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JCR’s now-annual December Holiday Cookie Exchange newsletter is, hands down, a favorite in the office. We love receiving the decadent cookie recipes from the kitchens of our JCR properties. (See current, December2019 newsletter).
As one of my family’s favorite holiday desserts is not a cookie – but a pie – I’m including, here, a Cifelli household tradition. My coconut custard pie. And Anthony’s official January ‘birthday cake.’
Enjoy. And happy holidays.
JAJ’S FAMED COCONUT CUSTARD PIE
1 single pie crust
1 ½ cups heavy (whipping) cream
1 ¼ cups milk
¾ cups sugar
6 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups shredded coconut
5 large egg whites, at room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
Make pie crust and cool the baked shell.
Scald the cream and ½ cup of the milk with sugar in a heavy medium-size saucepan over low heat. Stir occasionally to dissolve the sugar.
Dissolve cornstarch in the remaining ¾ cup milk. Whisk in the egg yolks.
Gradually add ½ cup of the hot cream mixture to the yolks while whisking vigorously. Whisk this mixture into the remaining scalded cream. Cook, whisking constantly, over low heat until it thickens, 5 to 6 minutes. Cook, continuing to whisk, 20 to 30 seconds more. The custard should form loose mounds when dropped from a spoon into the pan.
Remove the custard from heat and stir in the vanilla. Transfer the custard to a medium-size bowl and cool 15 minutes, gently stirring it several times to allow steam to escape.
Stir all but 3 Tablespoons of the coconut into the custard. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard and puncture the wrap in several places with the tip of a knife. Cool for 1 hour at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Scoop the custard into the pie shell and use a spatula to spread evenly.
For the meringue:
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the egg whites in a medium-size bowl until frothy, about 50 seconds.
Gradually add the sugar and cream of tartar on medium speed.
Increase the speed to medium-high and beat 15 seconds. Then increase the speed to high and beat until the meringue is shiny and holds stiff peaks, about 90 seconds more.
Use a rubber spatula to scoop and spread the meringue over the pie. Use the back of a metal spoon to make little peaks. Sprinkle the remaining coconut over the top.
Bake the pie on the center oven rack until the coconut and the meringue peaks are golden, about 15 minutes.
Cool for 15 minutes, then refrigerate the pie for 1 hour before serving.
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