Black Bottom Coconut Cream Pie

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Yesterday (March 14th) was one of the best holidays of the year (IMO): Pi day!!!  I remember first celebrating this holiday in high school in my pre-algebra class.  In honor of this momentous holiday, we held a pie making contest.  At this point in my life, my love for food and baking was only just beginning and my culinary adventures were mostly limited to easy things like chocolate chip cookies, pizza, scrambled eggs, and brownies.  I remember searching through one of my mom’s Pillsbury cookbooks and settled on a chocolate cherry pie with a traditional pie crust and a filling that essentially combined instant chocolate pudding and cherry pie filling.  It was quite amateur at best, but somehow I won, mostly because people couldn’t quite figure out what was in it and were curious to find out more.  My baking and pie making skills have come quite a long way since then… I would shudder at the thought of using a canned filling now!

This year, Pi day happened to fall the day after a huge snow storm.  Nothing gets me more in the mood for baking than inclement weather!  Luckily I was able to leave work a little early because I had an ambitious pie in mind: coconut cream pie!  Since returning from Thailand, I’ve been on a coconut kick and had some coconut milk and cream on hand.  I also had some milk, cream, and cream cheese leftover from the last batch of ice cream I made so I didn’t need to brave the blizzard to buy ingredients.  I then decided to add a chocolate (black) bottom layer to it because chocolate makes everything better. All of this culminated together in this newest creation: Black Bottom Coconut Cream Pie.  What is beautiful about this pie is that it layers rich chocolate, with a sweet coconut pudding, and a light, salty, but only slightly sweet, whipped topping.  It is neither too coconutty (this was tested on a coconut hater) nor too sweet.  It really is the perfect harmonious blend of sweet and salty with chocolate and coconut.  Hope you all had a delicious Pi Day!

Small confession: This crust recipe is actually supposed to make 2 pie crusts but I messed up, in a good way, and just made one.  The crust is one of my favorite parts so in my mind, more crust is better! If you want a thinner crust (or less butter in a slice of pie), then just use half of the pie dough and reduce the baking time.

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Black Bottom Coconut Cream Pie

Ingredients:

Crust (From Epicurious):

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 tablespoons (about) ice water

Coconut Pudding (adapted from Epicurious):

2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
1.5 cups whole milk
1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 tsp salt

 

Chocolate layer:

4 oz chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 Tbs butter
vanilla

Coconut Whipped Topping:

1/2 cup whipping cream
the top creamy/firm part from a 14 oz can of coconut cream (it is best to chill the can for a few hours and then just scoop out the top creamy part and leave behind the coconut water and reserve for another use)
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Coconut Topping:

Dang toasted coconut chips or toasted shredded coconut (enough to cover pie)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Happy Birthday Coconut Frosting

 

Dear 37 avid Spoonful of Sugar followers, I apologize profusely for depriving you of my witty, humorous, and delicious baking porn as of late.  Unfortunately, work has caused me to be a little delinquent in baking, cooking and blogging recently (my refrigerator currently only contains beer, rum, wine, a few apples and various condiments) .  Due to fear of ACGME (the committee that oversees resident rules and work hours) retribution, I can’t elaborate further on the hours I’ve logged at the hospital, but they have left little time for extracurricular activity(or for recovering from a nasty cold). This weekend I’ve finally had a chance to rest and relax and am taking the opportunity to post on birthday cupcakes I made several weeks ago.

The month of October marked the first birthday of one of my good friend and co-worker’s adorable daughter.  I had actually volunteered to make cupcakes for her first birthday shortly after her birth.  Needless to say, a weekend on call wasn’t going to ruin this year long promise.  Her mom had requested chocolate cupcakes with coconut frosting.  I used my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe from Flour (featured in my St. Patty’s Day Cupcakes) and filled them with chocolate ganache.  I then created my own coconut frosting to top them off.  I had originally planned on topping with toasted shaved coconut to add more coconut flavor and texture.  However, in favor of aesthetics (pink frosting with fun decorations) I left this part out for the party.  In the future I’d probably recommend this addition for the full coconut effect!  Below is the coconut frosting recipe, use to top your favorite cupcakes!

Coconut Frosting

(Frosts 12 cupcakes)
2 sticks of butter, room temperature
3 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup cream of coconut
1 tsp coconut extract
6 oz. shaved coconut, toasted


In a stand mixer with a whip attachment, whip the butter until smooth.  Gradually add in the confectioner’s sugar on low speed until fully incorporated with no lumps.  With the mixer on medium speed, add in the cream of coconut and coconut extract.  Turn speed up to high for 1 minute until frosting is light and fluffy.

Pipe onto cooled cupcakes.  Top with toasted coconut as desired.

A Spoonful of Adventure: Sweet paradise and coconut rolls in Bimini

I’m back from vacation and back to baking!  My friend, Julia, and I just took a little vacation to Miami and Bimini.  While we enjoyed Miami and had some great food there (at Versaille, the Bazaar, Yardbird, and Puetro Sagua), we really fell in love with Bimini.  Bimini is a small island chain of the Bahamas, about 50 miles from Miami, with a population of about 1600.  Bimini was at one point home to Ernest Hemmingway and currently contains the world famous shark lab.  We stayed at a little bed and breakfast owned, by Doug, a US citizen who has lived in Bimini for the past 25 years and is friends with all the local Bahamians.  Doug was our tour guide, boat captain and chef.  He took us out snorkeling and taught us how to free dive for conch.  He made delicious meals of freshly caught lobster, hog fish and conch (including conch chowder and cracked conch).

However, one of our favorite things that he introduced us to was Bimini bread and coconut rolls. Bimini bread looks like regular white bread but is much sweeter and has a slightly denser texture- perfect for toasting with butter or making french toast.  We bought our Bimini bread from Nathle Thompson who, now in her 70s, has been making the bread for decades, making 96 loafs a day.  She also makes delicious little coconut rolls. These little rolls are made out of a sweet yeast bread similar to Bimini bread and are stuffed with freshly grated coconut and sugar.  With the sweet bread, it reminded me a little bit of a coconut filled brioche roll.  And from this, inspiration hit, and I decided to experiment with Flour’s brioche dough recipe and a coconut filling.  The result was a sweet, but softer version of Bimini’s coconut rolls: layers of brioche folder over sweetened, creamy coconut.  And with each bite, I could almost imagine myself back in the sweet paradise of Bimini, relaxing under the hot sun and listening to the soft, blue waves against the beach.

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