Pie crust took my crust making virginity (no not my dough making virginity, that was with my pain au chocolat cinnamon rolls, yum), and boy was it good. Damn good. Thanks to just an hour of research, (still keeping my time down, see, see!) Martha Stewart and a few fellow bloggers (like Joy the Baker, always a hoot!) I was able to keep my stress levels down and enjoyment factor way up. I actually gave Nigella a chance, but turns out that woman is new to pie making herself, and had more savory recipes than sweet, so I was left to my own experimentation. I did, however, take Nigella's love for the quick and painless food processor pulse method to heart, and boy is it ever the easy breeziest way to make crust. I don't aim to be a pastry chef, so I'll take my cheatin ways to the grave, and have the last laugh at those dough rolling know-it-alls.
Well, it all started because Granny was at it again. Darn that woman! Everytime I think I will get a break from eating, she is busy with her nose in a grilling cookbook, whipping up chicken and potato salad. I mean really, did we not just return from a bbq at Aunty's palace just 12 hours ago!? Guess her old age is leading to severe memory loss, because here we are, hip to hip in the kitchen, getting ready to grill up some scent ravaging chicken. I am not a lover of potato salad, so dearest Granny was generous enough to share 3 of her cooked potatoes, and I instinctively got right to whipping together a little butter, sour cream, cream cheese, chives and rosemary into you know what. Because like all damaged woman my age, I like potatoes like baby food. Soft and mashed with no funny business going on. If only I had Patrick Dempsey to feed me. Hmmmm.
But I still felt incomplete. Mostly because the mashed potatoes didn't taste as five star gourmet as I'd hoped, and partly because, well let's face it, chicken and potatoes are nothing without a light summery dessert to wash it all down. So with that I set about making an islands inspired dish my family would be proud of. Oh and of course, I still owed you guys a coconut based recipe for like two weeks now. So there was that as well. Forgive me.
Makes one 9-inch pie
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick plus 1 tablespoons (9 tablespoons) unsalted cutter, cold or frozen, cut into cubes
- 1 large egg yolk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 5 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 ounces semisweet chocolate
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon coconut flavoring
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup toasted coconut, optional
- Put the flour, powdered sugar and salt in a food processor fit the the blade attachment. Pulse a few times to combine. Scatter the pieces of cold butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in. There will be pieces of butter that are the size of oatmeal flakes and butter the size of peas. Beat the egg yolk with a fork and add a little of the egg yolk at a time to the flour mixture. Pulse for 10 seconds at a time. When the egg is in, process in longer pulses until the dough forms clumps and curds. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and, very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that may have escaped mixing.
- Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and the sides of the pan. Press the crust so that the pieces cling to one another, but not so hard that the crust loses its crumbly texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes before baking.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of foil and fit the foil, butter side down, tightly against the frozen crust. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil. If the crust is puffed, gently press it down with your fingers.
- Bake the uncovered crust for 8 to 10 more minutes on the baking sheet. Keep an eye on the crust. It will brown quickly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before filling.
To Make Filling:
- Prepare an ice bath; set aside. In a bowl, lightly whisk egg yolks; set aside. In a saucepan, whisk together coconut milk, granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Bring to a simmer (do not boil), and cook, whisking constantly, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Whisk a quarter of hot-milk mixture into egg yolks; whisk in remaining milk mixture. Strain into a clean saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until custard is thick and bubbles appear in center, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl, and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto surface to prevent a skin from forming. Set in ice bath until completely chilled, 30 to 35 minutes. (Filling can be kept in refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, up to 1 day.)
- Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler or a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (do not let bowl touch the water), or in the microwave. Stir until smooth, and set aside until cool to touch, stirring occasionally.
- Using a pastry brush, coat inside of cooled crust with melted chocolate. Place in refrigerator or freezer until firm to touch, about 10 minutes
- Fill crust with coconut custard, spreading evenly with an offset spatula. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, combine all whipped topping ingredients and beat until soft peaks form. Using a small offset spatula, spread whipped cream on top of custard. Refrigerate pie at least 3 hours before serving. Garnish with toasted coconut just before serving.
Unlike the coconut chocolate pudding I made (which I lazily used expired coconut milk that I thought wouldn't affect the end result, but really did) this time the fresh coconut milk set to expire in 2011 really did lend a profound coconuty taste that me and my family loved. Which is lovely seeing as how we just finished off the banana pudding and I didn't want something that tasted too similar (aka vanilla). The crust I ended up remaking was delightful, and nothing beats fresh homemade whip cream (as I said last week, its heaven on a spatula stick!) so in all, perfect way to end a great outdoor meal. Do try it!
WHAT I LEARNED:
Oh boy. Damn pie crusts and gosh darn custard desserts. My custard refused to set (as always) in one hour, even with the help of the freezer (seriously, what the hell...why do all recipes and pictures act like you can really get a full set custard in the same day it was made?? any tips?) and so I had to serve it with my head hung low, pudding style. Sigh. But it did taste delightful! As for the pie crust, I suck at it and refuse, REFUSE to ever make it again until I do my pastry school courses sometime next year....preferably in France. I knew my first time would fail, but not to the point of utter dissatisfaction. It was not flaky at all (I read tons of forums about the mysterious "flake" and still thought I would master this first-time round) and more so, it was dense and doughy. So since I knew my custard would not set and I didn't want to be a failure infront of Granny, I quickly remedied the situation by thinking quickly on my feet. Granny despises graham cracker crusts, and after a quick look around, I just used the leftover vanilla wafers from the banana pudding. This is how to remedy a failed crust in 10 minutes: Break up the failed crust into chunks, then gather about a generous 1 cup of wafers and 4 tablespoons softened butter. Place a little less than half of the chunks, wafers and butter in a food processor. Pulse at 10 second intervals 4 or 5 times until crumbly. Finger press into the 9 inch dish again, bake for about 5 minutes at 350 and chill for another 5 minutes. Voila! A crumb pie crust with actual flavor and body, very similar to what you would use for Cheesecakes. And by the way, let me just say that from the second I heard coconut custard, I knew it needed a crumb crust, not flaky one. You hear that Martha Stewart! I know more than you. Ha! Hmmm....ok well not really. But it felt good to do a quick fix infront of everyone like I was a Food Network star or something. If you are more experienced, stick to the original recipe above and make your own crust, happily and professionally. Just please, don't tell me about it...kay!
PS- Oh and is it just me, or do semi-failures like this totally make you spastic and leave you rethinking your entire life. I feel like pacing. Wait, maybe its just the bottle of wine I had. Oh the failure! I am totally going to make cupcakes and coconut bars tomorrow to cure the shame. Sigh.