is it custard or cream? coconut cream pie-#21 of 52 pies

i am not sure what has happened but suddenly, it seems that i am constantly playing catch up.  no matter what is going on, i just feel like i am falling far behind…take this post for instance.  the pie was done on time, the photos too but when i looked at the calendar, it was suddenly tuesday!!!  as i have said before, it’s that time of year when we have lots to take care of and we are spending as much time as possible tending to the garden.

for those of you who are familiar with my job, you know that i make coconut custard pies-tons of them each week.  they are pretty tasty too.  often i find myself trying to explain the difference between coconut custard and coconut cream.  so here goes…a custard is usually a dairy product that is thickened with eggs; it can be sweet or savory and it can also have other thickeners like flour or cornstarch in it.  while almost all cream fillings are based on a custard, not all custards are creams.  sounds like i’m mincing words doesn’t it?  mainly, it is a lot of opinion but simply put, the main differences between a cream and custard fillings are when and how they are cooked.  in the case of coconut cream and coconut custard pies, the latter is cooked on a stovetop and cooled in a prepared crust while the former is baked in the crust.  since i make the custard version on a nearly daily basis, i decided to go with the cream version this time.

coconut cream pie
1 (9″) deep dish pie that serves 8-10
1 (9″) chocolate cookie crust-homemade or store bought
1 1/4 cup shredded coconut-do not use the fine cut macaroon coconut
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 cups whole milk
1 (14oz) can coconut milk-do not use the reduced fat variety
2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
1″ piece vanilla bean
whipped cream, recipe follows
preheat the oven to 350.  toast the coconut until it is a nice and even golden brown color.  reserve 1/4 cup for the garnish.  place the cornstarch in a heat proof bowl, add 1/2 cup milk and whisk until smooth. place the remaining milk, coconut milk, sugar and vanilla bean in a heavy bottom sauce pot and heat over medium heat.  whisk the eggs into the cornstarch mixture.  when the milk comes to a gentle boil, remove it from the heat and whisk it into the eggs.  pour this mixture back into the pot and place it over medium low heat.  while whisking constantly, bring it to a gentle boil again for one minute to fully cook the starch and the custard.  off the heat, remove the vanilla bean, stir in the coconut and pour it into the pie crust.  press plastic wrap to the surface and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.  make the whipped cream and spread it over the top of the pie and decorate with the remaining coconut.
whipped cream
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons sugar
in a chilled bowl, combine the ingredients and whip until moderately stiff peaks form.  take care not to whip it too stiff or it will be difficult to smooth it out or even worse, you will have butter…

the latest pie round up

this weeks entry comes to us from benni.  you may recall that she has baked one of my pies before and sent photos.  this time, she chose to make the peanut butter and chocolate swirl pie.  the family loved it and if you look at the photos, you can see that she barely had time to take a photo at all…
thanks for baking with me benni!  for all of you who dare, and i do dare you, double dog dare you to go ahead and bake my day-i mean pie.  send me photos and i promise i will post it here!

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