It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 3 weeks since I was in Seattle for BlogHer Food ’12. It was such an incredible weekend. Not only did I learn a lot about how to improve this little old blog….
I kissed a fish.
I met The Pioneer Woman.
I made lots of new friends and had the chance to finally meet some old friends in person.
During one of our many delicious meals, we discovered the most incredible pie ever made. It was so good that those of us who ordered something different were sad that we only had a couple of bites and none of us could stop talking about (or dreaming about, or drooling over) the pie once we returned home. It was definitely the food highlight of the trip so I decided to take a chance and try to find the recipe online. I didn’t have the highest of hopes since it comes from one of Seattle’s greatest restaurateurs, Tom Douglas (it’s served at 12 of his 13 restaurants), but lo and behold, I found the recipe.
I immediately popped over to our forum and excitedly posted the link. We all decided we would each make the pie and post about it on the same day, so make sure to pop over to the other blogs and see their interpretations!
I decided to try to make the for Father’s Day since my dad is the pie man in our family. It is quite the time-consuming dessert so unfortunately Dad didn’t have a chance to try it, but it’s definitely worth taking the time to make. I admittedly had quite a bit of trouble with the dough. Every time I tried to roll it out, it would crack and crumble. I ended up re-chilling it a few times before it became pliable enough to work with. And even then it was still finicky.
Despite the fact that my pie turned out more, er, rustic looking than the one Tom Douglas has had years upon years to perfect, the heavenly taste was what just what I remember it being. The coconut-flecked crust followed by a thin layer of coconut cream filling, topped with a fluffy pillow of vanilla pastry cream and sprinkled with a layer of toasted coconut and white chocolate curls melted in my mouth, and I may have had more than one serving in one sitting. Luckily (and grudgingly) I shared the pie with friends so I wouldn’t be tempted to finish the whole thing at once.
It was a great reminder of a fabulous trip, but I’m already dreaming about going back to Seattle for a slice of the real thing!
- 1 Cup plus 2 Tbsp. Flour
- 1/2 Cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut
- 1 Stick Cold Unsalted Butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 tsp. Sugar
- 1/4 tsp. Salt
- 1/3 Cup Ice Water, as needed
- 2 Cups Milk
- 2 Cups Sweetened Shredded Coconut
- 1 Vanilla Bean, split in half lengthwise
- 2 Eggs
- 1/2 Cup plus 2 Tbsp. Sugar
- 3 Tbsp. Flour
- 1/2 Stick Unsalted Butter, softened
- 2 1/2 Cups Heavy Whipping Cream, chilled
- 1/3 Cup Sugar (I used Coconut Palm Sugar)
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 2 oz. Unsweetened Coconut "Chips" (I found large-shred flakes at Whole Foods)
- 2 oz. White Chocolate Curls (Use a vegetable peeler to make curls)
Add the flour, coconut, butter cubes, sugar and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until coarse crumbs form, adding the water a tablespoon at a time until the dough just sticks together (I used about 4 Tbsp.).
Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap. Pull the wrap around the dough and slightly flatten it into a rough circle. Chill for one hour.
Unwrap the dough and transfer to a floured work surface. Dust a rolling pin and your hands with flour. Roll the dough into a 1/8 inch thick circle, adding more flour as necessary to prevent sticking.
Ease the rolled dough round onto a 9-inch pie pan. Trim any excess, leaving a 1 to 1 1/2 inch overhang to account for shrinkage during baking.
Return the unbaked crust to the refrigerator and chill for one hour.
Preheat oven to 400.
Place a sheet of aluminum foil over the pie crust and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until edges are golden, 20-25 minutes.
Remove crust from the oven and remove the foil and beans. Return to the oven and bake an additional 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool.
Combine the milk and coconut in a medium saucepan. Using a knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the milk mixture along with the pod. Place the saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until tiny bubbles form along the edges of the pan (do not allow the mixture to boil). Remove pan from the heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and flour. While still whisking, pour 1/3 cup of the milk mixture to the coconut mixture to temper the eggs. Add the warmed egg mixture to the saucepan. Return the pan to medium-high heat and whisk until the mixture becomes very thick, about 4-5 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in the butter until melted. Discard the vanilla bean pod.
Set a medium bowl over a larger bowl filled with ice water. Transfer the pastry cream to the bowl and stir occasionally until cool (this took me about 25 minutes).
Once cool, place a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the pastry cream and refrigerate until cold, about an hour. *You can also prepare this step a day ahead of time.
Preheat oven to 350. Spread the coconut chips in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 7-8 minutes until lightly browned. Stir once or twice during the toasting process, watching carefully to make sure the coconut doesn't burn.
In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla on medium speed. Gradually increase the speed to high until firm peaks that hold their shape form.
Add the pastry cream to the pre-baked pie crust and spoon the whipped cream topping over it. Sprinkle the toasted coconut and white chocolate shavings over the top of the entire pie just before serving. Keep refrigerated.
Adapted from Tom Douglas via VIA Magazine