Coconut Cream Pie

It’s getting to be too hot to have the oven on all day, but too early for good, fresh fruit at the grocery store.

So I went looking for something new, which didn’t require much oven time, and didn’t need fruit.  And I found this gorgeous Coconut Cream Tart recipe over at Willow Bird baking.

I don’t have a square tart pan, and I did have a pie crust in the fridge already, so I figured I’d just make it as a pie.  I put the pie crust in my biggest pie pan (9.5 inches), and baked it for 15 minutes.

While it cooled, I made the pastry cream.  I happened to only have two vanilla beans left in the jar, so I used both of them.  When I added the coconut, I thought it needed more, so I added an extra half cup.  I put it in the fridge for half an hour to cool.

Once the pastry cream was cooled, I made the whipped cream.  I didn’t see any reason not to avoid whipping cream twice, so I whipped all the whipping cream with the powdered sugar, then took out enough to cover the top of the pie, and mixed the rest in with the pastry cream.

Then it all got assembled and sprinkled with toasted coconut.

Coconut Cream Pie

When I was done, I had one of the best coconut cream pies I’d ever had.  It’s not as heavy and dense as most coconut cream pies – the coconut milk makes it both lighter and more coconutty.  And it’s not overpoweringly sweet – but if you wanted it even less sweet, you could use unsweetened coconut flakes.

I’m making it again this weekend to take to Mike’s family reunion – except this time I’ll make the crust from scratch!

( see the recipe )

Almond Butter Pie

Every Sunday, I clean out the fridge when I get home from the grocery store.  Usually, I just go through all the leftovers, dairy, and produce, toss what’s bad, and move the rest to the front so I don’t forget about it.

But this weekend I went though the condiment shelf, and realized there were 2 half-empty jars of smooth peanut butter and one half-empty jar of Trader Joe’s almond butter.  I like my peanut-butter-on-toast to be crunchy, so the peanut butter was most likely leftover from the peanut butter cups I made for Christmas.  The almond butter I brought back from a trip, but it ended up forgotten at the back of the shelf.

So, what to do with it?  I’m going to make cookies with the peanut butter, so I went looking for something else – and I found a peanut butter pie recipe.  I’ve had peanut butter pie, and I thought the almond butter would make a great variation on it.

I started with Paula Deen’s recipe, because you can’t go wrong with her Southern recipes.  I replaced the peanut butter with the almond butter, and the graham cracker crust with a standard pie crust, since I had one in the fridge.

The rest of it was trivial – whip the cream, then mix everything else together until smooth, then fold in the whipped cream.  I saved some of the whipped cream for a garnish.

It’s amazingly rich – you’ll probably want to serve very small slices.  The almond butter made it noticeably different then a standard peanut-butter pie.  If I’d thought ahead, I would have garnished it with some toasted almonds, but it really didn’t need them.

It’s not the most photogenic dessert ever, but it certainly makes up for it with taste!

( see the recipe )