For me, coconut cream pie conjures up memories of watching Gilligan's Island. Which in turn leads to the question - who did you root for, Mary Ann or Ginger? I was always a Mary Ann girl myself. It's not that I didn't appreciate Ginger's penchant for the dramatic - the classic updo (how did she manage to have enough hairspray for upteen episodes worth of lacquered locks), the mid-of-the-afternoon evening gown (she had these on board for a "three hour tour", a "three hour tour"?) , the high heels (ok, I can understand having these on board). So what was so appealing about Mary Ann? She was probably a lot easier to bunk with - not a closet hogger what with only that one checkered shirt and those shorts. What she lacked for in the dramatic she made up for with the wholesome. But mostly I think it's because she made all those coconut cream pies!
This recipe is not exactly a "cream" pie. It's actually topped with a meringue. Which I find makes for a lighter pie (please read: less guilty to eat). But it can stand against any one of its cream kin. And win.
Now this has got me thinking - Betty or Veronica.....
This is a single crust pie (which means that you make a recipe for a double crust and save one half for another pie!) You have to blind bake it, as the coconut custard does not have to bake inside the shell.
The coconut custard tastes like a delicious coconut pudding! If you have a hankering for this pie, but not enough time to make it, make the custard and call it a day!
The best part of the meringue is that it can stand up on a hot day. Sorry, whipping cream....
Coconut Custard Meringue Pie
adapted (barely) from Food and Wine
(You can link to the recipe for the blueberry slab pie for directions on how to make a pie crust. Since I make so many pies (yes, many of them are still in edit mode in the list of upcoming blog posts), I'm preparing a post on how to make a flaky pie crust. Coming soon.....)
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
4 large eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut (about 6 ounces)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of cream of tartar
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Roll out one round of the Flaky Pie dough. Line a 9-inch glass pie plate with it. Trim the overhang to 1 inch, fold it under itself and crimp decoratively. Refrigerate until chilled, about 15 minutes.
- Line the dough with foil and fill with dried beans. Bake for 30 minutes, or until nearly cooked through and dry to the touch. Carefully remove the foil and weights. Bake for 10 minutes longer, until golden. Let cool completely.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the milk with 1/2 cup of the sugar, the flour and salt; whisk until smooth. Cook over moderate heat, whisking, until the mixture is the consistency of sour cream.
- Put the egg yolks in a bowl and gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture. Whisk the egg mixture in the bowl back into the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly until thickened.
- Set a strainer over a medium heatproof bowl and strain the custard into the bowl. Stir in 1 1/4 cups of the coconut and the vanilla. Press plastic wrap directly onto the custard and refrigerate until chilled.
- Once chilled, spoon the custard into the baked pie crust and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar at medium speed until frothy. Increase the speed to high and beat until firm peaks form. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until glossy. Spoon the meringue onto the custard, spreading it to the edge of the crust and swirl decoratively, using the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of coconut on top. Bake until the meringue is golden and the coconut toasted, 7 minutes. Let cool, cut into wedges and serve.