Monday, December 11, 2006

Bad Days

We've all had them. My favorite, in a twisted way, was Maggy's. But last week I overheard a friend unwinding at dinner. I didn't hear the whole saga, but when she said "... and I've got six missile launchers coming in and I've got to figure out where to put them..." I thought, well, that's a problem most of us aren't going to have this week.

Speaking of friends at dinner... Coconut cream pie is a really good thing. We had this one last week.

Chocolate Macaroon Crust
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
6 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
Pinch of coarse salt
Nonstick cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Lightly coat a 9-inch glass pie plate with cooking spray; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine chocolate, butter, sugar, coconut, and salt. Using your hands, mix until well combined.

2. Press mixture into bottom and all the way up sides of prepared pie plate. Bake until firm but not yet browned, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Crust can be made up to 2 days ahead, and refrigerated, covered with plastic wrap.

Coconut Cream Pie
1 teaspoon gelatin
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure coconut extract
Pinch of coarse salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 large egg yolks
2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 cup heavy cream, whipped
1 cup toasted shaved coconut, or as desired, for garnish

1. In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup cold water. Let stand for 5 minutes. In a medium saucepan, whisk together coconut milk, sugar, gelatin mixture, coconut extract, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, 3 to 4 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks with cornstarch until combined.

2. Slowly whisk one-fourth of the hot-milk mixture into egg yolks; return to saucepan. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture returns to a boil, about 1 minute. Stir in shredded coconut. Transfer to a large bowl; let stand 15 minutes.

3. Pour filling into the prepared crust. Refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours, and up to overnight. Spread whipped cream on top; garnish with toasted coconut, if desired.

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