Coconut Custard Pie
Well, I thought this was going to be a disaster because the crust edges got some colour on them, but you couldn’t taste it at all. What you COULD taste was creamy custard and tons of toasted coconut. You don’t need a big slice of this at all, maybe some ice cream or whipped cream and away you go straight into a sweet sugar high!
1 batch Basic Pie Dough (see below… I think the reason my crust edges got too much colour is because I did what the recipe said, and moved my ‘normal’ rack up to the middle of the oven… thus making the pie closer to the top heat. I won’t do that again.)
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded or flaked dried coconut
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice, strained
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
Roll out the dough disk into a 12-inch round and transfer to a 9-inch pie dish. Trim the edge of the dough round, leaving 3/4 inch of overhang. Fold the overhang under itself and pinch it together to create a high edge on the pan’s rim. Flute the edge decoratively. Refrigerate or freeze the pie shell until firm, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 375°F.
Line the chilled piecrust with a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil or parchment paper. Fill with pie weights, dried beans or uncooked rice. Bake for 20 minutes, then lift an edge of the foil. If the dough looks wet, continue to bake, checking it every 5 minutes, until it is pale golden. The total baking time will be 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the crust to a wire rack and remove the weights and foil.
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
Spread the coconut evenly on a baking sheet and bake until lightly golden, about 12 minutes. Pour onto a plate to cool.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and salt until blended. Add the flour, milk, melted butter, lemon juice and lemon zest and stir well. Stir in the toasted coconut until combined. Pour the mixture into the partially baked crust. Bake the pie until the top is golden and the filling is firm in the center, 45 to 55 minutes. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cool completely. Serve at room temperature. Makes one 9-inch pie; serves 8.
Adapted from The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book, Edited by Chuck Williams (Oxmoor House, 2009).
The Pie Dough
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3 Tbs. very cold water
To make the dough by hand, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter or 2 knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the water and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together.
To make the dough in a stand mixer, fit the mixer with the flat beater, and stir together the flour, sugar and salt in the mixer bowl. Add the butter and toss with a fork to coat with the flour mixture. Mix on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas. Add the water and mix on low speed just until the dough pulls together.
Transfer the dough to a work surface, pat into a ball and flatten into a disk. (Although many dough recipes call for chilling the dough at this point, this dough should be rolled out immediately for the best results.) Lightly flour the work surface, then flatten the disk with 6 to 8 gentle taps of the rolling pin. Lift the dough and give it a quarter turn. Lightly dust the top of the dough or the rolling pin with flour as needed, then roll out into a round at least 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick. Makes enough dough for one 9-inch single-crust pie or one 10-inch galette.
To make a double-crust pie: Double the recipe, cut the dough in half and pat each half into a round, flat disk. Roll out one disk into a 12-inch round as directed and line the pan or dish. Press any scraps trimmed from the first round into the bottom of the second disk. Roll out the second dough disk into a round at least 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick and refrigerate until ready to use.
To make a lattice top: Double the recipe, cut the dough in half and pat one half into a round, flat disk. Roll out the disk into a 12-inch round as directed and line the pan or dish. Trim the edge of the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Press any scraps trimmed from the first round into the bottom of the remaining dough half. Pat the dough into a rectangle and roll out into a rectangular shape about 1/8 inch thick. Trim to cut out a 14-by-11-inch rectangle and refrigerate until ready to use.
Nut Dough Variation: Add 2 Tbs. ground toasted pecans, walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts to the flour mixture and proceed as directed.
Make-Ahead Tip: Pie dough may be made ahead and frozen for up to 2 months. To freeze, place the dough round on a 12-inch cardboard circle and wrap it well with plastic wrap. Alternatively, use the round to line a pie pan or dish, flute the edge and wrap well.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Pie & Tart, by Carolyn Beth Weil (Simon & Schuster, 2003).