PRATIE PLACE

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Grandma Peppler's coconut custard pie

This was one of the first recipes I got from my grandmother when I was in high school and so inexperienced that I didn't realize (and she hadn't thought to tell me) that you have to cook a cornstarch mixture in order for it to jell up. I put it all together, uncooked, and refrigerated it in hopes of a miracle that never occurred.

Grandma Peppler's coconut custard pie
1/3 cup sugar plus 1/4 cup for meringue
6 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2-1/3 cups milk
1 tablespoon butter
3 eggs, separated
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flaked, sweetened coconut
baked pie crust

1. Mix the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a non-stick saucepan till there are no lumps. Add a tablespoon of the milk and mix it in as well as possible, then add milk just a tiny bit at a time till you have a stiff lumpless gook. Then turn on the heat and add the rest of the milk gradually, stirring constantly. Cook until it thickens.

2. Add the butter and melt it. Then add 1-1/2 cups coconut, give the pot a few good stirs, and turn off the heat.

3. Meanwhile, separate the eggs. Put the yolks in a smallish bowl and whip them smooth with the vanilla.

4. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites stiff, gradually adding 1/4 cup of sugar as you go.

5. Drop a few dollops of the hot custard mixture into the egg yolks and whip them together (this is called tempering) - then add the egg yolk mixture back into the custard mixture and cook a little longer (so the egg yolks cook a bit).

6. My grandma would fold all the egg whites into the custard, but I've taken to folding only half the beaten meringue into the custard. Then I dump the custard-mixed-with-meringue into the cooled (well, supposedly, but actually I never wait and dump it into the baked pie crust when it's still hot) pie crust and spread it evenly.

7. Spread the remaining 1/2 of the meringue on top and cook in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10-14 minutes until the meringue is a bit browned. Please do not eat this pie hot. If you put it in the freezer to hasten the cooling, don't forget you put it in there.

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