It’s National Pie Day! Friday 3.14
Ok, so it’s National Pie Day, mathematically speaking anyway…but as foodies we celebrate with “real Pie”. Coconut Cream Pie…it’s the total comfort food of pie world and this is the pie that put Tom Douglas on the map! Last year I got the chance to meet him and have him sign his cookbook… he asked me what was going to be my first thing to bake out of his Dahlia Bakery book, of course I said the Coconut Cream Pie!
If you ever visit Seattle, you must make a stop at Dahlia Bakery. They bake amazing deliciousness! And no, you don’t need to buy a whole pie to try the coconut cream pie, they sell mini individual bites and keep the case stocked of these at all times! My other favorite they bake in the Fall is the pumpkin whoopie pie….helloooo Fall in a treat!
So what makes this coconut cream pie stand out from all the others? It’s the rich creamy custard and white chocolate with toasted coconut. All filled in a coconut pastry crust and topped with a mountain of whipping cream! And the crust, we must talk about this coconut pastry crust. Flaky and buttery with a hint of coconut, it’s strong enough to hold up to all this creamy filling without becoming soggy. It’s THE best pie crust! Yes, that’s it, the best coconut pie in this world. It is also the pie that saved Tom’s first restaurant from closing……
Yes, it’s true…a pie actually did that! In 1989 he opened the Dahlia Lounge, another awesome restaurant btw, and were on the verge of closing the doors. His staff went from 42 down to 20, then one day they made this pie and offered it on the menu. The pie was such a hit, people called the restaurant to ask if it was on the menu before stopping by! They worked there way up from 1 pie a day in 1989 to now more than 100 served every day at their many restaurants in Seattle. They have even served this pie four times to president Barack Obama! The rest of this story is in the Dahlia Bakery Cookbook, I think you need to buy this book to add to your cookbook collection :)
Now if I get the chance to meet Tom again, I will tell him I “rocked the Coco pie” as he signed in my cookbook, yes I think Tom would approve :)
Cheers and Happy Pie (3.14) Day!
- Coconut Pastry Cream:
- 1 C milk
- 1 C canned unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 C shredded sweetened coconut
- 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 C + 2 Tbsp sugar
- 3 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter at room temp
- Whipped Cream Topping:
- 2 1/2 C heavy cream, chilled
- 1/3 C sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- toasted coconut and white chocolate curls for garnish
- Combine milk, coconut milk, and shredded coconut in a heavy medium saucepan. Use a pairing knife to scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add the seeds and pod to the pot of milk.
- Place the saucepan over medium high heat and stir occasionally until almost to a boil.
- In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and flour until well combined..
- Temper the eggs by pouring a small amount of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture while whisking. Then add the tempered egg mixture to the saucepan of hot milk.
- Whisk over medium heat until thickened being careful not to over cook the eggs. If they start to resemble scrambled eggs, then throw out and start over.
- Remove from heat once thickened, about after 5 minutes, and add the butter and whisk until melted. Remove vanilla bean pod.
- Transfer the pastry cream to a large bowl set in another bowl over ice.Stir occasionally until cool. Place plastic wrap over the top to keep a layer from forming and place in the fridge to chill completely.
- When cream is completely cold, fill the coconut pastry pie shell with cream. Smoothing the top with a spatula.
- In a large mixing bowl or electric mixer with the paddle attachment, whisk heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
- Place in a piping bag with a large star tip and pipe chipping cream on top of pie.
- Sprinkle top of pie with white chocolate curls and toasted coconut. The more the tastier!
- Yields about 6-8 slices.
- 1 C + 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 1/2 C shredded sweetened coconut
- 1/2 C cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp cornstarch
- 1/3 C ice cold water
- In a food processor, combine all ingredients except water. Pulse to form small crumbs.
- Gradually add the cold water, pulsing after each addition. Use only as much water as needed for the dough to hold together, you may not need all the 1/3 cup.
- Place dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap forming into a ball, wrap and chill for one hour.
- To roll dough once chilled, unwrap and place on a pastry mat or floured surface.
- Roll dough into a circle about 1/8 inch thick. Place dough carefully into 9 inch pie plate and trim edges.
- Crimp edge if desired. Chill unbaked pie shell for at least one hour before baking, this will prevent the crust from shrinking when baked.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place pie weights on bottom of crust and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove weights and bake for another 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove pie from oven and let cool on a cooling rack before filling.