Get ready to pull out all of your best emojis, peeps, because it’s the return of Pie Day Friday!!!!
Except it’s actually PI DAY Friday (in anticipation of tomorrow, March 14th), which is a similar concept, but also pretty different. More numbers. Infinity of them, to be exact. But also more pie!
Which, I think we can all agree, is a good, good thing.
The first time I can remember eating coconut cream pie was in Charleston, South Carolina which, if you’re in the business of eating coconut cream pie, it turns out is a good place to be. It was summertime, a year or so after college and mom, dad, Casey and I (where was middle sis Emily?? Did she opt out or did we forget her? It’s really hard to say) piled into a booth at Jim ‘N Nick’s. Before we paid the check but after we stuffed our faces with thick slices of barbecued brisket (and weren’t really sure we could handle any more), dessert arrived. A single slice of coconut cream pie, billowing with fluffy mounds of custard and cream, as cool and smooth as a southern summer’s day is hot and sticky…
We dug into it and just looked at each other, eyes wide, mouths working. Because THAT was some pie.
This one’s got the same sweet, toasted coconut flavor, the same piles of cooling custard and cream, plus an extra, blond layer of salty caramel, just to sweeten the deal. It’s still a balanced slice, though, because instead of using sweetened coconut, we call for unsweet. (What goes around comes around, as Justin Timberlake said that one time).
If ever a day called for pie, it’s tomorrow. Make this one! 3.14159265359 times. (Give or take a few).
Blond Bottom Coconut Cream Pie
If you can’t find coconut cream, you should also be able to make the filling with a can of regular (unsweetened) coconut milk. (I haven’t tested it that way, but I imagine it would work just fine).
- 1 recipe Martha Stewart’s Pâte Brisée crust (we’ll only use 1/2 of the dough – save /freeze the other half for another pie!)
for caramel layer:
- 1/2 cup caramel sauce (I got this fancy kind as a Christmas gift and used it here, though you could also make your own)
for cream filling:
- 1 can (14 oz) coconut cream (I used this product from Trader Joe’s)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons corn starch
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsweetened, flaked coconut, toasted (plus extra for topping)
- 1 cup coconut cream (or heavy whipping cream)
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (or more to taste)
Roll out the dough into a large circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of an 8- or 9-inch pie pan, crimping the edges to your liking. Place the pie pan in the refrigerator to chill for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. When the dough has chilled, prick the dough at the base of the pie a few times with a fork (this is called “docking” the pie shell), place a piece of foil over the dough and weigh it down with pie weights (or dried beans), and bake the pie shell until the sides look golden brown. Remove the foil and pie weights, and continue to bake the shell completely, until the bottom looks golden and feels dry to the touch. Allow the blind-baked pie shell to cool completely while you make the filling.
To make the custard filling, stir together the coconut cream, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and cornstarch until pale yellow and smooth.
When the coconut cream mixture starts to bubble, slowly add about a half cup of the hot cream mixture to the yolks, whisking continuously to temper. Add the egg mixture back into the saucepan of hot cream, still whisking, and bring the mixture to a slow boil as you whisk. Let the mixture boil for 3 minutes, whisking all the way, then remove the custard from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla. Pour the custard into a medium bowl, fold in the coconut flakes, and press a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard (this will prevent a skin from forming). Let the coconut custard cool for about an hour in the fridge, or 30 minutes in the freezer.
To assemble the pie, spread the caramel sauce in a smooth layer on the bottom of the cooled pie crust. Pour the cooled coconut cream filling into the shell, on top of the caramel, and smooth it out with a spatula.
Whip up the coconut cream (or heavy cream) with the sugar until medium peaks form. Top the pie with dollops of whipped cream and a healthy sprinkling of toasted coconut.
Let the pie rest in the refrigerator (uncovered) until ready to serve.
Makes one 9-inch pie.