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…hmm..how 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:
3 cups half-and-half
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.