Coconut Cream Pie

by Jenn on January 8, 2013

in Dairy Free,Desserts,Gluten Free

Coconut Cream Pie

This post was years in the making.  YEARS.  You see, once a long time ago, when my husband first figured out that I could make food he liked (this was before we were engaged), I had asked him what he wanted me to make him.  “A coconut cream pie,” he said, “it’s my favorite type of pie.” And yet, as simple as it would be to just bake one pie, whenever I thought of making a coconut cream pie, I just couldn’t muster the motivation to do it. Opportunity after opportunity went by, and I just could not get in the mood to make this pie.  In fact, after enough time had passed it became a running joke between us, the pie that never would be.

And now here we are, a good five years later, halfway across the world, parents, and I still had yet to make him his coconut cream pie.  I don’t know what struck me over the holiday but out of the blue, I just decided I would do it.  Why not? What was I holding on to by not making this?  The fear that I would disappoint him in his favorite type of pie ever? No, he’s pretty amenable to most everything I cook.  Maybe it was just the finality of it, that after all this time there’s now been so much expectation that it will seem a bit anticlimactic if it’s not the absolute awesomest coconut cream pie in the world.

Last weekend I decided  that I might as well give it a go at this point – I mean it’s been five years, it’s about time I finally give the man his dessert :)

Coconut Cream Pie

I was actually quite surprised how much variation there was in the recipes that I found for coconut cream pie, and how few had a meringue topping, opting for whipped cream instead.  Meringue is not that hard to make and is a far better marriage with custard than whipped cream because of its light and airy sweetness, much more so than whipped cream ever could be.  I settled on Emeril’s recipe because it seemed to have the largest proportion of actual coconut in the pie filling, and since I wanted coconut to be the star, that seemed fair criteria to go by.  I was also surprised at how many recipes called for regular cow’s milk in the custard.  Why not coconut milk? It is a coconut custard after all, wouldn’t using coconut milk help deliver the most coconut flavor?  In general I find that coconut milk usually works great in things like puddings and custards, so didn’t hesitate to substitute it in here.

My favorite part about this pie? I kinda cheated and didn’t make a pie dough.  I think this pie is better for it – there’s something sinfully indulgent about dipping your spoon deep into the ramekin to scoop out the delicious coconut custard, and the meringue provides all the lightness you need to balance the sweet richness of the custard.  A pie crust I feel would just weigh it down.  So I didn’t feel bad about skipping one, and instead of baking this in a pie, just spooned the coconut custard into a bowl and spread some meringue on top.  And taking out the steps to make a gluten free pie dough just made making this dessert a whole lot more accessible for me to do again :)

Coconut Cream Pie

Also submitted to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Gluten Free Wednesdays