Sunday, November 18, 2007

Florida Pie


Florida pie, isn't a very clear title but it's basically a coconut cream pie on a graham cracker crust, with key lime "custard" poured on top of the cream base and topped with meringue. This pie marks a number of firsts for me -- first time I made a coconut cream pie, first time I used key limes and the first time I made meringue... at least the coconut cream and the key limes worked out for me...

The meringue didn't turn out horribly, but I wasn't thrilled with the whole process. Whisk the egg whites and the sugar in a pan on the stove until hot, then put them into the mixer and whisk some more until they have stiff peaks. They smelled "egg-y" when I was finished with all the whisking, and there were some liquid-y spots that I didn't put on top of the pie. But the meringue tasted okay and the rest of it looked okay. We turned the broiler on and Chris watched the meringue very carefully to make sure it didn't burn, but in the time it took him to open the oven and pull the pie out -- the meringue had turned from nice golden, perfect brown, to slightly charred looking. It still tastes great, but very annoying. Next time, we're totally using a hand-held blow torch. Just as soon as we get around to buying one again...

This was not a quick recipe to make either. I made my graham cracker crust which had to bake and cool before we could use it. You also need to bake and then chill the custard/lime mixture which is at least another hour and a half. The meringue pissed me off right from the beginning when I managed to spill 3 egg whites on the floor after I bumped the bowl I was putting them in. The meringue takes another 15-20 minutes to make, then the whole thing has to be chilled again for another 30 minutes before serving. Totally worth it, and not really all that difficult, just time consuming.

I pulled this recipe from the Dorie Greenspan book when I was looking for a way to use some key limes. I originally thought I would make a more traditional key lime pie, but this looked too tempting to pass on. The coconut cream is sweet and full of great coconut flavor and the lime adds a nice tart contrast. The graham cracker crust is of course wonderful -- it seems you can hardly go wrong when there is a graham cracker crust involved.

Ingredients:

1 9-inch graham cracker crust, fully baked and cooled, or a store bought one
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
4 large eggs, separated
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh Key (or regular) lime juice (from about 5 regular limes)
1/4 cup sugar

Getting Ready: Preheat the oven to 350. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment or with a silicone mat.

Put the cream and 1 cup of the coconut in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly. Continue to cook and stir until the cream is reduced by half and the mixture is slightly thickened. Scrape the coconut cream into a bowl and set it aside while you prepare the lime filling.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the egg yolks on high speed until thick and pale. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the condensed milk. Still on low, add half of the lime juice. When it is incorporated, add the remaining lime juice, again mixing until it is blended. Spread the coconut cream in the bottom of the graham cracker crust, and pour over the lime filling.

Bake the pie for 12 minutes. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes, then freeze the pie for at least 1 hour.

To finish the pie with meringue: Preheat the broiler.

Put the 4 egg whites and the sugar in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, whisking all the while, until the whites are hot to the touch. Transfer the whites to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or use a hand mixer in a large bowl, and beat the whites at high speed until they reach room temp and hold firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold the remaining 1/2 cup coconut into the meringue.

Spread the meringue over the top of the pie and run the pie under the broiler until the top of the meringue is golden brown. (Or, if you've got a blowtorch, you can use it to brown the meringue.) Return the pie to the freezer for another 30 minutes or up to 3 hours before serving.

1 comment:

Ben said...

seriously good stuff...