This is the quintessential coconut cream
pie—it has lots of coconut flavor and a very creamy texture. This is
best served on the day it is made so the crust is still crisp, but you
can make the pastry cream a day ahead, whisk in the whipped cream a
couple of hours before serving, and then put it together at the last
minute. Swirl the whipped cream decoratively on top, if you like.
Yield: Serves 8 to 10
Crust 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons granulated sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small
pieces 3 to 4 tablespoons cold water
Filling 2 1/4 cups fresh or well-stirred canned unsweetened coconut
milk 2/3 cup granulated sugar 4 large egg yolks 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons cornstarch Pinch of salt 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened dried
coconut, toasted 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 cup heavy (whipping) cream 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1. To make the crust: Whisk together the flour, sugar, and
salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two
knives used scissors-fashion until the butter is the size of small
peas. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over the mixture, stirring
with a fork to moisten it evenly. Continue adding water until the dough
just begins to come together when a small bit is pressed between your
fingers; do not overwork the dough. Press the dough together into a
ball and knead lightly. Shape the dough into a disk, wrap in wax paper,
and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or for up to 2 days.
2. Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the
oven to 425°F.
3. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a 12- to
13-inch round. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch glass pie plate and
gently press the pastry against the bottom and up the sides of the
plate. Turn the overhang under and crimp the edges. Prick the bottom
and sides of the shell with a fork.
4. Line the pie shell with a piece of heavy-duty aluminum
foil, pressing it snugly into the bottom and against the sides, and
fill with uncooked rice or beans. Bake the crust for 12 minutes. Remove
the foil and rice and bake for 8 to 10 minutes longer, or until the
crust is golden brown. Let cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
5. To make the filling: Bring the coconut milk just to a boil
in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the
heat and cover to keep warm.
6. Beat the sugar and egg yolks with an electric mixer on
medium-high speed in a large deep bowl until very thick and pale and
the volume has increased at least three times. Reduce the speed to
medium and beat in the flour, cornstarch, and salt, scraping down the
sides of the bowl as necessary. While beating, gradually pour in the
warm coconut milk. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over
medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until it comes to a boil and
thickens, then boil for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove the pan
from the heat, add the butter, and whisk until melted. Add 3/4 cup of
the coconut and 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla.
7. Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and let cool to room
temperature, whisking occasionally. Cover the surface with plastic wrap
to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate for about 2 hours, until
thoroughly chilled and set, or for up to 1 day.
8. Beat the heavy cream with the confectioners' sugar with an
electric mixer on medium-high speed in a large deep bowl until it holds
stiff peaks when the beaters are lifted. Beat in the remaining vanilla.
With a rubber spatula, fold about one-quarter of the whipped cream into
the pastry cream.
9. Transfer the pastry cream to the crust and smooth the top
with a small offset spatula. Spread the remaining whipped cream over
the top with the clean offset spatula. Refrigerate for at least 30
minutes, or for up to 4 hours, before serving.
10. Sprinkle the top of the pie with the remaining toasted
coconut. Serve cut into wedges.