Coconut Cream Pie
Coconut-cream pie, a spin-off of custard-cream pie, is a traditional Southern favorite that has moved far beyond the lower regions of the country to more widespread appreciation. This recipe is Martha's version of the classic dessert.
- 1 large whole egg, lightly beaten, plus 4 large eggs, separated, plus 3 egg whites
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- Pate Brisee (Pie Dough)
- 1 1/4 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups milk
- 2/3 cup cream of coconut
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
In a small bowl, whisk together whole egg with 2 teaspoons water to make an egg glaze; set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pie dough to a 1/8-inch thickness. Transfer the crust to a 9-inch-round pie tin, and press it into the bottom edges and up the sides. Using scissors or a sharp knife, trim the dough so it overhangs the tin by about 1 inch. Turn overhanging dough under, forming a rim, and crimp the edges of the pastry. Lightly prick the bottom of the dough with a fork; brush the rim with the beaten egg. Transfer crust to freezer for 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees.with rack positioned in the lower third. Remove crust from freezer, and carefully line it with parchment paper, gently pressing the parchment into the edges of the crust; weigh down parchment with dried beans or pie weights.
Bake until the edges of the pastry begin to turn golden, about 15 minutes. Carefully remove the pie weights and the parchment paper. Continue to bake until crust is golden brown in color, 15 to 20 minutes more. Transfer the crust to a wire rack to cool completely.
Place 1/4 cup of the unsweetened coconut flakes on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
To prepare the filling: Combine cornstarch, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk in milk and cream of coconut. Set over medium heat, and cook, stirring constantly, until bubbling and thick, about 5 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk 4 egg yolks. Slowly whisk hot milk mixture into egg yolks. Return mixture to saucepan, and continue cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture returns to a boil, about 1 minute more. Remove from heat.
Stir in vanilla and butter. Fold in remaining 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes. Transfer custard to a medium bowl, place over an ice bath, and cover the surface of the custard with a piece of plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Set aside.
To prepare the meringue: Combine 7 egg whites and remaining 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar in the heat-proof bowl of an electric mixer. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the whites are hot to the touch, 5 to 7 minutes.
Transfer the bowl to the electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat, starting on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes and gradually increasing to high speed, until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes.
Heat the broiler with the rack positioned in lower third of oven. Transfer the custard to the cooled crust. Using a large spatula, pile the meringue onto the center of the custard. Lightly spread the meringue over the custard so it touches the edges of the piecrust, sealing well to avoid shrinkage.
Transfer assembled pie to broiler; broil until meringue turns golden brown, just a few seconds, watching constantly.
Transfer pie to a wire rack to cool, at least 2 hours. Sprinkle with reserved 1/4 cup toasted coconut. Slice, and serve. Refrigerate any leftover pie.