I didn't think it was possible, but Jeff and I may have overdosed on chocolate over the past few days. I know, that's just crazy talk, right? But see, last week Jeff asked me to bake a batch my giant triple chocolate cookies to share with five of his coworkers. I was happy to do it, but he kept forgetting to take them to work, and they dried out to the point where they just weren't good enough for other people but more than OK for us, so we ate them. At the same time, I took some of my rocky road and sugar cookies to school for a staff cookout. This was one of those deals where we had about 20% meat, 30% side dishes, and 50% desserts, and I took home a lot of leftover rocky road. So we ate it.
Today is our 2-year anniversary, and I wanted to make something fabulous to commemorate it. All I could think of was that (awesome) chocolate mousse cake I roll out for special occasions. I was just about to make it this morning when I realized, Hey, I kind of don't want chocolate. But what could I do instead?
Pie! Like what kind? Apple! But that's just kind of your go-to pie. Not special enough. How about some other fruit, like...berries? Eh. You made that like six weeks ago, and it was runny. Peaches? Jeff doesn't like peaches. They're not even in season. What's wrong with peaches? Peaches are PERFECTLY GOOD. What does he even LIKE?
And then it hit me: Jeff has mentioned liking coconut cream pie on at least four different occasions over the past two years. This always struck me as a really random pie choice, but there it is. CC = PIE WINNER.
Of course, I'd never made this pie before, and none of my favorite cookbooks wanted anything to do with it (it's like all they care about are macaroons), except for generic old Better Homes & Gardens. I consulted the internet and came up with the following recipe, which reviewers were saying was "better than Amish coconut cream pie," so I looked no further. I ran uptown, picked up a couple of ingredients, and got busy.
When Jeff came home from work and I announced that I had made him a coconut cream pie, his face lit up with excited, boyish glee. "Really?!"
My copious notes are in italics.
- 3 cups half-and-half <--One of the commenters substituted a can of coconut milk for half of the half-and-half (probably because it's fun to type "half" a lot), but since my town's store is a one-room country shack whose "foreign" ingredients take up five square feet of shelf space, that was not an option for me today.
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup flaked coconut, toasted <--Heat oven to 350, arrange coconut on an ungreased baking sheet, pop it in the oven, turn the oven off, and let it sit in there for around 7 minutes or until you smell it and go, "Oh yeah, I'm toasting coconut."
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract <--Coconut extract will make it taste coconuttier, obviously.
- 1 (9 inch) pie shell, baked <--I made Mom's recipe here (scroll down). You will have leftover dough that you can use to make tartlets, a mini pie crust (Mom liked to use those foil tins that frozen pot pies come in for this purpose), or just free-form cup shapes that you can fill with leftover coconut cream or whatever. You'll need to poke holes all over the bottom and sides with a fork and cover the crust with foil and even use weights like this before baking at 450 degrees for 8 minutes. Remove the foil. I rarely have a crust that stays flat, but I don't have weights (I just use foil). Anyway, if you're in the same situation, you might want to check on the crust after removing the foil and poke it with a fork if it's puffy. Continue baking for 5-7 minutes.
- 1 cup frozen whipped topping, thawed <--Let's call this what it is: Cool Whip. Not a fan. Use real whipped cream, what do you say?
In a medium saucepan, combine half-and-half, eggs,
sugar, flour and salt. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring
This will take for freaking ever, and you will hate your life as you stir and stir the whitish, kinda thick liquid that never quite becomes thick enough. Get impatient and turn up the heat a tiny tiny tiny bit and stir constantly and wait a whole lot more. And hey, why are we stirring when we could be whisking? Yes. Changing to a whisk is the answer, especially if you notice a sort of sticky white gum clinging to your spoon when you come up from the bottom. Return the sticky stuff to the pot and whisk the hell out of it, making sure you're getting all the way to the bottom and especially that corner groove. Eventually it will become very thick, in fact too thick to boil in a satisfying, typical way. Instead the surface will kind of vibrate as a couple of big, plopping bubbles struggle to rise to the surface. That's when I decided mine was done.
Remove from heat, and stir in 3/4 cup of the toasted coconut and the
vanilla/coconut extract. Pour into pie shell and chill 2 to 4 hours, or until
Top with whipped topping/cream, and with remaining 1/4 cup
This pie was undeniably incredible, and if I weren't married it would be mine, all mine. But I'm more than happy to share it with the man I love.