Triple Coconut Cream Mini Pies

At Tom Douglas's three Seattle restaurants--Dahlia Lounge, Etta's Seafood, and Palace Kitchen--the triple coconut cream pie is a perennial bestseller. We love the miniature version (and have made them even smaller here, since they're so rich). Prep and Cook Time: about 1 1/2 hours, plus at least 3 hours of chilling time. Notes: Pastry cream can be made ahead and kept, refrigerated, for two days; unbaked, formed pastry shells keep, frozen, a few weeks. The baked shells can be filled with the pastry cream several hours ahead, then topped with whipped cream and garnishes just before serving. "Chip"--or large-shred--coconut, which is sold at natural-foods stores and Whole Foods Markets, looks like little curls and makes the prettiest garnish, but regular shredded coconut works just fine. Toast coconut in a 350° oven until golden, 10 to 15 minutes.

Yield: Makes 9 mini pies
Recipe from Sunset

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Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 746
  • Calories from fat: 66%
  • Protein: 8.1g
  • Fat: 55g
  • Saturated fat: 36g
  • Carbohydrate: 57g
  • Fiber: 2.7g
  • Sodium: 186mg
  • Cholesterol: 187mg

Ingredients

  • For the coconut pastry cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups sweetened finely shredded coconut
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • For the pie
  • 9 3 1/2-in. Coconut Pie Shells, baked and cooled
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • For the garnish
  • 1 3-oz. chunk white chocolate, at room temperature
  • 1 cup unsweetened

Preparation

  1. 1. Make the pastry cream: Put milk and coconut in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean and add both seeds and bean to saucepan. Bring mixture to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally.
  2. 2. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, and flour. While whisking, drizzle about 1/3 of the hot milk mixture into egg mixture, then slowly whisk egg-milk mixture back into saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking, until pastry cream thickens and begins to bubble, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in butter, and discard vanilla bean.
  3. 3. Spoon hot pastry cream into a bowl and set in a larger bowl of ice and cold water, stirring occasionally, until cooled to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto surface (to prevent a skin from forming) and chill until cold, at least 3 hours.
  4. 4. Fill the pies: Carefully remove baked shells from brioche molds. Spoon pastry cream into shells, filling each a little more than halfway. With an electric mixer, whip cream with sugar and vanilla until it holds stiff peaks. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (no. 6) with whipped cream and pipe a double layer of cream onto each pie, or simply spoon it on (use all the cream--the pies should look like beehive hairdos).
  5. 5. Garnish the pies: With a vegetable peeler, scrape wide curls or shavings from the chunk of white chocolate. Sprinkle curls or shavings over pies, dividing evenly, and top with toasted coconut. Serve immediately.
  6. Note: Nutritional analysis is per mini pie.
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