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A few years ago, I team taught a Sunday School class of teenagers. One Sunday, the woman I taught with invited all the students and their families to have a little pie party at her house. I honestly have no idea how she got together all those pies—with homemade crusts—that afternoon, but there they were: two lemon meringues, two apples, and two coconut creams. There may have even been more.

Of all the pies she made, I fell in love with her coconut cream. It was made from fresh shredded coconut—one more thing to add to my amazement in how she got them together so fast—and it was absolute perfection.

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Last week, I bought myself a fresh coconut and asked her how to make it. I’ve adapted her recipe a little, and I think you’ll love it. Thank you, Wylene!!

Oh, and one more thing, just in case any of you were wondering what I did over the weekend, I made some pumpkin cinnamon rolls and guest posted about them on MoonFrye. Yeah, I got to be on Punky Brewster’s website. My inner-10-year-old was giddy all day.

coconut cream pie

My friend made hers with a meringue, so you can do that, too. I’m a whipped cream kind of girl, so that’s what I used.

1 pie crust, baked (recipe follows)
3 cups milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
5 egg yolks
4 tablespoons corn starch
1 cup freshly grated coconut (instructions follow)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon all-natural coconut extract or coconut flavoring (optional)
1 tablespoon butter
whipped cream (recipe follows)

1. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, bring the milk almost to a boil. Meanwhile, whisk sugar and egg yolks in a large glass bowl until pale yellow, smooth, and falling in ribbons. Whisk in corn starch until smooth.

2. Whisk in hot milk, a half a cup at a time until mixture is warm to the touch. Pour entire mixture back into the saucepan and whisk constantly until pudding starts to get very thick and bubbly.

3. Pull off the heat and add in coconut, vanilla, coconut extract, if using, and butter. Pour into prepared pie shell. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Place whipped cream in a large pastry bag fitted with a star tip (Wilton 1M), and decorate.

one-crust pie crust

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick cold butter, cut in pieces
2-3 tablespoons ice cold water (all ice removed)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Add in butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Distribute the water over the mixture and pulse until the water is well-distributed and the mixture holds together like dry clay. Dump mixture onto a floured board, knead a time or two, form into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.

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2. Pound dough with a rolling pin a few times to soften the butter. On a well-floured board, roll into an 11 inch circle. Place the dough in a 9 inch pie plate. Roll up the edges and crimp with your fingers or a fork. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork a few times. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Place a large circle of parchment paper in the center of the chilled crust, and fill with a pound of dried beans (you can reuse them for this purpose again and again). Bake for 15 minutes with the beans in. Remove from the oven, take out the beans and parchment paper, and bake again for about 10 minutes, or until the center starts to turn golden brown.

how to make fresh shredded coconut

You will need:

1 fresh coconut (shake to make sure it sounds like it has lots of liquid inside)
a hard surface, like a cement sidewalk or a large rock
sturdy stainless steel bowl
flat-head screwdriver
1 glass
clean paper towel
vegetable peeler
box grater

Hold the coconut so that you can see the little “face,” or the three indentations. Firmly whack the coconut on the cement right between the “eyes.” Keep whacking until it starts to crack. When the cracks get bigger, use the bowl to catch the coconut milk (and if you have a strong enough bowl, you can keep whacking the coconut against the bottom of the bowl). When it is in pieces, use the screw driver to separate the flesh from the shell.

If you’d like to drink the coconut milk, fold paper towel and form into the shape of a bowl and place in a glass. Pour the milk through it to catch all the fibers and little bits of dirt. Throw out the paper towel, and enjoy. You’ll need it after all this exercise.

Take each piece of flesh and use a vegetable peeler to take off the brown skin (if desired. I usually leave on a little for color). Shred on a box grater.

whipped cream

3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Beat all ingredients together until stiff peaks form. Do not over beat.

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