Pie-a-Day #25: Chocolate Coconut Pie

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Rose LeBoeuf runs LA Food Works, which holds interactive culinary team building and private cooking events. She is also the mother of three hungry teenagers.

Chocolate Coconut Pie

When it comes to dessert, I am of the ilk that you need to either go big or go home!  None of that subtle “light as air stuff”.  If I’m going to eat dessert, it better be worth the calories! So when I was asked to bake for Good Food’s Pie-a-Day Project, I wanted to make something unique that would satisfy my sweet tooth.  I thought about my favorite sweet combination and immediately an Almond Joy came to mind.

What I love most about an Almond Joy bar is how distinctly the coconut contrasts with rich dark chocolate.  I found it quite challenging putting these flavors in pie form. I needed to get just the right amount of chocolate ganache filling without overpowering the coconut cream topping.  The pie also need a crunchy, salty, roasted almond crust.  After many trials, I came up with the recipe below.  It takes a while to make but to combine the three elements, there is really no way around it.

I loved creating this recipe.  It is a real departure from my normal cooking activities.  As a working mother of three, I’m usually on the go and preparing food that is quick to make and palatable for everyone.  When doing my cooking parties and classes, the dishes we prepare need to be prepared and finished in 60 to 90 minutes, there is never much time for chilling.  Taking the time to create this dish, has been a real labor of love and a family affair.  My children have been my tasters and my daughter my photographer.  She says it’s the best dessert she’s ever eaten, and she swears she not saying it just because I’m her mom!  An added bonus to this dessert…It’s gluten free!

Chocolate Coconut Pie with Almond Crust

For the Crust:
1¼ cup almonds, toasted
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
3 Tablespoons brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp almond extract

For Chocolate Filling:
½ cup of heavy cream
1/3 cup sugar
5 oz dark chocolate, 54%, finely chopped
1 egg, slightly beaten

For Coconut Topping:
1½ cups coconut cream or premium coconut milk
2 egg yolks
½ cup sugar
2 Tablespoons corn flour, dissolved in 2 Tbs water
¼ tsp salt
1 cup flaked coconut

For Garnish:
Whipped Cream
Flaked Coconut (toasted if desired)
Shaved Chocolate

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the crust:  Ground toasted almonds in a food processor until finely minced, but not into a fine meal (you want to have some larger chunks).  Combine the almonds with the rest of the crust ingredients to form a sticky dough.  With moistened fingers, press the dough into a 9” glass pie plate pressing the almond mixture as far up the sides as possible.

Line the almond crusted plate with foil then fill with dried beans to “blind bake” the crust.  This will keep the mixture from sliding back down the sides when it gets hot.  Blind bake the crust, on the middle oven rack, for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the chocolate filling.  In a sauce pan, heat cream and sugar until just hot.  Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until fully incorporated and smooth.

Just before the crust has finished its blind bake, quickly whisk the egg into the chocolate mixture.

Remove the crust from the oven and remove the foil and beans.  Fill the bottom of the crust with the chocolate and return the pie to the oven.  Bake an additional 10 to 12 minutes, or just until the filling begins to set around the edges but the center is still slightly liquid.

Remove the pie from oven and let cool for 15-20 minutes.  Then place in refrigerator and let chill at least 2 hours or overnight, until chocolate has set.

For coconut topping: In a medium sauce pan, combine coconut cream, egg yolks, sugar, corn flour mixture and salt.  Stir constantly until the ingredients start to boil then become the consistency of pudding.  Remove from heat and let cool about 10 minutes.  Stir in flaked coconut then pour over chocolate mixture and almond pie shell.  Chill again for at least another two hours.

For Garnish:  The yolks in the coconut custard turned it a bit yellow, so I like to top it with a thin layer of whipped cream so it looks bright white like the Almond Joy coconut. This is not necessary for taste, but just cosmetics.  Spread whipped cream gently over coconut cream, then sprinkle with flaked coconut and shaved chocolate.