Once again I have been neglecting my writing, but, as always, I have very good excuses. Spring has just been busy this year and so have I.
On April 9, for the first time I entered our community's annual pie contest. For the last twenty years, the local Historical Society has sponsored a fundraising Pie Social and Contest. People bake and donate pies for sale by the slice at the social and they can also have their pies judged in one of the following categories: apple, fruit, cream/chocolate or nut. Over 200 pies were donated and 38 were judged in the four categories.
The day is a small town delight. You pay $1 for a slice of pie (cheap enough for you to try several,) listen to music while sitting outside under the trees and wait to see what happens. This year they also had an apron-decorating contest for kids and adults which yielded some great creations. But, of course, the stars of the show are the pies.
I have always wanted to enter a pie but never took the time to make it happen. This year I put my foot down, determined to enter. And I did. And I won second place in the chocolate/cream division for my Coconut, Coconut, Coconut Pie. If you love coconut, this is your pie; the crust, filling and topping all contain coconut.
Here it is:
Here is the ribbon:
And here is the recipe:
Annette's Second Place (but First in Our Hearts) Coconut, Coconut, Coconut Pie
For the crust:
2-1/2 cups shredded coconut, lightly toasted
(use 2 cups for crust and reserve 1/2 cup for topping)
1 stick butter
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
Combine above ingredients and press into a deep, 9" pie pan. Bake crust in 375º oven until lightly toasted, about 12-15 minutes.
For the filling:
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten (reserve whites for meringue)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2-1/2 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk (in the Asian section of the market; I find there are not quite 2-1/2 cups in the can, so use half & half or milk to bring the liquid to a full 2-1/2 cups)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
In a heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt; slowly whisk or stir in the coconut milk and begin to heat the mixture over medium heat. When warm to the touch, remove about 1 cup and whisk into the beaten eggs to temper them, then add the entire mixture back into the saucepan. Stir and cook until the custard is thick. Remove from heat and stir in butter, one tablespoon at a time; add vanilla and beat the custard a little until it is fluffy. Pour into prebaked coconut crust.
For the meringue:
6 egg whites
pinch of cream of tartar
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
I like a lot of meringue, so I added 2 more egg whites to the 4 already reserved, for a total of 6 egg whites, but you could certainly just use 4 (reduce sugar to 2 tablespoons.)
Beat the egg whites with a mixer at high speed until foamy. Add a pinch of cream of tartar and continue to beat while the eggs stiffen. Slowly, one at a time, add the tablespoons of sugar, beating well after each addition. When the egg whites are stiff, beat in the vanilla.
Spread the meringue on top of the custard and sprinkle with the 1/2 cup reserved toasted coconut. Bake at 375º until evenly browned (rotate during baking if your oven bakes unevenly) about 10 minutes.
Remove, place on cooling rack and fight with your husband to leave it alone until it cools to room temperature. Then dig in and sigh.