My sister came to visit this past weekend so we could all celebrate her birthday.
Our best friends who have become good friends to her as well joined us for a terrific dinner Saturday evening in DC at a wonderful restaurant called District Commons. Check it out.
Our cocktails, appetizers, entrees, salads, and desserts were all great and it was a really fun evening.
After dinner we cruised our beautiful nation’s capital which is particularly amazing all lit up at night.
We passed by The White House, the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, numerous beautifully designed government buildings and more before heading for home.
Having lived here for the past 25 years with these treasures practically in our backyard, and knowing that by this summer they will be almost an entire country away, my appreciation of them and all they represent has grown even deeper.
We plan to go into DC more often over the next four months to savor all that is here before moving to the west coast this summer. It is one more thing to add to our growing list of things/people that will be hard to leave.
After our scenic tour we all came back to our house for coffee and yes, a second dessert. I had made a Coconut Cream Pie for the birthday girl knowing this is one of her favorite desserts.
I have always adhered to the belief that it is not a birthday unless there is a birthday cake, or in this case, pie! That’s just the way it has to be.
After scouring the internet for all forms of coconut cream pie, I landed on this version which comes from a fellow food blogger, and it is amazing. It is Lorie’s Coconut Cream Pie from her blog Mississippi Kitchen. I won’t be looking for another version after having made this one.
Here it is…
Lorie’s Coconut Cream Pie (from Mississippi Kitchen Blog)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2-3 tablespoons ice cold water
1 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
1 envelope (about 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 (13.5-ounce) can pure coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 large whole egg
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 (15-ounce) can cream of coconut
2 1/2 cups shredded, flaked coconut, divided
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening and 1/4 cup cold cubed butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the vinegar and 2 tablespoons water, until mixture forms a ball, adding more water if necessary. Pat into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Roll dough out to fit a 9 1/2-10 inch glass pie plate. Place crust in pie plate and trim and crimp edges. Place the dish on a baking sheet for easier handling. Prick the bottom and sides of the crust well with a fork. Line the inside of the crust with a piece of foil, allowing edges to extend several inches beyond the perimeter. Place 2 cups of dried beans in the crust to weight it down during baking and prevent shrinkage.
(Note : I used parchment paper to line the pan and filled it with uncooked rice instead of beans)
Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is no longer raw on bottom. Remove the foil and beans by carefully lifting the foil out by the overhang. Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely.
Place 1/2 cup cold milk in a mixing bowl (preferably with a pouring spout) and sprinkle with the gelatin. Set aside to soften for about 5 minutes.
Bring the remaining milk and coconut milk to nearly a boil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat.
When the gelatin is soft, add the sugar, cornstarch, egg and egg yolks and whisk until very well blended. Gradually whisk about a 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture into the gelatin mixture; repeat this process once or twice using about 3/4 cup of the hot milk mixture. Pour the warmed gelatin mixture into the saucepan with the hot milk and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook for about 2 minutes or until mixture is very thick.
Strain the pastry cream through a fine wire strainer into a large clean bowl; whisk in the butter, coconut extract, and cream of coconut until smooth. Stir in 2 cups shredded coconut.
Pour into the cooled the pie shell and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
To make the topping, beat the heavy cream in a large bowl on high speed until foamy. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat until soft to medium stiff peaks form. Spread over the pie. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup coconut. Keep refrigerated.
Happy Birthday to my wonderful sister!