I am definitely known for going a little too far – in pretty much every aspect of my life. My husband has had to get used to it over the years, and now he just thinks it is funny. His father and I have that in common – his motto in life is “If it is worth doing, it is worth over doing.” I love it.
When we moved here, almost 18 years ago – I remember going downtown for a special dinner one night. Tom Douglas was a Seattle icon, even back then, although he only had a couple of restaurants. It is remarkable to me that I can still remember that dinner - particularly the dessert. I remember seeing that Triple Coconut Cream Pie on the menu, and I had to get it. I love coconut, and I have always had a little thing for cream pies. This pie was over the top. I wasn’t exactly sure why it was a triple coconut pie, but it didn’t matter – every bite had an overwhelmingly delicious coconut flavor. That pie is now a Seattle icon - everyone knows about this famous pie, and for good reason.
Last year for my birthday, one of my very close friends surprised me with a very special gift – the Dahlia Bakery Cookbook - and of course the first recipe I turned to was this Triple Coconut Cream Pie. I knew that I would make it eventually, but I had to wait for the right occasion. A month of so ago another good friend asked if I would make a dessert for her daughter’s school auction. It is our neighborhood school – that my kids also attended – so I quickly snatched up the opportunity. She was the one that suggested this pie, and even though I looked to see if there was anything else I thought could be more special – I couldn’t come up with anything. How could anything top this?
Well – unfortunately I didn’t get to eat it in it’s entirety – but I did take tastes along the way – just to make sure it was edible for the auction… And yes, it was definitely edible – and again, over the top. It is sweet as all can be, so be prepared, but it is completely worth it. Sometimes you just have to go too far – and when it is allowed, there is no holding back. I hope that whoever ends up with this pie enjoys it as much as I did making it!
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk (I used full-fat)
- 2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 ½ cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups unsweetened large-flake coconut or 2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- Chunk of good white chocolate to make 2 ounces of white chocolate curls
Coconut pastry crust
In a food processor, combine flour, coconut, sugar and salt. Pulse a few times to combine. Add butter and pulse until butter and flour are combined and mixture resembles small peas.Slowly pour in ice water through the feed tube. Stop when dough is beginning to come together. Dough should hold together when you squeeze it, but should not be sticky. You may not need to use all of the water. Shape dough into a disk and chill at least 1 hour. When you’re ready to roll, roll out dough on a well-floured surface into a 12- to 13-inch circle. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan, being careful not to stretch the dough. Trim overhang to 1 inch, then fold onto rim and flute with fingers and thumb. Chill unbaked pie shell at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line shell with parchment paper and pie weights (beans or coins.) Bake in preheated oven 20 to 25 minutes until rim is golden. Remove shell from oven. Remove parchment and weights, and bake an additional 10 to 12 minutes until bottom is golden-brown in spots.
Coconut pastry cream
In a heavy bottomed pot, combine milk, coconut milk, coconut shreds and vanilla bean seeds. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and flour until smooth and combined. Bring milk to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and whisk 1/3 cup of the mixture into the mixing bowl with the eggs to temper them. Pour egg mixture slowly into milk, whisking constantly. Return to a bubble and let simmer 5 minutes until very thick. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Put plastic wrap directly on surface of pastry cream and chill.
Whipped cream topping
Whip cream, sugar and vanilla until firm enough that peaks hold their shape.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and gently toast coconut until edges are golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Watch carefully and stir a few times. Use a vegetable peeler to make chocolate curls. When crust is cooled, fill with coconut pastry cream and smooth the top. Either pipe or decoratively spoon whipped cream topping on top, then garnish with toasted coconut flakes and white chocolate curls.
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