Coconut Cream Pie
Slightly adapted from Emeril Lagasse
Notes: Be sure to bake the pie shell in advance, so that it will be completely cool when you are ready to add the filling. I baked my own pie crust, but you are free to use purchased pie crust.
1 blind baked 9 inch pie shell- cooled completely
2 1/4 cups whole milk, separated
3/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/4 cup used in meringue
3 eggs separated-egg yolks used in filling, whites in meringue
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups lightly toasted coconut*
1 tablespoon butter- I use salted butter
pinch if cream of tarter
* To Toast the coconut: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place coconut on baking sheet in thin layer. Bake in the oven, stirring every minute until coconut is lightly golden in color. Will take 4-5 minutes. Cool completely before adding to the pie filling.
In a large saucepan, stir 2 cups of milk with the sugar. Place pan over medium heat and bring up to a simmer, stirring constantly. Whisk the egg yolks together. Temper the hot milk into the egg yolks. Here's what I do. Add about 1/4 cup of hot milk to the yolks, whisking continuously so the yolks won't cook. Then, add about the same amount of milk again, still whisking. Repeat again, then add the egg and milk mixture into the saucepan, while whisking. Mix the remaining 1/4 cup milk with the cornstarch, making a slurry. Whisk this mixture into the pudding and simmer, stirring constantly, until pie filling is very thick. Directions say 4-6 minutes, but mine is done before then. Remove pan from heat. Stir in the toasted coconut, vanilla and butter. Poor filling into cooled pie crust and smooth over the top. Cool completely. Prepare meringue, if using.
Meringue: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. With an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the pinch of cream of tarter. Mix egg whites until stiff peaks form. Spread the egg whites over top of pie. I use the back of a spoon to create peaks or swirls in the meringue to look pretty. Be sure to bring the meringue up to the pie crust, making sure the meringue overlaps the crust a little, so it won't shrink back after baking. Sprinkle with a little more coconut if desired.
Bake for 3-4 minutes until meringue is golden. Cool. Enjoy!
NOTE: If you would like a higher meringue, just add 1 more egg white.