Friday, July 14, 2006

Va Va Va Voom!

Velvety.
Tongue-caressing.
Silky.
Voluptuous.


I guess they call it food porn for a reason. . .

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Actually though, no adjectives can do justice to this week’s pie – a coconut cream confection that will have you, too, struggling for words. (But a simple moan of pleasure might get your point across.) In fact, the only way you could possibly be disappointed is if you come to the table expecting the coconut cream pie standard: a glop of thick, rubbery filling topped off with a ledge of Styrofoam meringue.

Or if you don’t like coconut.

And what’s up with that, anyway? Has there ever been a mainstream foodstuff more polarizing? I’ve heard the arguments – the gritty texture, the suntan lotion smell, the complex packaging – and I still don’t get it. I mean, there are plenty of foods in high demand that aren’t exactly user-friendly, i.e., artichokes, lobster, Gorgonzola cheese.

So why not coconut?

But I’m a mere advocate of pie, not an evangelist, so I won’t bother trying to persuade you. Here’s a warning, though: Don’t come to my house with your coconut prejudices unless you really mean it. Because you won’t be allowed to have a Thai curry or a pina colada, either.

The King (the one who shares the palace with the Queen of Tarts, not the one who lived -- lives? -- in Memphis) requested this pie for his birthday.

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He seemed rather pleased with the result, even though the crust had shrunken a bit after baking. Thankfully, as kings go, he’s pretty good-natured (unlike, say Henry VIII), and my head remains attached to my shoulders.


Nasty-Good* Coconut Cream Pie
Adapted from Bullocks-Wilshire Tearoom and the Los Angeles Times

If you’ve made it this far, you must be a coconut aficionado. Now, pay attention: this pie filling needs to simmer for two hours. Otherwise, you’ll wind up with something that resembles coconut soup and the Queen’s ears will be ringing with your curses. So be patient.

*as described by a 12-year-old Prince

For the filling:

3 c. half and half
½ c. sugar
6 egg yolks
1 T. butter, softened
1 ½ T. cornstarch
1 T. canned sweetened cream of coconut
¼ t. vanilla
¼ t. coconut extract
1/8 t. almond extract

Pastry for a 9-inch one-crust pie (Use your own recipe or make crust for Cherry Pie and freeze half for future use.)

For the topping:

2 c. whipping cream
½ c. sugar
1 t. vanilla

1/3 c. flake coconut

Combine half and half and sugar in top of double boiler. Cook over simmering water 2 hours, stirring often. In separate bowl, beat together egg yolks, butter, and cornstarch. Add cream of coconut, and vanilla, coconut, and almond extracts. Let half and half mixture come almost to boil Stir ¼ c. into egg yolk mixture. Slowly add egg yolk mixture into half and half mixture, stirring rapidly. Cook and stir 5 to 10 minutes longer, until thickened. Cool in refrigerator at least an hour.

Meanwhile, roll out pastry and fit into 8 inch pie plate. Prick bottom of crust. Line plate with foil and fill with pie weights. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Remove foil and weights and bake 5 minutes longer. Cool before adding filling.

For topping, whip cream, sugar, and vanilla together until soft peaks form.

To assemble: Turn filling into pie crust and cover with whipped cream topping.

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Sprinkle with coconut.

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Now you can eat.


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7 Comments:

At 9:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two comments:

1. I've gained 7 pounds since you've started this blog. And I haven't even tried any of the recipes yet.

2. I missed the King's birthday? There was no mention of it in the press, nor did I receive an invitation to the grande fete.

Mark (a little miffed)

 
At 4:19 PM, Anonymous Laura said...

WOW! the pie looks sooo good and creamy too.Did you use package coconut or fresh?

 
At 8:39 AM, Blogger CJQuinn said...

No one made me pie this friday. Or any friday.

 
At 12:03 PM, Blogger markb said...

Your Royal Pie-ness,

I seek your counsel and guidance. I've been invited to a party this coming Saturday (no I don't get invited to parties often) and am considering making a pie. What would you recommend as a good starter pie? I want to stay away from baking crusts, exotic ingredients, and non-standard baking utensils. Perhaps one of the already-profiled pies, or maybe you have another one in mind?

Your loyal subject,

Mark

 
At 12:32 PM, Blogger The Queen of Tarts said...

Mark, Get thee to the kitchen! According to a (probably unreliable) source, the act of cooking burns approximately 150 calories an hour. Since the coconut pie weighs in at 630 calories a slice, you'd have to spend a mere 4+ hours sifting and stewing and slicing to compensate for those calories. . .Now about that upcoming party: I suggest the blueberry tart or the French silk pie. Both seem to meet your stringent criteria and either should garner you many future invitations. The Queen commands that you have a lovely time! (And also that you send her photos.)

Laura, I confess that I used Bakers coconut in the can. I also drink milk that comes in a carton and have been known to buy lettuce in a bag. So far I haven't succumbed to frozen pancakes.

CJQuinn, This begs the question, dear: Have you made anyone a pie?

 
At 1:43 PM, Anonymous Laura said...

I know exactly what you mean. I hate recipes that ask for fresh coconut, as if I have time to crack one up and start scraping away. I too have not purchased frozen pancakes, even though my kids beg me like crazy. I told them it will happen when I get cataracs (hehehe). Thanks, I have a can of coconut in the cupboard!

 
At 7:35 AM, Blogger CJQuinn said...

Dearest Pie Diva:

I;ve never worn a miniskirt (well, not since I quit drinking anyway) either, but that does not mean that I don't want women to wear them.

Same thing goes for making pies.

 

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