Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie

Happy PI Day! In honor of it I give you this:

You're welcome. If I didn't think I'd upset someone at Hershey's (or Peter Paul?), I'd call this a "Mounds" pie. That's the general idea of it. And when I own a pie shop it will be my signature pie. And you will come in for a piece one day, and become addicted and have a standing order for one pie every week. You think I'm exaggerating.

I took bits from 4 or 5 different recipes, smashed them together and out came this incredible thing. Probably one of my top 3 favorite pies.
Here ya go:

Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie *click here for printable version*
Makes 1 9-inch pie

Toasted Coconut

1 c. sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 325.

Spread the coconut evenly onto a baking sheet and toast until lightly golden brown, stirring once, 8-10 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the coconut sit in the oven until very dry and crunchy, up to 15 minutes longer (check frequently, it may take as little as 5 minutes). Set aside to cool.

Chocolate Cookie Crust (from BAKED Classic Diner-Style Chocolate Pie)

30 chocolate wafer cookies (about 6 ounces)
1 Tbls. granulated sugar
6 Tbls. unsalted butter, melted

Place cookies in a food processor and process to a fine powder. You should have about 1-1/2 cups. Transfer crumbs to a bowl and stir in sugar. Add melted butter and mix until well combined; mixture should feel wet.

Turn crust mixture out into a 9-inch pie plate. Using the back of a large spoon, press the mixture evenly into the bottom and up the sides. Freeze while preparing ganache.

Dark Chocolate Ganache (from Bon Appetit Black Bottom Banana Cream Pie)

4 oz bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 c. whipping cream
2 Tbls. unsalted butter

Stir all ingredients in heavy small saucepan over low heat until chocolate and butter melt and mixture is smooth. Let cool to room temperature, then spoon into prepared crust. Spread ganache with back of spoon to cover crust bottom completely. Let stand at room temperature while preparing custard.

Coconut Custard

1 c. whole milk
1-1/2 c. unsweetened coconut milk
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
8 large egg yolks
2/3 c. granulated sugar
6 Tbls. (packed) cornstarch
4 tsp. coconut rum
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. coconut extract

Combine the milks and vanilla bean seeds in a medium, nonreactive saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat.

Whisk together the yolks, sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Slowly whisk the warm milk into the egg mixture, then return the mixture to the pot over medium heat and bring to a boil, whisking constantly, until thickened. Remove pan from heat and whisk in the rum and both extracts. Let cool to room temperature (make sure to cover with plastic wrap--pressed onto the custard so it doesn’t form a skin), then spread in crust over ganache. Refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours (cover with plastic wrap as before).

Chocolate Coconut Whipped Cream

1-1/2 c. very cold heavy cream
1-1/2 Tbls. granulated sugar
2 Tbls. unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp. coconut extract
3 tsp. nonfat dry milk (optional, to stabilize cream)

Combine all ingredients, whip to stiff peaks and spread over top of refrigerated coconut custard.

Sprinkle toasted coconut and approx. 2 oz shaved bittersweet chocolate over top.

TGIP Rating--Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie--KEEPER. Let me say that again, KEEPER. Try and love.

Next up: Bread. Ciabatta, I'm looking at you.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Kitchen Sink Oatmeal Cookies

Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. Also super-hearty-could-pass-for-a-breakfast-cookie.

Three things:
  1. Chances are, if you make these for your kids for boxed lunches, they won't actually get to eat them, because you'll eat them first.
  2. These stale quickly (or maybe it's just my altitude and arid climate). You might want to put a chunk of apple or something in an airtight container with them. Added bonus=a little apple essence added to the other flavors!
  3. My recipe alterations were mainly to deal with altitude, so if you're not altitude impaired, you might want to take a look at the original recipe here (also, weird, they've changed the recipe a little since the last time I bought Quaker Oats).

Here's the recipe:

Kitchen Sink Oatmeal Cookies *click here for printable version*
adapted from Quaker “Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies”
yield: approx. 3 dozen large cookies

1 c. butter, softened
⅔ c. firmly packed brown sugar
⅓ c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1-3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
3 c. rolled oats
4-5 c. add-ins (chopped nuts, chocolate chips, toasted coconut, dried fruits, whatever you like)

Preheat oven to 375.

With mixer on medium-high, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until well incorporated. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a separate bowl. With mixer on low, slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture along with 2 tsp water. Mix well. Stir in add-ins.

Drop by large spoonfuls (or #20 ice cream scoop) onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Use spatula to flatten dome of dough. Bake for approx. 15 minutes, until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes on pan, then remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container.

And here's what my "4-5 c. add-ins" was made up of:

1/2 c. toasted, chopped almonds

1/2 c. toasted, chopped walnuts

1/4 c. toasted, chopped hazelnuts

1 c. toasted coconut

1 c. chocolate chips

1/2 c. white chocolate chips

1 c. dried cherries

Now you believe me when I say "super hearty" right?

TGIP Rating--Kitchen Sink Oatmeal Cookies--KEEPER...although...I might still tweak this one a little. I might try honey in place of some of the sugar. And I might try another egg or more butter. I think the mixture might have been just a little too dry to begin with, so staling (yes, a word) happened faster than I expected.

Next up: "Mounds" Pie. Coconut and dark chocolate, YES.