Sunday, April 29, 2012

Coconut Cream Pie - Easy from Scratch #Recipe

Cream pies have a special place in my heart. We didn't do cake when I was growing up. My Mom would make each of us our favorite pie. My dad always chose chocolate cream and I liked them all, chocolate, banana and coconut.

As a child it was magical. No one I knew got a cream pie on their birthday. Just me...

My Mom used the Jell-o pudding mixes and topped her pies with real whipped cream and sprinkles. I always loved the way the multi-colored candy sprinkles would run in the whipped cream. It left little multi-colored streaks on top of the pie that reminded me of rainbows.

Sorry, no sprinkles in this recipe. I have also gone back to basics to make this a DIY version. I have nothing against the pudding packets, I just wanted a real from scratch version to serve to my husband. He shares my love of cream pies.

This recipe is a little different because I used coconut milk in my custard, and went with unsweetened coconut both in the filling and to top it with. Sweetened coconut is just too much for me and using real dried stuff gave the pie a nice coconut flavor that was more mature and subtle.

Another change was the crust itself. My mother used her own pie shells pre-baked for the pie. I love her crusts! My last few attempts at pie crusts have been disastrous. They tasted amazing but looked like Dr. Frankenstein made them. With two screaming toddlers underfoot I was looking for a simple shortcut without having to buy pre-made crusts. I just don't do that... I found a lovely graham cracker crust that seemed perfect. Don't you agree?

Now don't be intimidated by the custard. It really is simple. Get this down and you will have a quick way to make the best from scratch puddings, pastry filling, etc. Everyone will be amazed that you made it yourself.

The great debate that came up while making this pie was coconut in the filling or not? What do you think? I am pretty sure my Mom just had it on top, but my husband wanted it in the filling also. It was good, not as creamy but still delicious.

Okay, so ready to see the recipe? I have a few more pie projects scheduled for the coming weeks. The cherry trees and strawberry fields are blooming and I have so many pies to tackle! I am not a crust expert, so I also want to try out a few different options. I can't wait to share the never-fail pat-a-pan crust that is great to use if do not have crust confidence.

From Scratch Coconut Cream Pie

You Will Need:
Graham Cracker Crust:
12 whole graham crackers
1 stick butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 tablespoon sugar

Coconut Cream Filling:
1 can light coconut milk
Heavy cream (enough to add to the coconut milk to make 3 cups)
3 egg yolks
3/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. cornstarch
¼ tsp. salt
1 c. shredded, unsweetened coconut, toasted*

1/2 c. flaked, unsweetened coconut, toasted*
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. coconut extract

For the pie:
1 Graham Cracker Crust, cooled
1 recipe of Coconut Cream Filling, slightly cooled
Fresh whipped cream to top the pie

Crust: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Process the graham crackers and sugar in a food processor. Add the melted butter and stir till all the crumbs are moistened.

Press the crumbs into a 9-inch pie plate and bake for 13-15 minutes until golden and fragrant. Let the crust cool completely before filling.

Filling: In a heavy bottomed saucepan combine half and half, coconut milk, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Mixture will thicken quickly, keep stirring to prevent scorching on the bottom. Remove from heat, and stir in coconut and vanilla extract. Add the cup of shredded, toasted coconut and stir. 

Pour the custard into a cooled pie shell and chill 2-4 hours or until it sets up. Top with whipped cream and shredded coconut.

*To toast coconut: bake at 325 degrees stirring and turning every 5 minutes for about 15 total. 

Share and enjoy!

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