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Deconstructed Coconut Cream Pie For A Special Friend

I wanted to post this yesterday but somehow I kept starting over and over again, never satisfied with the angle I chose to tell you the story behind this dessert….the post itself is as deconstructed as the dish itself, much like the great story that goes along with it. So forgive me if this post has "ni queue ni tete" (literally "no tail nor head").

How did this dessert come about? If you have been following this little blog of mine this summer, you have read me say that the house was constantly filled with guests, good times, laughter, good eating and of course good drinking. The hotel Tartelette is now empty and it feels somewhat strange to have an evening by myself, starring at the dog who has been spoiled with so much petting! Our last guest was my very bestest friend Tim, aka Trouble coming to enjoy the last bit of sunshine before he’d have to face the cold weather of Cincinnati. We met while working at the same restaurant downtown. As the pastry chef, I always had the waiters try the special dessert of the day or refresh their memory with an item from the current menu. The rest of the kitchen crew used to love to butthead with them and I figured I could bring a little TLC with a bite of chocolate cake. Well, under Tim’s lead, there were a few of them endlessly coming back for seconds, which always resulted in getting me in trouble with the rest of the kitchen crew, hence his nickname. They were worse than a group of women on Midol with their sweet tooth, but what was I to do in front of killer smiles and batting eyelashes?!! We became instant friends, that was over 7 years ago and we have remained thick as thieves ever since. He’s seen me happy, in love, upset and has always lifted my spirits up. The first time I met him, I found him rather… can I say?…"deconstructed"? He thinks a million thoughts a minute, has many interests in completely unrelated fields, he’s been all over the place, and it seems that between the two of us, we are making a point at trying every job under the sun!! I have to add that it seems that we are both growing up lately and "deconstructed", although never a derogative term for him, is less of a personality trait these days.

As a "thank you" for putting him up for the weekend, he took us out to a renowned restaurant in town, Tristan. It was late Sunday evening so we were the only table in the dining room and enjoyed the spa treatment given by our waiter and hostess(es). Upon perusing the extensive food and wine menus we opted to have a table covered with appetizers as they sounded far more interesting and researched than the entrees and enjoyed a selection of 8-10, plus wine (both bottles made my hiney tingle…it was that good!). Hickory smoked lamb ribs with barbecue chocolate sauce, foie gras with pear and brie panini, Point Reyes cheese and huckleberries preserve, veal sweetbreads in perigueux sauce and truffle crust were among my favorites. But you know by now that I was really dying to sample the desserts! I was really dying to try the Spiced Beignets with coconut emulsion, Chinese five spice and passion fruit curd, but they were sold out…hmmmhmm. We combined our penchant for sweets and ordered the Warm Black Forest Cake with Kirsch spiked chocolate sauce and sour cherry chutney and a giant Citrus Panna Cotta on top of lemon curd and drenched in fragrant lemon-basil oil. I think this one never left my sight and I left the two boys with the chocolate. I am telling you…give me lemon and cream and I am happy!! Best panna cotta ever….

Ok, still nothing that relates to the Deconstructed Coconut Cream Pie of this post…well…Now I am getting to it. Between the appetizers and desserts, our waiter brought us a little palate cleanser: a tiny scoop of strawberry-kiwi sorbet….plated in the same cups you see in the pictures. All our dishes were brought forward in the most beautiful, so-great-for-blog-posts dishes that I wanted to keep several. I hung on tight to my little sorbet dish (per Trouble suggestion) thinking the waiter would forget about it but alas he removed it when I reached for my wine (darn French me!)….B. suggested we asked if we could purchase a couple for my blog, pictures, etc…brilliant! I asked how much they would charge me for one set and when I heard "5 bucks a piece", I exclaimed "Pack me up 3 please!!". Since Tim almost got me in trouble (I am telling you) for keeping one, he bought these for me as a hostess gift and a pack of Haribo strawberries for B. for almost putting his lovely Tartelette in jail!!

To properly thank Mr. Trouble for making my blog look good, I wanted to make one of his favorite desserts, coconut cream pie using my new dishes and I thought a deconstructed version would work best in this case. I did not have the chance to do it before he left, so it is a virtual taste for him, sorry! The recipe makes more than my three little dishes, so I assembled a larger one and took it over to the neighbours. If you know me a little from this blog, you have read me mention that B. can’t stand coconut, the shreds, not the flavor….so guess who was left to enjoy these….me, once again getting me in trouble with my skinny jeans and my love/hate relationship with the treadmill. Sheeesh…!

So after what is the longest post in the history of Tartelette, I give you Tim’s Deconstructed Coconut Pie…Enjoy!!

Deconstructed Coconut Cream Pie, inspired by this one:

Serves 8

3 cups half-and-half
2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flaked coconut, toasted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 portion of Martha Stewart Pate Brisee ( I make the whole thing and refrigerate the other portion for other tarts or quiches)
2 Tb. sugar

In a medium saucepan, combine half-and-half, eggs, sugar, flour and salt. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir in 3/4 cup of the coconut and the vanilla extract. Pour into serving dishes and chill 2 to 4 hours, or until firm.
In the meantime roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick, with cookie cutters , cut out different shape. Lay them flat on a parchment lined baking sheets, sprinkle with the sugar and bake at 350 F. until golden brown (10 minutes). When ready to serve, sprinkle the remaining coconut over the dishes and stick a couple of dough shapes in them.

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Lesley November 7, 2007 um 3:54 am

That is really cool. I love the plates, and the deconstructed pie is a really great idea. I know what you mean about the jeans…ay ay ay…and the eating season has only just begun.
LOVE those dishes.

Casey November 7, 2007 um 4:43 am

Another lover of those dishes here. God but that appetizer feast sounded like fun.

Unknown November 7, 2007 um 5:13 am

Hotel Tartelette…that’s where I want to go on my next vacation!:) I love your idea and execution, it reminds of some of Elizabeth Falkner’s creations at Citizen Cake!

Susan @ SGCC November 7, 2007 um 5:16 am

Not having the best luck with pie crusts, this sounds like a great compromise for me. I can make pie crust "cookies". Cookies, I am good at. You always come up with the most creative treats! I am always impressed.

Peabody November 7, 2007 um 8:17 am

You know, I never thought to ask if I could buy the dishes. I so am going to do that now.
What a fun thing to do with coconut pie.

Anonymous November 7, 2007 um 9:33 am

Fun way to serve pie! The dishes are lovely indeed and so does the dish πŸ˜‰

MyKitchenInHalfCups November 7, 2007 um 12:19 pm

Oh yes, do put me up at the Hotel Tartelette! I have no problem with the coconut and would most happily help out – um yes about those jeans, yes we do need more squash, as in squash into those jeans kiddo.
Love the dishes. Buy them, why didn’t I think of that. Appetizers are always my style.

Meeta K. Wolff November 7, 2007 um 12:28 pm

This looks incredible Helene. Love the coconut – and can you check me into hotel tartelette please!

Anonymous November 7, 2007 um 12:37 pm

Gotta love those friends who are always getting us non-trouble makers into trouble. What would we do without them?? They’re too much fun. Coconut cream pie is one of my all-time favorites, too, and this looks scrumptious!

Anonymous November 7, 2007 um 12:59 pm

This looks so good it’s ridiculous! YUM!

glamah16 November 7, 2007 um 1:59 pm

Those are the best dishes. We all need special friends like Tim in our lives. And the dessert looks so yummy.

Cheryl November 7, 2007 um 2:03 pm

Beautiful plates, I can see why you wanted them so bad.

Love the idea of a deconstructed coconut cream pie. The hubby would love it.

Merav November 7, 2007 um 2:07 pm

I love those dishes! What a great idea to ask if you could buy them, I never would have thought of that! Once again, a deliciously inspired dessert!

african vanielje November 7, 2007 um 3:46 pm

great post, beautiful un-pie (?) and sounds like my favourite kind of dinner (and friend)

Abby November 7, 2007 um 4:12 pm

They are precious! Is there an indent in the saucer to fit the bowl? Too cute!

Hmmm … I’ve been known to cook/bake something that Brad doesn’t like just so I can keep it to myself. Bad Abby, bad!

It sounds like you had a lovely time with your friend!

Deborah November 7, 2007 um 4:27 pm

I, too, love the dishes – and admit that I would have been tempted to take one!! This looks so good – I love coconut!

Karen Baking Soda November 7, 2007 um 5:59 pm

Citrus Panna Cotta? Lemon curd? Lemon basil oil…Swoon! I always skip dessert (except for excellent cheese boards) but this..aiai!

Love the bowls! Genius strikes again!

Anonymous November 7, 2007 um 6:19 pm

Oh wow…This is beautiful, looks so yummy.

Tarah at Genesis of a Cook November 7, 2007 um 7:02 pm

That looks delicious! And I love the plating! It’s adorable

Anonymous November 7, 2007 um 8:55 pm

I think this pie could have been your get out of jail free card! What a lovely post, keep the long ones coming please!

LizNoVeggieGirl November 7, 2007 um 9:13 pm

haha I LOVE the whole "Hotel Tartelette" thing – my house is practically a hotel as well, with so many family members and friends visiting :0)

aww, what a lovely, delicious-looking thank-you gift for Tim! I hope he enjoyed his deconstructed pie!

Jenny November 7, 2007 um 9:52 pm

Great story!
And the dishes look like they would have been worth going to jail (briefly) for. πŸ™‚
Course if you had them filled with coconut cream pie when the police came to arrest you, you might be accused of bribing them. πŸ™‚

Warda November 7, 2007 um 10:09 pm

What a wonderful to say than you to mr trouble than by making something so pretty and delicious. Helen, where can I make a reservation for hotel tartelette?

Anonymous November 7, 2007 um 11:14 pm

How did you know I liked coconut cream pie? I’m so glad you think of me as your special friend! Haha just kidding. But that does look delicious and unique!

Mandy November 8, 2007 um 12:05 am

those bowls are lovely. And rightfully photogenic! I saw them in restaurants, but can’t seem to find them anywhere else.

Anonymous November 8, 2007 um 12:40 am

that is such a great recipe, besides being SO TEMPTING, it’s pretty and i think i could make it. i’m not the most graceful of bakers, THIS!! YUMMMMMMMMMM πŸ™‚

Anonymous November 8, 2007 um 12:52 am

Given a choice, I usually do not pick coconut desserts. But for some reason when face with eating one, I always think they are the yummiest rich desserts ever.

test it comm November 8, 2007 um 12:57 am

That looks good! Now I have a craving for coconut.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) November 8, 2007 um 2:39 am

Oooh, I would have filled my purse with those little plates — how perfect! And your deconstructed pie looks delicious.

Eva November 8, 2007 um 6:05 am

That looks awesome! Such wonderful crockery…I want one..with the pie, please, too!

lululu November 8, 2007 um 8:07 am

wowowow, it just looks amazingly beautiful. Good job!!!

fanny November 8, 2007 um 11:39 am

Hmmmm Γ§a a l’air dΓ©licieux Helene!
Moi aussi je veux venir en vacances chez toi…


Brilynn November 8, 2007 um 2:53 pm

Love that story! I’ve previously been convinced to "borrow" (read: take) a mug from a restaurant because it had the cutest sunshine ever on it!

Cookie baker Lynn November 8, 2007 um 4:41 pm

Wonderful story! I love the image of you hugging the little dish to yourself, only to have it snatched away as you reached for the wine.

breadchick November 8, 2007 um 7:29 pm

What a fun and great story. Though,m I somehow don’t think Tim was the only instigator of trouble!! You forget, I’ve seen you in action πŸ˜‰

And you can make this for me when I come check into Hotel Tartlette!

Chris November 9, 2007 um 2:11 am

Great story and lovely dessert! Oh yeah – I would like a reservation for one at Hotel Tartlett for January 15th through….


Robyn November 9, 2007 um 6:48 am

Neat! I love the plates and the story is heartwarming. Dinner with good friends, and loved ones are always the best.

Stella November 9, 2007 um 12:06 pm

Original, creative & lovely!

Anonymous November 9, 2007 um 9:06 pm

Deconstructed or everything in it’s place, I love coconut cream pie. It’s my favorite. Love your photos.

Anonymous November 12, 2007 um 3:41 pm

I do love those dishes…and I can just picture you sneaking one in your purse as you exit the restaurant.
Love your version of the pie πŸ™‚

Lori September 16, 2012 um 9:08 pm

I can hardly wait to try this!

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