Blind Baking a Pie Crust
Since we're going to be blind baking this crust, that is baking it empty, we need to take measures to hold it in place and keep down the shrinkage and bubbling. Prick it all over with a fork and then line with sprayed foil and fill with dry beans. Do it. They're coming out later, don't worry, we're not making bean pie! Bake about 10-12 minutes at 425, lift out the foil by the four corners, and deposit it in a colander to cool. Leave the crust in the oven another 3-5 minutes or until golden.
|Save the beans for another pie making day. I've been using the same batch for at least 5 years.|
Perfect Cream Pie Filling
|The easiest way to separate eggs is to break them into your hand and let the white slip through your fingers. Save it for making meringue later.|
Now, you're ready to move the pan of soon-to-be creamy filling. Put it over a medium flame (or even a little lower if your burners tend to run high) and stir with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula. You must scrape the bottom steadily and keep it moving so it doesn't scorch. If you should feel anything sticking to the bottom of the pan, scorching is imminent, but the filling can still be rescued by quickly dumping it into a second pan and continuing on. Just don't scrape anything off the bottom that has already stuck there because it may taste disgusting. And don't crank that heat up any higher than medium even if you think nothing is happening in the pan. You will eventually see it start to thicken and finally a big bubble or two will pop on the surface. From that moment on, time it for 2 more minutes of cooking and you're done. It's not supposed to bubble and boil early in the process, only after about 15 minutes or so. As in the picture above, you can see a distinct path in the filling when you pull the spoon through it. Remove from heat and stir the butter, vanilla, and coconut in quickly, then fill the pie crust. This will continue to thicken and set up as it cools. If you can refrigerate it for a few hours before eating, it will set very nicely. We never manage to see that happen in my house.
Making Meringue that Doesn't Weep
Add 1/4 tsp CREAM of TARTAR (it's not the stuff Tartar Sauce is made of! This is just a stabilizer for the whites) and start whipping on medium until they whiten up a little then move the beater up to full blast and get them to a soft foam before adding the 1/2 CUP SUGAR in a steady pour as they whip. Now I'm going to show you in a picture how to tell when they're ready. NOT THIS:
|Still too soft to get a peak of whites to stand up when the whisk is raised. Keep going.|
Now plop it onto the pie in 3 or 4 big blops. Just press down with a flat spatula and push it all into place sealing it right up against the edge of the pie crust all around. This helps keep it from weeping as it cools. Don't lift the spatula as you move the meringue into place or you'll have a mess of mixed up meringue and pie filling.
|Add a few pretty swirls at the end and top with 1/3 CUP COCONUT. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes watching closely. Remove from oven as soon as coconut and meringue are slightly brown.|
THE SHOPPING LIST:
Sugar, 1 cup
Cornstarch, 1/4 cup
Milk, 3 cups whole
Butter, 3 Tbs
Vanilla. 2 Tbs
Coconut, 1-1/3 cup