Thursday, March 3, 2011

Taste Buds: Grannie's Coconut Cream Pie


I was one of those girls that abhorred being in the kitchen when I was young. I didn't know what it was about the experience but everything in my being cringed at stepping foot into what I saw as my mother’s domain. My mom cooked for the family at home and when I moved away to college I was as clueless in the kitchen as you can be. Those years of college consisted of a less than stellar diet. Generally I would eat at work (I was a waitress in those college years - Olive Garden I think I ate more breadsticks in the four years I worked there than anyone has ever eaten) or I would eat out with my girlfriends. On the rare night I was home ramen noodles, cold cut sandwiches and mac&cheese rounded out my diet. It wasn't until I graduated, got a real job, found a man who was a sous chef in college and moved into a house that I became even interested in cooking. Even then I was busy with the career of my dreams and a busy social life. Once I lost my job two years ago and took on all of the cooking duties I finally decided to get my cooking butt into gear.

Since then I have cooked hundreds of recipes, started the Taste Buds section on this site and took on the ambition of writing a cookbook. Of course I had to start somewhere, and along with my husband and his family’s favourite dishes, I had to master the recipes I grew up with.

My mother is a great cook and some of the recipes put on here are from her recipe cards and then some of those, of course, trickled down to her from her mother. Today my mother and I cooked a modified Coconut Cream Pie recipe from my Grandma's ‘Betty Crocker Cookbook’.


A cookbook that she received as a wedding present on August 22, 1951.


A cookbook that has seen decades of love, use and abuse in the
kitchens of her lifetime.



A cookbook written in, spilled on and burned with its partially glued
pages of goo.


This recipe is not only amazing in its explosive simple complexity
and silky coconut flavor, it's also filled with rainbows of love. I
hope you enjoy!

This recipe is for a 9 inch pie pan

For The Crust
1 cup flour
1/3 cup Crisco
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons water

For The Filling
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cup milk
5 egg yolks (reserve egg whites in a bowl and place in fridge for meringue)
1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened coconut

For the Meringue
5 egg whites (reserved from the filling)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. To make crust: In a medium bowl combine flour, Crisco and salt. Using a pastry knife or two knives cut the butter until it is the size of small peas. Slowly add water and stir. You should be able to form a ball and the dough should keep its shape. If it's too dry, does not keep its shape, add a teaspoon of water or two more.
3. Roll out the crust on wax paper and gently transfer to your pie dish. Bake for 12 minutes until your crust is light brown.
4. To make filling: In a small saucepan mix the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Make sure to mix well, if you have clumps of cornstarch then your filling will be lumpy.
5. In a separate bowl beat together eggs and milk. While whisking the sugar mixture briskly, slowly add the liquid. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until it reaches a rolling boil. Once it is
boiling cook for an additional minute longer. Your filling should be
thick like a pudding, if not cook one more minute.
6. Once pudding is thick add in vanilla extract and coconut. Stir until
well combined. Pour the filling into the baked pie crust.
7. To make meringue: remove bowl of egg whites from the fridge. Using an electric mixer at the highest setting beat eggs for 3 minutes until they are very frothy. Add cream of tartar and beat for two more minutes. Slowly sprinkle into the bowl one tablespoon of sugar at a time, beat for a minute between each addition. Meringue should start to form stiff peaks. Once it's done quickly beat in vanilla extract.
8. Using a spoon dole out dollops of meringue onto the filling evenly
distributing until the pie is covered. Sprinkle top with coconut and
bake for 4-8 minutes until meringue tops are very lightly browned.
9. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours before serving.

Inspired and modified from the Betty Crocker Cookbook


lilmansworld said...

I'm not a fan of coconut but I'm a giant fan of the abused and used to the binding cookbook. My mom has the same one and aren't you amazed at how unhealthy the recipes are?! I loved cooking just like my influencial grandmother, too!

paul peggy zeus said...

I'm glad you finally got to learn how to cook. I couldn't do it, you had to find your own time. I recall in college when you called and said, Mom, I know how to cook, all you need is a frying pan, chicken and seasoned salt. YUCK! I thought I had failed, but you learned in your own sweet time.

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