A recipe is just a good place to start. For the first 20 yrs of our marriage, I've been afraid to make a coconut cream pie ... it's Jeff's favorite, and I didn't want to wreck it. I've enjoyed legendary pies from some gray haired bakers who took pity on us, but I never had the guts to do it myself. Last Mothers Day/Jeff's birthday season I wrote about Pie and Mothering and Mildred's Coconut Cream Pie. Beautiful! I don't know why I was so intimidated ... I've since learned I shouldn't have been paralyzed in this pie category. Jeff always thinks the best of me ... he has himself convinced I've made a CC pie before, but I think he dreamed it. ;) Funny husband.
So this year for his 40-something birthday, I decided it was time to conquer my fear. I needed a recipe ... a good place to start. Emeril Lagasse posted one I found interesting back in 2005, so I started there. This is what I ultimately came up with, and it was a huge hit. My kids chatted about it on Facebook, which was heard by relatives in Virginia, and so I made my 2nd CC pie this past weekend for my mom and dad. Maybe it's a legend in the making ... Jeff's dream coming true. :)
Coconut Cream Pie (inspired by Emeril)
- Prepare a single homemade crust (This is from Jeff's dream, so I did it :) You have to do what your family dreams of ... maybe it's Pillsbury. (Bake it with either pie weights or parchment paper filled with a layer of dry beans, so the crust doesn't bubble up. Email me if this is confusing. I use the beans; you can still cook them later.)
- Combine 2 3/4 c. milk and 3/4 c. sugar in a medium sized saucepan. Bring it to boil and scald the milk.
- In a glass measuring cup, whisk 1/4 c. milk, 4 egg yolks (save the whites), and 1/4 c. cornstarch together. "Temper" this mixture by pouring a little of the hot liquid in while you whisk, then a little more hot, then a little more hot, 'til you warm up the temperature without cooking the yolks. Then pour the whole yolk mixture into the saucepan of milk/sugar, whisking all the time (Great exercise!). Bring a ll this to a boil and then turn it down to medium for about 3 minutes, whisking, whisking, 'til it becomes thickened. You have made a homemade custard! Look at you!
- Take it off the heat and add 1 T butter, 1 t. vanilla extract, 1-2 t. coconut extract, and 1 c. flaked coconut. Mix well.
- Pour into the prepared crust you baked. Let it cool 15 minutes, then cover the pie with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hrs.
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Add 2 T. sugar to the egg whites (at room temp). With a mixer, whip the whites until it forms stiff peaks.
- Spread this meringue (you made meringue!) over the pie top and sprinkle a little coconut over it. Bake the pie about 10 minutes, until it is lightly brown and springs back when touched. Cool it and then chill in the fridge 'til ready to eat.
- Serve your family and be loved by all and mentioned on Facebook by your aging husband, grateful children, and hopeful relatives.
This was a wonderful way to say, "I love you" in language my husband understands. After all, the way to a man's heart is .... Thus, I conquered my fear of Coconut Cream Pie! Thanks for being my inspiration, Emeril! And thanks to Tasty Tuesday and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday for hosting food carnivals today.
(BTW ... after all this, on Mothers Day the dog was caught in the act of trying to eat my 2nd legendary Coconut Cream Pie!!!!! BAD DOG!!! .... He only got about 1/2 piece before we rescued it (the pie, not the dog). :) I didn't face my fears to have the dog steal my glory. :)
Need a new cookbook? Check out my friend Jess' blog here to help her celebrate her 2 yr blog anniversary and maybe win a gift card to Borders Bookstore!