Mile High Toasted Coconut Cream Pie
(pictured in foreground)
Cream of coconut ensures that this pie filling will be rich, velvety, and full of great coconut flavor. Look for nonalcoholic cream of coconut where alcoholic beverage mixes are sold in the supermarket. This pie needs to be chilled for 6 hours, so plan accordingly.
1 (15-ounce) package rolled refrigerated unbaked pie crust (2 crusts)
3 tablespoons finely chopped macadamia nuts
1-1/3 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-1/2 cups milk
1 (16-ounce) can cream of coconut (1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup butter
1-1/2 cups flaked coconut, toasted
4 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons finely chopped macadamia nuts (optional)
1 tablespoon flaked coconut (optional)
Preheat oven to 450°F. Unroll pie crusts; on lightly floured surface, stack crusts on top of each other. Roll together into 14-inch-diameter circle. Press 3 tablespoons macadamia nuts into crust; transfer crust to 9-inch ceramic deep-dish pie dish; fold under extra pastry, flute edges as desired. Line pastry with double thickness of foil. (Pie is very full, and foil will help keep crust from shrinking.) Bake 16 minutes. Carefully remove foil; bake 2 minutes more or until crust is golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.
Separate egg yolks from whites; set whites aside for meringue. For filling, in large saucepan combine 2/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in milk and cream of coconut. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. In small bowl, beat egg yolks lightly with whisk or fork. Gradually stir about 1 cup of hot milk mixture into beaten egg yolks, stirring constantly. Return all of mixture to saucepan. Cook and stir until bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in butter until melted. Stir in 1-1/2 cups toasted coconut and 3 teaspoons vanilla. Cover; keep filling warm. Prepare meringue.
For meringue, in large mixing bowl beat egg whites, remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla, and cream of tartar with electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add remaining 2/3 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Pour warm filling into baked pastry shell*. Spoon meringue over hot filling, spreading evenly and sealing to pastry edge. If desired, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons macadamia nuts and 1 tablespoon coconut. Bake in 350°F oven 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack 1 hour. Chill at least 6 hours before serving; cover for longer storage. Makes 8 servings.
*If crust sinks during prebaking and does not hold all of filling, spoon any extra into desert dish. Cover and chill. Serve like pudding.