This week on the show, Evan talks with Roxana Jullapat, pastry chef and co-owner at Cook’s County. Roxana tells Evan that her new favorite ingredient is dehydrated coconut powder, which you can buy in Thai markets. (Read the labels to find one without too many additives.)
She describes how to use the powder in recipes like this Coconut Cream Pie with Peanut Butter Cookie Crumb Crust.
It took me many trials to develop a coconut cream pie recipe I could live with, but I finally did it. The filling is a basic pastry cream flavored with coconut, and what I like the most about it is that it tastes really good in combination with other flavors, hence my decision to make it with a peanut butter cookie crumb crust. Next time you make a banana cream pie, follow this recipe; just place a layer of thinly sliced bananas at the bottom. It’s delicious all on its own, but try serving it with a drizzle of chocolate sauce.
Makes one 9-inch pie.
For the cookie crumb crust
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup peanut butter
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the coconut filling
3 sheets gelatin
6 egg yolks
9 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
9 tablespoons dehydrated coconut powder (available in Thai markets)
3 cups milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup shredded sweetened coconut
Start with the cookie crumb crust. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place an oven rack on the middle position of the oven.
Cream ¼ cup of the butter and all the peanut butter in the stand up mixer set with the paddle attachment until it looks like a uniform mass. Add the sugars and mix to combine for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla extract, and mix further. Add the remaining dry ingredients at once, and mix until dough comes together.
Shape dough into 12 to 15 balls similar in size. Place each ball on a cookie tray, about 1½-inches from each other. With the palm of your hand, flatten the balls. Since the goal is to turn the cookies into crumbs, don’t worry too much if the cookies are close to each other or if they don’t look too pretty.
Bake the cookies for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are really golden around the edges. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
Grind the cookies in the food processor until they resemble a fine meal.
Place 1 ½ cups of the crumbs in a mixing bowl and store the remainder in an airtight container to be used in the future (cookie crumbs will keep for up to 3 weeks if kept at room temperature). Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, add to the crumbs and mix with a wooden spoon until all the crumbs feel a bit moistened. Lightly coat the surface of a 9-inch pie pan with non-stick spray, transfer the crumbs to the pie pan, and press them with your fingers all around the sides and the bottom until the entire surface is covered. You may use the bottom of a glass as an aid to press the crumbs tightly against the pie pan.
Place the pie pan on a baking sheet, and bake the crust for 7 to 10 minutes or until the crumbs start to smell toasty. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
Before making the filling, make sure all your ingredients have been properly measured and all your equipment is handy.
Start by softening the gelatin sheets in a bowl filled with iced water. Set the bowl aside.
Place the egg yolks into a mixing bowl. Sift together half the sugar with the cornstarch over the yolks and whisk vigorously to combine.
In a medium pot, whisk together the milk, coconut powder and the rest of the sugar and bring up to a boil while whisking periodically. Take off the heat. Temper the yolk mixture with the coconut milk by whisking the hot liquid into the yolks a ladleful at a time. Put the resulting cream back in the pot, and cook over medium heat until it thickens, stirring non-stop with a wooden spoon. When the spoon leaves a trace at the bottom of the pot, the cream is ready. Remove from the heat.
Add the butter, vanilla extract and coconut to the pot, and mix to combine. Take the softened gelatin sheets from the iced water, pad them dry with a kitchen towel and add to the cream. Stir to help the gelatin dissolve into the cream. Quickly pour the coconut cream while still warm into the prepared pie crust. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve chilled with a dollop of whip cream and additional toasted coconut if desired.