Light and Creamy Coconut Pie

Sometimes, the best things come by surprise, and that’s just what happened with these coconut tarts.  While preparing for a cooking class on lightened coconut custard pie, I grabbed my pie pan only to discover that the sink was leaking into the cabinet in which my baking pans are stored and had left me with a very rusty pie plate.  The mini muffin tins, however, had escaped the deluge, and so the recipe was born. If you prefer, however, the  recipe will work in a regular pie pan, as the directions state.

Light and Creamy Coconut Pie

Makes 8 pie servings or about 16 mini tarts

 Ingredients

Crust:

1 ½ cups crushed graham crackers

4 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons water

Filling:

½ cup all-purpose flour

2 cups light coconut milk

1/3 cup sugar

½ teaspoon almond or vanilla extract

½ teaspoon coconut extract, optional

Topping:

2 tablespoons flaked, sweetened coconut, toasted

Note:  To crush graham crackers, place in a sealed bag, and flatten with a rolling pin.  To toast coconut, place on a microwave-safe dish, and process on high 30-40 seconds, stirring half-way through.

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F.  Lightly coat a 9” pie pan with non-stick cooking spray.  To prepare crust, combine crackers, oil and water.  Mix well, and press into the bottom and sides of pan.  Bake 7-10 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned.  Cool on a wire rack.  Meanwhile prepare filling.  In a small bowl, whisk together flour and ½ cup of coconut milk.  In a small saucepan, combine the remaining milk and the sugar.  Add the flour mixture to the liquid, mixing well to combine.  Cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes, whisking constantly, until pudding begins to thicken and bubble.  Add the extracts, and cook one minute more.  Transfer mixture to a container with a lid.  Place plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding, and cover container with lid.  Refrigerate 4-5 hours or overnight to allow pudding to thicken.  Fill crust with pudding, and top with toasted coconut.

Alternatively, the uncooked pie crust can be pressed into lightly greased, mini muffin tins.  Bake as directed; remove tarts from muffin tins to cool on a wire rack, and follow the rest of the recipe to make the pudding and fill the crusts as written.

Per serving (1/8 of pie):  208 Calories; 3 g protein; 9 g fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 24 g carbohydrate; 14 g sugar; 21 mg sodium.

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