Coconut Cream Pie

On Saturday, I spent a couple of hours at the Illinois Elks state meeting in Springfield. (I am the secretary of the Lodge board now, which is why I attended.) When I went up to the desk to register upon my arrival, the friendly folks in charge couldn't find my envelope. They looked for a few minutes, checked their records, and then discovered why:

They had me listed as Julie Bakes, rather than Julie Bates.

Coincidence? I think not.

So, in honor of my new moniker, I thought I'd share a virtual slice of coconut cream pie with you. This was Conservative Mom's request for her Mother's Day dinner, which Kid Sister and I were in charge of.

I have to admit, I used to not be that big of a fan of coconut. Don't know why really. Just didn't care too much for it.

But since living in L-Town and spending time with Conservative Family, I've changed my tune. This undoubtedly is because they are serious coconut lovers. That sort of thing rubs off on you eventually. (Although for some reason rhubarb love is not rubbing off on Conservative Hubby, but that's a whole other issue.)

This recipe comes courtesy of the Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. It's basically a vanilla cream pie recipe, with coconut thrown into the cream mixture and on top of the meringue.

First, you bake your pastry shell.

While that's baking, separate the yolks of 4 eggs from the whites. Set the whites aside for the meringue. (Letting the egg whites stand at room temperature for 30 minutes ensures a prettier, tastier meringue. At least that's what the BHG folks say.)

For the filling, combine 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup cornstarch in a medium saucepan.

Gradually stir in 2 1/2 cups half-and-half.

Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly; reduce heat.

Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

Slightly beat egg yolks with a fork.

Gradually stir about 1 cup of the hot filling into yolks.

Add egg yolk mixture to filling in saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, and 1 cup flaked coconut.

Keep filling warm while you prepare the meringue.

For the meringue, combine the four egg whites with 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed about 1 minute or until soft peaks form (tips will curl).

Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed about 4 minutes more or until mixture forms stiff, glossy peaks and sugar dissolves.

Pour the warm pie filling into the baked pastry shell. Spread meringue over the warm filling and seal to the edge. Sprinkle 1/3 cup flaked coconut over the meringue.

Baked in a 325 degree oven for 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack 1 hour. Chill 3 to 6 hours before serving.

Then, as usual, forget to take a photo of the pie once it's served because you're too busy eating.

Over and out,
Julie (Bakes)

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