Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Happy Tuesday

It's spring! Well, according to Costco (Mr S is sooooooo lucky I couldn't fit that entire play set into the car with the stroller ).

Our plum tree seems to be in agreement. And the mangosteen? tree that I thought had been bettered by the freezing weather, it's budding!! Thank goodness. We had just sorta figured out what the heck it was.

Bean has on her Winnie the Pooh outfit today. It's appropriate, given how many diaper changes we've done so far. Pooh. Humph. 

And we're loving our Eric Carle books. Butterfly! Serious reading involved.

The weather has been rainy, but I threw caution to the wind and tried to make almond flavored meringue nests. Needless to say, it was a fool's errand. Oh well. At least they'll taste good....

Monday, March 3, 2014

Coconut Cream Pie - with Stabilized Whipped Cream!

If you don't like coconut, too bad. 

This pie is amazing, and there's no way that the rest of y'all should miss out. 

The first time I fell in love with coconut cream pie was when I was nannying in DC. The family had this outrageous recipe. It was simple. It was quick. It was DELICIOUS. It could be whipped up in an afternoon during nap time - unless you were brave and could handle sharing spatula licking duty. 

I had that recipe at one time. I swear I did. I remember asking specifically for it. AND NOW I'VE LOST IT. 

*Cue the symphony of tiny violins*

But I've found one that is nearly as good. I think. 

Quite frankly, I'm still in mourning. But The Bean's cuteness is helping cheer me up.

Don't you feel better? I know I do. 

And then I have a slice of pie....  

Mmmm. Pie. 

Start off with egg yolks, cream, coconut milk, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a pot. Whisk really well to get everything nice and smooth. 

Put it on the heat and whisk CONSTANTLY until it thickens and boils.

Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla, coconut extract (optional), and tiny pulverized coconut (optional). If you want a super smooth pie - omit the pulverized coconut. If you don't want to spend $5.35 on a tiny bottle of coconut extract, omit the extract. Your pie will still taste delicious, if a little less coconutty. 

Pour in a baked pie shell. Refrigerate. 

I love this pie with real whipped cream mounded on top. The only problem is that real whipped cream - when it's just cream and sugar - is pretty unstable. It tends to loosen up after a few hours and makes a yucky mess on your pie. I usually wait until I see my guests' eyeballs before whipping up the cream. 

But, my friends, I have found a solution! It involves gelatin. The unflavored powdered kind. Trust me, I was skeptical. This a girl who has spent her entire life avoiding jello. Cause it's gross. Things that wobble like that just aren't meant for eating. 

But if you add unflavored powdered gelatin - just 3/4 of a tsp for 1.5 cups of whipped cream - you get beautiful whipped cream that TASTES LIKE WHIPPED CREAM and can stand up overnight. Really. Promise.

This may or may not have revolutionized my dessert making. 

Top your pie with your stabilized whipped cream and sprinkle on some toasted coconut. 

See if you can keep from eating it all before dinner. Oooof. 

Coconut Cream Pie
Adapted from Mel's Kitchen and Today's Mama

1 baked 9" pie crust (I use a Pillsbury one. No judgement here!)

For filling:
1 can coconut milk
~1 c heavy cream (you need 3 c. of liquid - coconut milk + cream)
1/3 c cornstarch
3 egg yolks
3/4 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp coconut extract (optional)
1/2 c unsweetened finely shredded coconut - I find this at my local Ranch 99 Asian market (optional)

For stabilized whipped cream:
1 1/2 c + 2 tbsp heavy cream
3/4 tsp unflavored powdered gelatin
1/3 c sugar
toasted coconut (about a 1/4 c. or more, if you like to snack on it....)

Bake off the pie shell, according to the instructions on the box - or the recipe. Whichever floats your boat. 

For filling:
Open the can of coconut milk and pour into large measuring cup. Add cream until you reach 3 cups. Separate your eggs - I crack the eggs into a bowl and then use my fingers to gently take out the yolks - and reserve whites for a later use. (Omelets anyone?) 

In a large pot, off the heat, whisk together the coconut milk, cream, cornstarch, egg yolks, sugar, and salt. Put pot on medium low heat and whisk constantly until mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from heat, add vanilla, coconut extract (optional), and shredded coconut (optional). Pour into cooled baked pie shell. Refrigerate. 

For stabilized whipped cream:
In a small microwave-safe bowl, pour 3/4 tsp of unflavored powdered gelatin over 2 tbsp of heavy cream. Let sit 5 minutes to bloom. Put bowl in microwave for 20 seconds. Stir with fork until gelatin is melted into the cream. 

Whip 1 1/2 c of cream and sugar in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Drizzle in the cream/gelatin mixture and beat until you have stiff-ish peaks. Spoon onto top of pie and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Refrigerate!


PS - So we ate this pie both the day I made it and the day after. It was better the next day! Not joking. We had friends over for pie (Who does that?? But we should all totally do that.), and they thought it was ridiculous. On day two. It cut perfectly and the whipped cream had gelled just a bit. 

This is my favorite pie ever. 

Why yes, I would like another slice.