The £2500 Coconut Cream Pie or Why You Should Feed Your Coworkers
I really love this copper bowl, this solid copper bowl. It was a tad expensive, so much so that when my husband asked how much it was, I declined to tell him. I got this bowl to help make my Coconut Cream Pie. Okay, it wasn't exactly necessary, I've been making them for years without one. But just look at it, will you? It works as a double boiler, and it's the only way to whip up fabulous egg whites. Well, cream of tarter works just as well, but again, just look at it. It was made in France. Can't you just tell? And, no, it didn't cost £2500, that would be silly. I'll explain that in just a second, but first I've got to tell you about Jane.
I really like Jane. She is one of those "tell it like it is" kind of people. You know just where you stand with Jane. And she's fun. You just know she'd be a blast to hang out with for a night on the town. Jane is my kind of people. She likes to cook, I know because she makes homemade soup and brings it to work for lunch. And she has chickens. She brought me some fresh eggs; you just gotta love a coworker like that. But wait, the story gets even better.
Right, real quick, back to the Coconut Cream Pie. It's a breeze to make and the best thing is you probably have everything on hand to make it right now. If not, stock up because this is so easy and so good. First of all, you need a bottom crust, baked and cooled. I always make my own, here's my recipe.
Best Pie Crust
1 cup or 190 grams vegetable shortening (Trex in the UK, Crisco in the USA)
2 cups flour or 220 grams (plain in the UK, all-purpose in the USA)
dash of salt
1/2 cup or 120 ml milk
1 tablespoon or 15 ml white vinegar
Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 C. Cut shortening into flour and salt using pastry cutter in large mixing bowl until mixture is in pea size pieces. You can mix as much as you want at this stage. Next, grab a coffee mug and fill it with about 3 ice-cubes. Add the milk to the ice, along with the vinegar. The vinegar should slightly thicken the milk. Next, dribble about half the liquid mixture over the flour mixture. Gently push the flour mixture together with a large spoon. Once you start adding the liquid, it is important to handle the crust as little as possible, because that is what will make your crust tough like cardboard. Dribble a little more liquid and keep pushing the flour mixture together until it will form a ball. You will probably have to use your hands at this point. Again, handle the crust as little as possible, using just enough liquid to get it to form a ball. Once it forms a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
Next, remove it from the freezer, cut the ball in two since this makes both a bottom and top crust, although you only need a bottom crust for this pie, re-wrap half and put it back in the freezer for your next pie. Pie crust freezes beautifully. Liberally sprinkle flour on the counter-top, and roll out your bottom crust. Start with your rolling pin in the middle of the crust, and push crust outward from the center. Do this in all directions until your crust is about a 1/4 inch thick. Carefully drape pie crust in pie plate, trim edges, and patch pieces together if it is short in some areas, pinch top edges together. Poke a few holes in the bottom to prevent crust from bubbling up. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until edges are golden brown. Remove and cool.
Is your crust made? Yes? Okay then, back to the £2500 Coconut Cream Pie. By the way, that's about $3700 to you Americans. Not an amount to sneeze at, for sure. I'd been dying to try out my new copper bowl, and Jane had been sweet enough to take an interest in the blog. So, seeing as how I had just made a Coconut Cream Pie the weekend before (it's GB's newest favorite) I thought I'd make one and take some in to work for Jane. Pat, who works with me side by side, is always included, mostly because she's only the sweetest person alive, but also because I adore her.
It was time for a coffee break so I gave Jane a call and as soon as she heard the words Coconut Cream Pie, she materialized by my side. I cut pieces for Jane, Pat, and myself, and because we all happen to be smart gals, we began to discuss the new Chancellor's budget (government budget to you US folk) including public sector salary cuts and freezes. Wow, don't we sound fascinating? One thing led to another, and soon I had my payslip out so Jane could explain a few things to the American girl- that's me, of course. She took one look at my slip and questioned why I pay so much tax. I had no idea, I never thought to question it. Next thing I know, I was on the phone to the tax office who informed me that I had been overpaying for as long as I had been working in the UK! The government is sending me £2500. Now, how often does that happen? So, the moral of the story is, feed your coworkers, it always works to your advantage!
£2500 Coconut Cream Pie
3 cups or 700 ml milk
3 egg yolks, save the whites for meringue
3/4 cup or 150 grams sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch or 30 grams (USA) or corn flour (UK)
1 teaspoon or 5 ml vanilla
1/2 cup desiccated coconut or 40 grams (dried in a bag from the baking section of the store)
baked and cooled pie crust
Save out a little milk and pour the rest into a double boiler (see pic above- does not have to be copper!), this is just a bowl inside a pan that's filled with boiling water. In another bowl, beat egg yolks, mix in rest of milk that you saved out, add salt, sugar, and cornstarch and mix by hand with whisk. Now, whisk this mixture into hot milk on stove top (or hob). When mixture begins to thicken, about 3-5 minutes later, add vanilla and coconut. Cook for another minute or two and pour into cooled crust. For an old-fashioned look, set in window or outside to cool.
Preheat oven to 350F or 180C. Next, whip up the egg whites to make meringue. Add a bit of cream of tarter to the egg whites, about a teaspoon. Once the whites begin to look foamy, start adding some sugar, a bit at a time. All in all, you'll use about 2 tablespoons of sugar. Beat until stiff and put on top of pie. Sprinkle a bit of coconut over meringue, and bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until lightly browned. This pie is amazing especially when it is cold, so chill and serve!
For simplicity, ease, and wow factor, I don't think there's another pie out there to compare. Give it a try and let us know what you think.