Monday, October 25, 2010

Fie upon ye, food snobbery.



It has come to pass, even recently, that I have been accused of food snobbery.  This is an accusation founded in my poking fun at Knorr and Lipton just-add-milk-or-water-chicken-flavored noodle side dishes, and “critter wine”.

And yes, maybe I am a tiny bit of a food snob, at times.  But come on!  Not everything I make requires five thousand steps and is from scratch.  I used canned pumpkin a few posts ago instead of pureeing and roasting my own, and I’m currently waiting for a weeknight-storebought-ravioli-jarred-sauce-pre-cooked-chicken-sausage-processed-shredded-mozzerella casserole concoction to come out of the oven, which smells deliciously Chef Boyardee-esque.  Just because I make marshmallows from scratch doesn’t mean I’m not seduced by packaged brownie mix.  I frequently buy bagged salad (even the Caesar kit kind).  I’ve never made fresh pasta of my own volition even after witnessing my Mom and Nonie make it a million times.  And I NEVER make my own pastry piecrust.  Ever.

The aforementioned Mom and Nonie would never allow it.  They’ve always told me that the difference in flavor and texture is not worth the effort – that I should take my time perfecting the filling and let Pillsbury (specifically) handle the rest.  And they are so totally right, in my opinion.  I’ve made pie and tart crust a couple times from scratch, here and there, and yeah…not much difference. (Jus sayin’, graham cracker and cookie crusts don’t count, simply for the fact that they don’t necessitate a pastry cutter, and they require excess amounts of Vanilla Wafers rather that patience).

Proudly buying Pillsbury pastry piecrust is a practice I embrace, even for the most refined of pies – like the tropical coconut custard pie I’m about to share with you.  Buying pre-made crust from the grocery reduces your time and effort dramatically with this one – rather than blind baking the crust for 45 minutes as you would with the homemade, you simply have to unroll this gift from heaven and bake it for 10 minutes.  Then cool it, fill it, chill it and you can return to whatever else it was you were doing…AND have a delicious, toasty coconut silky custard pie at the end.  It’s like having your cake and eating it too…especially if it’s a delicious Funfetti cake-mix-cake, straight from the box.


Coconut Custard Pie
from Martha Stewart Everyday Food, tweaked a bit!

One pie crust (store bought or your own homemade, which is fine, I don't judge!)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk (don't decrease the octane here - this is a nice firm fatty custard between the milk and the coconut milk, and you don't want to compromise that texture by decreasing the number of lovely plump fat globules in the mix!)
1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted*

Place your pie crust in your desired pie plate and bake as instructed.  If it's store bought it will probably be for about 10 minutes at 400˚...Just read the box!  Convenience!  Homemade it will take about 45 minutes at the same temp...basically until lightly browned.  Set aside and let crust cool completely.

In a medium saucepan off heat, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Gradually whisk in whole milk, making sure to dissolve cornstarch.  Whisk in coconut milk and egg yolks.

Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until  the first large bubble sputters, about 5-7 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute.  Remove pan from heat and pour into a large bowl (M-Stew suggests pouring the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into that bowl.  Good luck to you - mine was way too thick to make that possible, and the texture didn't suffer one bit).

Pour custard into cooled crust - smooth top with a spatula.  Refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours, or loosely covered up to 1 day.  To serve, let stand at room temp for 30 minutes, then sprinkle with toasted coconut.

*To toast the coconut, place it on a baking sheet and bake at 350˚ for about 8 minutes.

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