Toasted Coconut Cream Pie with Lime Whipped Cream
By Joanne Chang, Pastry Chef/Owner of Flour Bakery in Boston, MA
Makes one 9-inch pie to serve eight
1 pate sucree shell (see below)
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
zest of ½ lime
1 can (14 ounces; 392 grams) unsweetened coconut milk
½ cup (120 grams) milk
2/3 cup (140 grams) sugar
1/3 cup (40 grams) cake flour
4 egg yolks
¼ teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (100 grams) lightly toasted coconut, divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons confectioners sugar
In a small saucepan, heat the cream with the lime zest until it just comes to a boil. Remove from heat, pour limey cream into a small airtight container, and refrigerate overnight.
In a medium saucepan combine coconut milk and milk and heat until it just comes to a boil. Combine sugar and flour in a small bowl and whisk to combine (combining sugar and flour together keeps the flour from clumping up when you whisk it into the eggs.) Whisk together egg and egg yolks in medium bowl and slowly whisk in sugar/flour. Using a small ladle, ladle in a little of the hot milk mixture into the egg/sugar mixture and whisk it in; continue adding the hot milk to the egg/sugar until it is all combined. (This is called tempering and it allows the egg mixture to slowly be brought up to the same temperature of the milk, rather than shocking it by adding the hot cream all at once.)
Pour mixture back into the saucepan and place on stove over medium heat. Whisk vigorously and continuously for 4-5 minutes until mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Make sure you get your whisk into the corners of the saucepan and make sure you are scraping the bottom at all times. First the mixture will be thin and frothy; as it gets hotter and the eggs start to cook it will get thicker and start to steam. Eventually it will start to boil – but because you will be whisking continuously (right?!) and because the mixture will be so thick it will be hard for you to know when it’s boiling. Stop whisking for a few seconds once the mixture becomes thick and watch the surface of the custard to see if it starts to blub up. It will go blub blub and that’s when you know it’s come to a boil. Once the custard has come to a boil, whisk even more vigorously for 30 seconds. Immediately take the custard off of the stove and pour it through a fine strainer into a pitcher. Whisk in vanilla, salt, and ¾ cup toasted coconut. Pour filling into parbaked pate sucree pie shell and let cool until filling is set, at least four hours.
Strain limey cream to remove lime zest. By hand or using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whip cream with cornstarch and confectioners sugar until it holds firm peaks. Pile the whipped cream filling directly on top of the coconut filling, spreading the whipped cream out to the edge of the pie. Decorate the pie with ¼ cup toasted coconut.
Pie may be served immediately or stored in an airtight container for up to two days before serving.
Makes enough for one 9-inch pie shell
8 tablespoons (1 stick; 112 grams) unsalted butter
¼ cup (50 grams) sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (144 grams) all purpose flour
1 egg yolk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment cream the butter, sugar and salt for 2-3 minutes until pale and light. Be sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add flour and paddle on low speed for about 30 seconds until flour mixes in with the butter/sugar mix. It will look like wet sand. Add the yolk to the dough with the mixer on low speed and mix until the dough comes together, about 30 seconds. Remove dough from bowl and wrap tightly in plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for about an hour. (Dough may be made ahead at this point and stored in freezer tightly wrapped for up to 2 weeks or in the fridge for up to 5 days. If frozen, defrost dough in fridge overnight before using.)
Remove from fridge and knead the dough slightly to make it malleable if it feels stiff. Using a rolling pin, press the dough to flatten it into disk about ½ inch thick. Generously flour your work surface and the dough disk and carefully roll out the disk into a circle about 10-11 inches in diameter. Make sure the table you are rolling on is well floured so that the dough does not stick to it; likewise make sure the disk itself is floured well enough to keep your rolling pin from sticking to it. Roll from the center of the disk outward and gently rotate the disk a quarter turn after each roll to ensure that the disk gets stretched out evenly into a nice circle. Don’t worry if the dough breaks a bit, especially towards the edges. You can easily patch these tears up once you’ve lined your shell.
Once the dough circle is about 10-11 inches in diameter, roll it around the pin and then unfurl it on top of the pie pan. Press the dough to the bottom and sides of the pie pan and use any scraps or odd pieces to patch up any tears or missing bits. Make sure that the entire pie shell is well covered with dough and press one last time all the way around to ensure that any holes have been patched up. Trim the edge of the shell to make it even with the pie plate.
Place pie shell in fridge for at least 30 minutes (and up to a day well wrapped or up to 2 weeks in the freezer well wrapped) to rest the dough. Bake pie shell as is in oven for 35 minutes until the shell is golden brown all around. Proceed as directed above.