Week 40 - Coconut Cream Pie

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My choice of cookbook for week 40 was "Retro Diner: Comfort Food from the American Roadside" by Linda Everett, published in 2002. This is the first volume of the two "Retro Diner" cookbooks I have, the second being "More Retro Diner", which I cooked from last week. Much like that book, "Retro Diner" contains a ton of photos and illustrations but lacks any information about actual diners past or present. When I think diner, I think pie. We live only a 10 minute walk from the Red Arrow Diner, which is open 24 hours. There have been a few times when we've walked down late at night just for a slice of one of their great cream pies. I have never made a cream pie before and really wanted to try to make one so chose the recipe for coconut cream pie.

 "Retro Diner: Comfort Food from the American Roadside", by Linda Everett

"Retro Diner: Comfort Food from the American Roadside", by Linda Everett

 A spread from the book

A spread from the book

This particular recipe called for a pre-baked pie shell but did not include the recipe for the pastry itself.  So, I made the recipe found in the "Retro Pies" cookbook that I used when baking my cherry pie in week 7.  Besides the pie shell, the recipe called for sugar, eggs, milk, vanilla, salt and of course coconut.

 Coconut cream pie ingredients

Coconut cream pie ingredients

After I cooked the pie shell and was waiting for that to cool, I made the custard filling.  This is easy to do, but does require you to pay attention and stir constantly until it thickens.  As soon as the filling was done, I immediately added the hot mixture to the pie shell.

 Cooking the custard filling

Cooking the custard filling

 Pie shell filled and ready to be topped

Pie shell filled and ready to be topped

Many cream pies are topped with generous amounts of whipped cream, but this recipe called for a meringue topping instead. The filling is very rich and sweet, so I thought the choice of a meringue top instead of cream was a good choice. It also allowed me to use the egg whites left over from making the custard.  Once the meringue was whipped and added to the top of the pie, I sprinkled the entire top with a generous amount of coconut and popped it in the oven to finish.

 The meringue topping sprinkled with coconut

The meringue topping sprinkled with coconut

The baked pie came out of the oven with a golden brown meringue and nicely toasted coconut.   The only physical issue was that things were a bit watery between the filling and the meringue.  Most likely this was due to the filling cooling down a bit too much before I added the topping.

 The final pie, just out of the oven.

The final pie, just out of the oven.

Regardless of the slight issues the pie still tasted great.  It was very rich and sweet so not something I would make very often for just the two of us.  I wasn't able to find unsweetened coconut, but think this may have helped cut down some of the sweetness just a bit. I did like the meringue topping, but would love to try this again with a whipped cream topping as well.

 A yummy slice of coconut cream pie

A yummy slice of coconut cream pie

Week 40 Roundup

Cookbook: "Retro Diner: Comfort Food from the American Roadside" by Linda Everett, published 2002

Recipe: Coconut Cream Pie

Difficulty: Moderately easy, but you do need to pre-bake the shell and cook the filling, so does require a bit of time.

Alterations: None

Results: Very good

Make Again: Not often, but yes. I'd like to try making this a bit less sweet and with a whipped cream topping.