Tom Douglas’ Coconut Cream Pie
I’ve read articles about how, in order to maintain a healthy relationship with food, you shouldn’t use it as a reward.
Doing so unintentionally categorizes foods as being ‘bad for you’ and worthy of ‘only an occasional splurge’ and that you should ‘love yourself enough not to succumb to that vice.’
I’ve heard that you shouldn’t celebrate with food. Don’t go out to dinner to acknowledge a promotion. Don’t eat a cake to enter your next year of life. Don’t eat ice cream by the carton to drown away a bad day.
How exactly does that work? I really can’t think of a reward OTHER than food. I don’t want a pedicure. I’m not sure how a job well done translates into “oh, I’ll allow myself a little yardwork!” and I can’t reward myself by not cleaning the house, though that surely would be a reward, because then how would the house get clean?
Yeah, I’m pretty sure humans have been using food to celebrate, reward, and acknowledge events for as long as humans have been living together in communities. I’ll live a healthy lifestyle. I will not give up these rewards.
Food creates memories! I will never again eat a coconut cream pie without thinking of that evening spent in a Tom Douglas Restaurant, Dahlia Lounge, with foodie friends. In fact, I thought of the friendships forged the entire time I made this recipe. I didn’t buy souvenirs at BlogHerFood conference in Seattle. I shared food with my friends. This pie is my keepsake from that trip.
Check out these girls’ blogs today to see their renditions of Coconut Cream Pie!
Coconut Cream Pie (adapted from Tom Douglas of Dahlia Lounge, Seattle, WA)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup ice water, or more as needed
2 cups milk
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
2 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 coconut pie crust (recipe above), prebaked and cooled
2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ounce sliced almonds
Chunks of white chocolate (4 to 6 ounces, to make 2 ounces of curls)
To make the crust:
1. In a food processor, combine the flour, coconut, diced butter, sugar, and salt. Pulse to form coarse crumbs, gradually adding the water a tablespoon at a time. Use only as much water as is needed to hold the dough together. (Test it by gently pressing a bit of dough between your fingers.) The dough will not form a ball or clump in the processor. Place a large sheet of plastic wrap on the counter and pour the dough onto it. Pull the plastic wrap around the dough, then flatten it into a rough round. Chill 30 minutes to an hour before rolling.
1. In a medium saucepan, combine the milk and sweetened shredded coconut. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add both the seeds and pod to the milk mixture. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and stir the mixture occasionally until it begins to steam and tiny bubbles start to form around the pan’s edges. (But don’t let it come to a boil.) Remove the pan from the heat.
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. On a baking sheet, spread the sliced almonds, then place the baking sheet in the oven. Stir the almond slices once or twice while they toast, watching, until they are lightly browned, 3-5 minutes. Use a vegetable peeler to shave about 2 ounces of the white chocolate into curls. Just before serving, decorate the pie with the toasted coconut and white chocolate curls.