Coconut Cream Pie


Slightly adapted from Cooking Light’s Coconut Cream Pie (March 2011)

My mom has been raving about Coconut Cream Pie for years. I’d never made it, mainly because it’s too much dairy for me.  She said it was a lot of work, making it from scratch and she wasn’t kidding. This recipe has lots of steps and a few refriderations…be forwarned. However, this dessert is delicious homemadey and creamy; according to my coconut pie loving mom, it was just divine. Although, she was surprised that it wasn’t baked. All in all, this is a celebration dessert.

Ingredients:
1/2 package Pillsbury pie crust

Custard:
2 cups whole milk
1 cup half-and-half
1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
1 t. vanilla
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
pinch of kosher salt
4 large egg yolks
2 T. butter

Meringue:
3 large egg whites, at room temp.
1/2 t. cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes, toasted for topping

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place pie crust onto pie pan and flute the edges of the crust. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes. Cool completely.
Start custard: Combine milk and half-and-half into a medium saucepan and turn onto medium heat. Add coconut and vanilla. Bring mixture to a simmer then remove from heat. Cover and let it stand for 15 minutes. Strain the mixture through a cheesecloth and into a large bowl to remove the coconut. Squeeze all the liquid out of the coconut. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt and egg yolks. Stir to combine.  Slowly add egg mixture to milk mixture, stirring constantly. Return the milk mixture to the saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring with a whisk constantly until thick and smooth. Remove from heat and place pan into an ice water bath, stirring for 6 minutes until slightly cooled down. Pour mixture into the pie crust, cover, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Start meringue: Place egg whites and cream of tartar into a large bowl. Beat with a mixer until it makes soft peaks. In a small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil. Cook without stirring until it becomes a syrup or a candy thermometer reads 250 degrees. Pour hot syrup into egg white mixture slowly, beating on high until the mixture is thick. Add the meringue to the top of the custard, spreading it to touch the crust. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Top with toasted coconut and serve cold.

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