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Prep 1 hr
Cook 30 mins
From the magazine's August 2007 edition: "At Tom Douglas's three Seattle restaurants--Dahlia Lounge, Etta's Seafood, and Palace Kitchen--the triple coconut cream pie is a perennial bestseller. We love the miniature version (and have made them even smaller here, since they're so rich)." Prep and cook time = about 1-1/2 hours plus at least 3 hours of chilling time. Nutrition facts per pie: 746 cal, 495 cal from fat, 8.1g protein, 55g fat (36g sat fat), 57g carb (2.7g fiber), 186mg sodium, 187mg chol.
For the Coconut Pastry Cream
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut (finely shredded)
- 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
- 2 large eggs
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
For the Pie
- 9 pie crusts, 3-1/2 inch (see our "Coconut Pie Shells" posted separately)
- 2 1⁄2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1⁄3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the Garnish
- 1 (3 ounce) white chocolate, 3-oz chunk, at room temp
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut ("chip" or large-shred, see Notes below) or 1⁄2 cup unsweetened coconut (shredded , toasted)
- Make the pastry cream: Put milk and coconut in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean and add both seeds and bean to saucepan. Bring mixture to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, and flour. While whisking, drizzle about 1/3 of the hot milk mixture into egg mixture, then slowly whisk egg-milk mixture back into saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking, until pastry cream thickens and begins to bubble, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in butter, and discard vanilla bean.
- Spoon hot pastry cream into a bowl and set in a larger bowl of ice and cold water, stirring occasionally, until cooled to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto surface (to prevent a skin from forming) and chill until cold, at least 3 hours.
- Fill the pies: Carefully remove baked shells from brioche molds. Spoon pastry cream into shells, filling each a little more than halfway. With an electric mixer, whip cream with sugar and vanilla until it holds stiff peaks. Fills a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (no. 6) with whipped cream and pipe a double layer of cream onto each pie, or simply spoon it on (use all the cream--the pies should look like beehive hairdos).
- Garnish the pies: With a vegetable peeler, scrape wide curls or shavings from the chunk of white chocolate. Sprinkle curls or shavings over pies, dividing evenly, and top with toasted coconut. Serve immediately.
- NOTES: Pastry cream can be made ahead and kept, refrigerated, for two days; unbaked, formed pastry shells keep, frozen, a few weeks. The baked shells can be filled with the pastry cream several hours ahead, then topped with whipped cream and garnishes just before serving. "Chip"--or large-shred--coconut, which is sold at natural-foods stores and Whole Foods Markets, looks like little curls and makes the prettiest garnish, but regular shredded coconut works just fine. Toast coconut in a 350-degree oven until golden, 10 to 15 minutes.