Week 40 - Coconut Cream Pie
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.