As coconut cream pies go, this one doesn't fool around.
The recipe for theTriple Coconut Cream Pie in "The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook" (William Morrow, $35) calls for two cups of shredded sweetened coconut, and that's just in the pastry cream. The crust also features coconut, and toasted coconut garnishes the top.
That's the "triple," but there's more: the pie's pastry cream is further enriched with coconut milk.
"It would be fair to call this a quadruple coconut cream pie, but 'triple coconut cream' rolls off the tongue more easily," writes co-author Tom Douglas.
COCONUT PASTRY DOUGH
Makes 1 9-inch piecrust
Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance. Very cold butter makes a flakier crust. If your butter is not very cold, set the diced butter in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes before making your dough. From “The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook” by Tom Douglas and Shelley Lance.
1 c. plus 2 tbsp. flour, plus extra for rolling dough
1/2 c. shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 c. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/3 c. ice-cold water, or more as needed
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine flour, coconut, diced butter, sugar and salt and pulse to form coarse crumbs. Gradually add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing each time. Use only as much water as needed for the dough to hold together when pressed gently between your fingers (don’t work dough with your hands, just test to see if it is holding). The dough will not form a ball or even clump together in the processor, it will be quite loose.
Place a large sheet of plastic wrap on the counter and dump the coconut dough onto it. Pull plastic wrap around dough, forcing it into a rough flattened round with the pressure of the plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 to 60 minutes before rolling.
When ready to roll dough, unwrap round of coconut dough and place it on a lightly floured board. Flour rolling pin and your hands. Roll out dough in a circle about 1/8-inch thick. Occasionally lift dough with a bench knife or scraper to check that it is not sticking, and add more flour if it seems like it’s about to stick. Trim to a 12- to 13-inch round. Transfer rolled dough to a 9-inch pie pan. Ease dough loosely and gently into pan. You don’t want to stretch dough at his point, because it will shrink when it is baked.
Trim any excess dough to 1- to 11/2-inch overhang. Turn dough under along rim of pie pan and use your fingers and thumb to flute the edge. Refrigerate unbaked pie shell for at least 1 hour before baking (this prevents the dough from shrinking in the oven).
When ready to bake piecrust, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a piece of parchment in pie shell, with sides overhanging the pan, and fill with dried beans (this prevents the bottom of the shell from puffing up during baking). Bake piecrust for 20 to 25 minutes, or until pastry rim is golden. Remove pie pan from oven. Remove paper and beans and return piecrust to oven. Bake for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, or until bottom of crust has golden brown patches. Remove from oven and allow pie shell to cool completely.
DAHLIA TRIPLE-COCONUT CREAM PIE
Serves 6 to 8.
Note: Large unsweetened chip coconut is available in the bulk foods sections of many natural foods co-ops. From “The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook.”
For coconut pastry cream:
1 c. milk
1 c. canned unsweetened coconut milk, stirred
2 c. shredded sweetened coconut
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
1/2 c. plus 2 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. flour 4 tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 oz. unsweetened chip or large-shred coconut (about 1 1/2 c.), or shredded sweetened coconut (about 2/3 c.)
Chunk of white chocolate (4 to 6 oz., to make 2 oz. of curls)
For whipped cream topping:
2 1/2 c. heavy cream, chilled
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
To prepare coconut pastry cream: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine milk, coconut milk and shredded coconut. Using a paring knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean and add both scrapings and pod to milk mixture. Stir occasionally until mixture almost comes to a boil. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and flour until well combined. Temper eggs by pouring a small amount (about 1/3 cup) of scalded milk into egg mixture while whisking. Then add warmed egg mixture to saucepan of milk and coconut. Whisk over medium-high heat until pastry cream thickens and begins to bubble. Keep whisking until mixture is very thick, 4 to 5 minutes more. Remove saucepan from heat. Add butter and whisk until it melts. Remove and discard vanilla pod.
Transfer pastry cream to a bowl and place it over another bowl of ice water. Stir occasionally until pastry cream is cool. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on surface of pastry cream (to prevent a skin from forming) and refrigerate until completely cold. The pastry cream will thicken as it cools. When pastry cream is cold, fill pastry shell (see Recipe), smoothing the surface with a rubber spatula.
To prepare garnish: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread unsweetened coconut chips (or large-shred coconut, or sweetened shredded coconut) on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 7 to 8 minutes, watching carefully (coconut burns easily) and stirring once or twice until lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
To prepare whipped cream topping: In an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip heavy cream with sugar and vanilla extract to peaks that are firm enough to hold their shape. Transfer whipped cream to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe it all over the surface of the pie. Sprinkle toasted coconut over top of pie. Use a vegetable peeler to scrape about 2 ounces of white chocolate curls on top of the pie (or you can cut pie into wedges, place wedges on plates and garnish each wedge individually with toasted coconut and white chocolate curls) and serve.
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