crust are cooled, pour the filling into the crust, top with the whipped cream and coconut and serve.