I love coconut cream pie, but I don't order it at restaurants, because I am always disappointed with both the crust and the texture of the filling.
I've tried several recipes for old fashioned coconut cream pie, but many of them ask for ingredients that I don't keep on hand, or over-complicate the instructions. Here's my basic version of the pie that I love to make - and eat, leaving out any unnecessary ingredients, while keeping the velvety texture.
It does use a lot of eggs, but I have chickens, so I always have extra eggs.
I use meringue for the topping on this pie instead of whipped cream. The pie filling uses the egg yolks, so this way the whites are not wasted and it tastes just as good.
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Step 1: Tools and Ingredients
- Mixing bowl
- 2 Pie plates
- 1 teaspoon measure
- 1/4 teaspoon measure
- 1 Tablespoon measure
- 1 Cup measure (having both a dry and liquid measure is ideal)
- 2/3 Cup measure or 1/3.
- ¼ Cup measure.
- Rolling pin (If you don't have one, a cylindrical vase or drinking glass might work).
- Fork and spoon.
- Microwave safe dish or additional saucepan that will hold 6 cups of liquid.
- Plastic wrap or waxed paper for easy clean up. (optional)
This crust recipe makes four crusts. I find that making pie is messy and time consuming, so if I'm going to put that much effort in, I like to get more than one pie out of it. The filling recipe makes enough for two pies. I'm planning to make lemon filling for my other two crusts, but you could cut the crust recipe in half if you only wanted two pies.
1 Tablespoon vinegar (white or apple cider will both work).
5 Cups white flour (and extra flour for rolling out dough).
1 Teaspoon salt
1 lb (454g) Lard
6 Cups of whole milk (You can use lower fat milk if you want. It will still be good, just not quite as creamy)
2/3 Cup white flour
1 1/3 Cup white sugar
7 egg yolks. Save the whites for the meringue. (you could get away with 6 eggs if that’s all you have).
250g package of sweetened shredded coconut. Or about 2 cups. (I got 200g package by mistake this time, so there was less coconut than I like, but it's still pretty good).
7 egg whites
1/2 Cup of sugar.
Step 2: Make the Dough
Preheat oven to 425F
In a 1 cup measure, put 1 beaten egg and 1 Tbsp vinegar. Fill the rest of the cup with cold water. Place it in the fridge to stay cold.
In a mixing bowl, add 5 Cups of flour and 1 tsp of salt. Stir together. Add 1lb of lard. Cut this into the flour and salt mixture. I like to use one hand for this and smush it together with my fingers, because it’s faster than using a tool and I get to eat lard-flour off my fingers after. Keep one hand clean so that you can turn on the tap to wash your hands without getting the tap covered in lard. When you’re done, the mixture should look like photo 1.
If you squeeze some of it between your fingers, it should hold together and keep its shape.
Get the egg/vinegar water out of the fridge and mix it with a fork. Pour just enough into the lard mixture so that it all sticks together, (I mixed it with my hand again), and you can form large balls with it. You may not need to use all of the water. Divide the dough into balls. I made 4, but if you are only making a half batch of crust, then you would make 2. (photo 2)
Step 3: Roll the Dough
Make a space for rolling out dough. I like to cover my space with some overlapping strips of plastic wrap or waxed paper so that I don’t get flour all over the counter. I can just fold it up and throw it out when I’m done.
Spread some flour over your work surface and place one of the balls in the center, on top of the flour. Flatten it gently with your hand. (photo 1)
Spread a small amount of flour on top of it, so that it doesn’t stick to the rolling pin and then roll it out. Roll in all different directions, so that the crust doesn’t get bigger in only one direction. If you notice that the roller starts to stick to the dough, spread more flour over the dough. Stop rolling when the crust is a bit bigger than your pie plate. You have to account for the deepness of the plate and also that you will be making an edge around the top of the crust. (photo 2 shows a pie plate on top of rolled dough for a size comparison).
Fold the crust in half and then lift the crust into the pie plate so that the folded edge is lined up with the middle of the plate. Unfold it so that it covers the entire plate. This way of transporting the crust is less likely to tear it. If it does tear, you can try rubbing a little water on it to paste the pieces back together.
See how nice and clean the countertop is after I folded up the plastic wrap? (photo 3)
Step 4: Flute the Edge of the Crust and Bake
Fold the crust under around the edge of the
pie plate. (Photo 1) You don’t have to do this, but it makes a nice thick crust at the edge.
Position your fingers as shown in the photo 2 and then press into the dough between them with your thumb, leaving a thumb indent on one side and a pointed section on the outside that was pressed into your fingers. If the dough sticks to your fingers, you can dip them in flour to stop it. Do this finger thumb pressing all the way around the pie to make a nice edge. Alternatively, use a fork to press down all around the edge.
Cut any bits of dough that hang down on the outside of the pie plate. (photo 3)
Use a fork to poke holes in the dough on the bottom of the crust and on the sides as well. (photo 4) This is so that your crust doesn’t have lumps in it from air getting trapped under the dough while it's cooking.
Bake the crusts in the oven for 9-10 minutes. Until they look cooked, but not brown. They’re going to be baked again later, so we don’t want them too dark right now.
Take them out and change the oven temperature to 350F.
Step 5: Make the Filling
Separate the 8 egg yolks from the whites. I do this part with my hand as well. I just crack the egg into my hand and hold it over the container that I want the whites to go into, then let the whites slip through my fingers while I hold the yolk, then I drop the yolk into a separate container. You can also use the eggshell to separate them by cracking the shell in half and using one half to hold the yolk while you pour off the white. I find that sometimes the jagged eggshell can puncture the yolk with this method, though. There are also tools for separating eggs that look like a little measuring cup with a slot all the way around the bottom, but I don’t have one. Make sure to save the egg whites for meringue.
Measure 6 cups of milk into a microwave safe dish, or a saucepan. (You’re going to need a different saucepan for the filling).
Heat the milk until it is scalding hot. I like to do this in the microwave so that I don’t have to worry about burning it. It takes about 6 minutes in the microwave.
While the milk is heating, add 2/3 Cup Flour, 1 1/3 Cups of sugar, the package of coconut, and ¼ tsp salt to a saucepan. Cooking on medium heat, (or higher if you like taking risks and want it to thicken faster), add the heated milk, 1 cup at a time. Keep stirring it so it doesn’t burn. After it gets thick, add another cup of milk. Keep doing this until all the milk is in the pot. As you get more milk into the pot, it won’t thicken as much as before. Video 1 shows the consistency you’re looking for after all the milk has been added.
Now take a cup of the filling from the pot and stir it into the 8 egg yolks. Dump the egg mixture into the pot. (video 2)
Keep stirring until it is boiling and thick like video 3. I let mine boil for 2 minutes.
Remove it from the heat and add 2 Tbsp vanilla.
Step 6: Make the Merigue
Whip the egg whites on high speed with an egg beater or mixer. When the whites are all white and fluffy, but not yet forming hard peaks, as shown in photo 1, add the 1/2 Cup of sugar. Keep beating until hard peaks form (photo 2).
If you add the sugar too late, the meringue will still be ok, it will just have a less creamy texture. You can also have issues if you don't put in enough sugar. I only put 1/4 cup into this meringue and the meringue wasn't very creamy, (I was experimenting, because I usually just pour sugar into the whites without measuring, but I needed to measure for the instructable). Then I read online that more sugar helps to stabilize the meringue. I put 1/2 cup of sugar into the meringue for my lemon pies and it turned out way better, so you should use 1/2 cup.
Pour the filling into the crusts.
Spread the meringue over the top of the filling, making sure that it is against the crust at the edges. The easiest way to spread it around is to use a spoon to push it down while using a spreading motion like a butter knife, (see video). Again, perfection is not necessary.
Bake at 350 until the meringue is browned.
Step 7: Chill and Serve
Let the pies cool completely before cutting. You can put them in the fridge to get them really cold.
If you can’t wait to try the filling, you can scrape some out of the saucepan.
Enjoy your delicious pie!
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