I love coconut cream pie and thought it would be a wonderful year-round hand pie filling. Coconut flavor is rich, sweet, mellow—and difficult to capture. Even coconut oil and coconut milk can be faintly flavored. I found that toasting the coconut before making the filling and adding almond extract great enhanced the coconut flavor. Not unlike the way coffee enhances the flavor of chocolate. If that’s not enough coconut for you, try the coconut-rum glaze!
- Recipe Perfect Pie Crust. — Made with amaretto-flavored vodka.
- 14-oz bag shredded sweetened coconut
- 1 Egg and 4 egg yolks
- 2 Cups half and half
- 3/4 Cup confectioners sugar
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Glaze:
Confectioners sugar, Cream of coconut, and Coconut-flavored rum.
- Spread the coconut on a cookie sheet, place in the oven, and preheat to 375 degrees, stirring several times and removing when the coconut starts to brown—at about the 350-degree mark.
- Combine the coconut, eggs, half and half, confectioner’s sugar and salt in a nonstick saucepan and heat to 180 degrees, stirring continually with a rubber spatula. [180 degrees is that magic, pastry-cream-making number where everything comes together in a custard-like consistency.]
- Stir in the almond and vanilla extract s and allow mixture to come to room temperature.
- Meanwhile, roll out the dough in equal parts powered sugar and flour, and cut circles with a biscuit cutter. I tend to like a larger, 4” cutter, but whatever floats your boat!
- Place the cooled coconut cream in a gallon plastic bag or pastry bag and pipe the mixture generously in the middle of each rolled-out disc, fold over, seal with a fork and slice breathing holes in the top. Put them in the refrigerator, and let them firm up for 10–15 minutes.
- Bake for 12 minutes, rotate the sheets in the oven, and bake another 20–25 minutes or until golden—underbaking can make the coconut taste a bit raw.
- If you are using the glaze, simply stir together a cup of confectioner’s sugar, about a tablespoon of cream of coconut, and add coconut rum until the glaze is viscous and brush the cooling pies.
- Cool the pies to room temperature in a wire rack, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve!