In my continuing quest to become a better baker, this week I tried a family recipe that originates with my Grandmother (although my Mother is really the person I remember baking it the most)…Coconut Cream Pie. This is one of the richest, most decadent desserts you can imagine. My only warning…don’t make it early in the morning. You may be too tempted to eat a huge piece then need a nap afterwards. Just remember that I warned you!
The recipe starts off with Grandma’s Cream Pie Mix which is the base for many of her pies, including Banana Cream Pie and Lemon Meringue Pie. I will share the Cream Pie Mix recipe in a future post, but for today I want to focus on Coconut Cream. The ingredients are simple: sugar, corn starch, salt, milk, egg yolks, butter, vanilla and shredded coconut.
First things first…separate the eggs. There are many ways to do this, but today I just cracked the eggs and poured them over my hand and let the egg whites fall between my fingers into the bowl on the left. Then I threw the yolks in the bowl on the right. Look how dark and beautiful these farm fresh eggs are! They are so pretty, you may not even notice the chipped bowl in the picture! Oh well. I need new dishes. Sigh…someday! Beat the egg yolks and set the whites aside for the meringue.
Put all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan (clearly I need a medium saucepan as well) EXCEPT the coconut and vanilla. Funny story…it is at this point that I realize that although I am rocking out this pie filling, I have nothing to put it in. So, I turned the heat off quickly and put together my Mom’s Liquid Pie Crust recipe lickety split. Geesh…I really need practice in this baking stuff!)
(Okay, pie crust is ready. Back to the filling…) Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens…like this. I could so eat this right now, but I won’t because I know how amazing the final product tastes, so I will be patient.
Time to add the vanilla and coconut. My Mom’s recipe doesn’t say how much coconut to put in the mix, so I immediately called her. She said, “I don’t know. I don’t measure it.” Just what a novice baker wants to hear. “Maybe about a cup?” Okay, a cup. That’s a concrete measurement. My bag is approximately 2 5/8 cups of coconut (the bag told me so!). So, a cup would be a little less than half the bag, right? So, I start pouring…
At half the bag, it looked pretty good, but I was shooting for AMAZING, so I poured a little more. Then, a little more. Then, even more. I pretty much used the whole bag except for about 1/8 cup I reserved for the top of the pie. So, in total, 2 1/2 cups of coconut.
Pretty sure I reached awesomeness! Look how delicious this looks! Spoon the filling into the PRECOOKED pie shell.
I mean c’mon…I pretty much rock at this point. Look how gorgeous this looks, and for my very first Coconut Cream Pie, I think I did pretty darn good! But wait…there’s more…Meringue!
When separating the eggs, I didn’t read far enough ahead in the recipe. My Mom said to reserve TWO of the three egg whites for the meringue. I put all three together. No big deal, I just adjusted the amount of sugar and cream of tartar for three instead of two. However, the recipe below is for two egg whites, so take note of that.
As I looked at this bowl and the scant amount of egg whites, I thought to myself, “Self…there is no way this will make enough meringue for my pie of awesomness!” So, I called Mom again. She assured me this was plenty (I didn’t tell her my egg white mishap. The less mistakes she knows about, the better I look.) I was still skeptical, but I got my mixer out and began beating this stuff.
To my amazement, the eggs plumped up pretty much immediately. Here is what they look like after about, oh, I don’t know, TEN SECONDS!
Amazing. In no time I had peaks forming. Here is where I found making meringue tricky. I know if you beat them too much, you lose the stiffness altogether. So this is where I stopped. I think I probably should have gone a little longer.
Okay, once you have peaks, add your sugar and cream of tartar and beat until glossy. I had no idea what this meant, but when I did it I could definitely see it becoming glossy. Can you see the difference between the above picture and the one below? Glossy. Pretty cool!
At this point, your filling should be cooled enough to add the meringue. Spread it around, then take your spoon and make little peaks. You can do it however you want, but I highly suggest making the peaks. It makes the toasty end version so much prettier!
See? Pretty! I added the remaining 1/8 cup of coconut to the top of the meringue before baking it. I love how it turned out.
As much as I would love to say that I rock as a Coconut Cream Pie baker, I unfortunately fell a little short…literally. Look how flat my meringue is! (head hanging in shame.) I don’t know if I should have beat the egg whites longer or if I did something else wrong. Before I attempt Lemon Meringue, I am going to spend some time just practicing meringue, so if you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them. Add them to the comments below. I read EVERY comment and usually respond quickly.
Geesh…making coconut cream pie sure does make a person hungry. I wonder if anyone will notice if I have a bite or two. Mmmmm…seriously. Who could resist this stuff?
I really shouldn’t eat anymore. It’s only 10:00 am, for goodness sake. Only a person with zero self control would eat a giant piece of Coconut Cream Pie at 10:00 in the morning!
Look at this bite…don’t you wish you had some? Well, now you have the recipe and can make some yourself. It really is pretty simple, because let’s be honest – if it weren’t, I wouldn’t be able to make it!
No self control. Boy, that was a pretty big piece. I think I need a nap now. Enjoy!
- 3/4 cups Sugar
- For the Pie...
- 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups milk
- 3 egg yolks beaten -(save 2 of the egg whites for the meringue)
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 bag of sweetened coconut - divided
- For the Meringue...
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
- Mix all ingredients exact for the vanilla.
- Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens.
- Add vanilla and 2 1/2 cups of coconut and mix well.
- Pour into a baked pie shell and let cool.
- When cool spread meringue (recipe below) on top of pie and place in oven at 350 degree's for 10 to 15 minutes or until meringue is nicely browned.
- Remove from oven let cool and keep in refrigerator until serving time.