I knew I wanted to make a coconut meringue pie for dessert on Father’s Day, but I just wasn’t exactly sure where to look for a recipe. I had one printed out that I found online, but the portions were made for a 5-inch pie plate, something that I neither had nor wanted to use.
So, seeing me in a panic, my mom told me that I should go ask Betty. Now, at first, I thought my mom had gone a little psychotic. See, Betty is the name of my sister’s fish, and I was pretty sure Betty didn’t know how to make a coconut meringue pie.
Little did I know, my mom was talking about Betty Crocker’s Cookbook. I had seen the orange binder sitting on the recipe shelf in the Butler’s pantry ever since I could remember, but I had never opened it, expecting old and outdated recipes.
Boy, was I wrong.
I swear to you, this cookbook had amazing looking recipes for almost anything I could think of, and a bunch of things I had never even heard of. And if what I was looking for wasn’t contained within the covers, I know I would probably have had a 90% chance of finding something remotely similar to adapt.
Anyway, I don’t normally like to brag on myself, and a lot of times I find myself a bit apathetic about foods that I make (or I’m not hungry when it comes time to eat them). But, I have to say, this is probably one of the best pies I have ever had the pleasure of eating. And it’s not because I have an insane love of coconut. I’m pretty sure even if coconut wasn’t one of my favorite flavors, this pie would be just as delicious.
So, eat up and enjoy.
[Heed these words of advice: Make sure you put enough water in the pie crust. I know I didn’t put enough in, and although my crust was tasty, it definitely wasn’t the prettiest thing in the world to look at.
Also, make sure your meringue is flush with the crust before baking. If not, the cooked meringue will pull away from the edges.
Finally, cut with a wet knife when serving. The meringue will stick to the knife otherwise.]
Coconut Meringue Pie
Makes 8 Servings
Adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook
9-inch pie crust:
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. plus 1 tbsp. shortening
¼ tsp. salt
3 to 4 tbsp. ice-cold water
2/3 c. granulated sugar
¼ c. cornstarch
1 ½ c. coconut milk
1 ½ c. milk
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp. butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. coconut extract
¾ c. flaked coconut
3 egg whites
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
6 tbsp. granulated sugar
3 tbsp. flaked coconut
To make the pie crust:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine flour and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in shortening until pea-sized. With a fork, mix in water one tablespoon at a time, until a ball forms. Additional water may be needed.
Turn out onto a floured surface and form into a disc. Roll out pastry until two inches larger than an inverted 9-inch pie plate. Fold into quarters and transfer to pie plate. Cut off any excess. Cover twice with heavy-duty aluminum foil.
Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes. Remove foil. Bake for an additional 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
To make the filling:
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Slowly add both milks and whisk until well combined. Place over medium heat. Stirring constantly, bring mixture to a boil. Boil for an additional minute.
Add half of the mixture to a medium bowl with the egg yolks. Whisk. Return egg mixture to the pan. Return to a boil. Boil for an additional minute. Remove from heat and strain into a separate bowl.
Stir in butter, vanilla and coconut extracts, and flaked coconut. Pour into pastry shell.
To make the meringue:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl, add egg whites and cream of tartar. Beat until stiff peaks form, while gradually adding the sugar 1 tbsp. at a time. Spoon over the pie filling. Make sure meringue is right against the pastry shell. Swirl the meringue with a rubber spatula to produce small peaks.
Place pie in preheated oven for 10 minutes, turning halfway through.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
On a lined baking sheet, spread out coconut. Bake in the preheated oven for 5 minutes, until golden brown and toasted.
Sprinkle over hot meringue.
Allow pie to cool completely before serving