Tuesday, June 22, 2010

DG's Florida Pie

One of these days I'm going to find me a babysitter, and finally enroll in some proper photography classes. Until then, please bear with my sub-standard foodie shots. Now listen, I'm not saying this to get pity compliments from you, dear readers (although, a compliment is a compliment, and I'll take it anyway!), but this little outburst just stems from frustration.

You see, here I made this gorgeous, unctuous, velvety smooth, and downright delicious pie - DG's Florida Pie no less! - and no picture I was taking seemed to do it justice. I tried every angle. All kinds of backgrounds. Put it in front of every window in the house. Of course, as my luck would have it, it was really cloudy that day. And not one of the several dozen photos I took that day was able to capture how good this pie really is.

So you'll just have to take my word for it. There isn't an ounce of chocolate or caramel in the whole darn thing, but it will still make your eyes roll over in your head with bliss.
Florida Pie (page 340, Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan - the baking goddess)
Serves 8

Click here for printable recipe

1 9-inch graham cracker crust, fully baked and cooled (next time I'll get the store-bought stuff; lot easier and lot less messier!)
1 2/3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
4 large eggs, separated
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh key lime or regular lime juice
1/4 cup sugar

1. Here's what I did. Got the juice ready by squeezing a whole bunch of those tiny key limes. Ouch - my hands still hurt thinking about that! Next time, I'm just going for regular limes.

2. Next I prepared the coconut cream, which is one of the layers in this heavenly pie. Put the cream and 1 cup of the coconut in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Continue to cook and stir till the mixture thickens a bit and reduces almost by half. Set it aside.
This is essential to the pie. And it's wicked-good. Daddy, you love coconut - I'll be making this for you when you come to visit!

3. Then I made the graham cracker crust from scratch, and I have to say, I wasn't too happy with it. It was much too crumbly for my liking. I think I should have baked it a bit longer. My suggestion is that you all get the store-bought crust, but if you want to make it: Take 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs, 3 tbsp sugar, a pinch of salt and 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted ... and mix them all together. Then press it into your pie dish and bake for 10-12 mins. Cool completely.

4. To make the lime filling: beat egg yolks on high speed until thick and pale. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the condensed milk. Still on low, add half the lime juice. When it is incorporated, add the remaining juice and mix till well blended.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

6. Spread the coconut cream over the bottom of the graham cracker crust. Pour over the lime filling. Bake for 12 mins. Cool for 15 mins. Then freeze the pie for at least 1 hour.

7. Let's get to the meringue topping. Preheat your broiler. Or get out your snazzy kitchen torch. Put the 4 egg whites and the sugar in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, until whites are hot to the touch. Transfer to a stand mixer and beat the whites at high speed until they reach room temp and hold stiff peaks. Fold remaining 1/2 cup coconut into the meringue. Spread the meringue over the top of the pie. Now broil it or torch it till golden-brown. Return pie to the freezer for another 30 mins before serving.

Verdict: I wasn't expecting to like, nay love, this pie as much as I did. It epitomizes summertime flavors, with the tart citrus and creamy coconut. Just stick your fork in it and picture yourself on a beach in sunny Florida, with your feet digging into the pristine white sand, and a buff lifeguard strutting his stuff in front of you .... mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Oh dear, DH just peeked over my shoulder. Excuse me, dear readers, I have some explaining to do. "Yoohoo, hubbs, would you like a piece of pie?!"