Next week is my one year blogiversary (not an official holiday YET) and then of course there is the ever-popular Pi Day on the 14th, St. Urho’s Day on the 16th, St. Patrick’s Day on the 17th, and then Easter on the 27th. The only way to manage all of this is to multi-task and make desserts that will work for more than one occasion. This Coconut Cream Pie will have you covered for Pi Day and/or Easter.
Have you made your Pi Day plans yet? If not, I found this ultra-nerdy article with tips for how to celebrate the day. These are some of my favorite tips from the article:
- For added effect for a countdown, have a “pi drop” where you drop a big pie off a balcony or another elevated structure. You can even add a lot of sprinkles to the pie to make it look like a disco ball.
- You can also be more serious and have a minute of silence. Every person can think about what pi means to him, and consider where the world would be without pi. If you’re in school, someone can even announce the minute of pi over the loudspeaker.
- If you’ve written a pi song or made a pi dance, this would be the perfect minute to share your art.
Just for review and to follow my nerdy train of thought, Pi is the symbol used by mathematicians to represent the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. The number is “3” followed by a decimal and an infinite number of digits after it. It is usually abbreviated to 3.14, thus the reason for celebrating on 3/14. Last year was huge for Pi Day celebrators because the next digits are 1 and 5, so 3.1415 and last year we had 3/14/15. Well, the excitement is not over yet! This year we will have 3/14/16. And guess what? The sixth digit of Pi is a 9, so…… if we are using the number Pi and decide to round to five digits, we would use the number 3.1416. Whew, that took a lot of explaining. Isn’t that amazing?
Coconut Cream Pie.
This recipe has been a winner since I first tried it. It gets rave reviews from coconut cream pie lovers wherever I have brought it. I have had several people specifically come up to me to say it is the best coconut cream pie they have ever had. I don’t know myself if that is true or not because I am not sure if I have had more than one or two pieces of any other coconut cream pie. Try it for Pi Day or make it one of your Easter desserts. Coconut pies and cakes seem fitting for Easter for some reason. This one will be a winner whenever you make it.
If coconut cream is not your flavor, check out last year’s Pi Day pie, chocolate silk.
Coconut Cream Pie
*The recipe below is for one 8-9 inch pie. I made a double batch, so my pictures show quantities for two pies.
For the custard filling:
- 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, divided
- 1 (13 ounce) can coconut milk
- approximately 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups half and half (measure the coconut milk and then add enough half and half to TOTAL 3 cups of coconut milk and half and half)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 egg yolk, beaten
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 1/3 cup corn starch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or coconut extract
For the topping/garnish:
- sweetened whip cream
- toasted coconut (use the extra from the filling)
For the graham cracker crust:
*You can substitute a baked and cooled pastry crust (homemade or store bought) or a store bought graham cracker crust if you prefer.
- 1 and 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 6-7 tablespoons melted butter
- scant 1/3 cup white sugar
- If making the graham cracker crust, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a heat proof bowl and then add graham cracker crumbs and sugar and mix thoroughly. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 8 or 9 inch pie pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
- If you did not make the graham cracker crust, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking pan with foil and then place coconut on it in a single layer. Bake for 5 minutes and then remove and stir. If needed, return the coconut to the oven in 2 minute increments, stirring each time, until toasted to desired color. (Warning: The color can change fast once it starts to brown, so check often.) Set aside to cool and turn off the oven.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together the half and half, coconut milk, eggs and yolk, sugar, corn starch, and salt. Heat on low to medium-low, stirring occasionally at first, and then stirring constantly as the mixture heats up and begins to thicken and boil. Continue to boil and stir for a minute or two.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the extract and 3/4 cup of the toasted coconut. Stir well and then pour into the cooled pie shell. Cover the pie with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the custard (this will help prevent a crust from forming on the surface) and refrigerate for several hours before serving.
- When ready to serve, prepare sweetened whip cream. Top the pie with sweetened whip cream and the remaining toasted coconut.
- Keep leftovers refrigerated.
Source: Adapted from Allrecipes.