Monday, January 11, 2016

coconut cream pie with macaroon crust.

This coconut cream pie has been taunting me for about 9 months now.  I had book marked it last May when I first came across it in Bon Appetit but the problem with discovering recipes like this during peak fruit season is that fruit filled desserts will always take precedence over out of season, shipped in a can from the other side of the world coconut milk and lime based pies.

But now, now we are in the throws of winter.  And when you are in the depths of winter it helps to eat things made with coconut and lime.  Coconut and lime transports you to a warmer place - dessert islands and sandy beaches.   Places you dream about in the middle of January.  

This is the coconut cream pie of my dreams.  Tangy, creamy, and crunchy.  It's like a jacked up Almond Joy but better - so much better.  The custard isn't cloyingly sweet like some cream pies can be.  Instead it's rich (coconut milk and regular milk) with the perfect hit of lime juice.   Paired with a brilliant (and easy) macaroon press-in crust (why has no else done this before?!) and chocolate covered almonds and you basically have one the best desserts I've ever made (and eaten). 

Also (and this comes as no surprise to me) the recipe comes from Tandem Bakery in Portland, Maine which just earned them 10 billion more stars in my book.   

Coconut Cream Pie with Macaroon Crust
Recipe adapted slightly from Bon Appetit

For the Crust

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 large egg white
1¾ cups unsweetened shredded coconut
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted, slightly cooled

Custard And Assembly

2 wide strips lime zest
1¾ cups whole milk
¾ cup unsweetened coconut milk
¼ cup raw skin-on almonds, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted, slightly cooled
3 large egg yolks
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
11/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon lime zest

Make the Crust: Preheat oven to 325°. Lightly coat a 9" pie pan with nonstick spray. Mix egg white, coconut, sugar, butter, and salt with a rubber spatula in a large bowl until evenly combined and the consistency of a stiff paste. Using your hands, press mixture evenly onto bottom and up sides of pie pan. Bake until edges are golden brown and bottom is set and just barely golden, 15–20 minutes.

Transfer pie pan to a wire rack (leave oven on to toast almonds and coconut) and let crust cool. Brush crust with melted chocolate.

Make the Custard: Bring lime zest, milk, and coconut milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Cover and let sit off heat 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast almonds on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until slightly darkened and fragrant, 8–10 minutes. Let cool. Toast coconut on same baking sheet, tossing once, until edges are golden, about 4 minutes.

Stir almonds into melted chocolate in a small bowl. Spread in an even layer on a sheet of parchment paper. Sprinkle toasted coconut over chocolate almonds and chill until firm, 8–10 minutes. Coarsely chop, then cover and chill.

Pluck out lime zest from milk mixture; discard. Return milk mixture to a simmer. Whisk egg yolks, cornstarch, salt, and ½ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl to combine. Whisking constantly, gradually add ½ cup milk mixture to egg mixture. Whisking constantly, add egg mixture to milk mixture in saucepan and cook over medium heat until mixture is thickened and bubbling (it will look like thick pudding). Remove from heat and whisk in butter and lime juice.

Scrape custard into crust and press a piece of plastic wrap against surface. Chill until set, about 2 hours.

Assemble: Just before serving, whip cream, lime zest, and remaining 1 Tbsp. sugar in a small bowl to medium-stiff peaks. Spoon over custard, leaving about a 1" border, and swirl decoratively. Scatter chocolate-almond mixture around perimeter.

Do Ahead: Pie (without whipped cream) can be made 3 days ahead; keep chilled.

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