4 Coconut Cream Pie

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This is a tiny bit labor intensive, but it is soooo worth it. There is coconut in every single part of the pie, from the crust to the whipped cream. This recipe is adapted from a recipe that Foodista had on her blog a while back. This pie was raved about by everyone that came anywhere near it. It is also not something I would suggest eating on a regular basis as it is "a wee bit" heavy.


For The Coconut Pastry Cream
2 cups milk 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 1/2 tsp high quality vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

For the Piecrust
1 package coconut bar cookies
1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup shredded coconut
2 teaspoons sugar
1-5 tablespoons of cold water

For the Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1/2 cup creme de coconut (often found on the Mexican aisle)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For Garnish
2 ounces unsweetened "chip" or large-shred coconut (about 11/2 cups) or sweetened shredded coconut

Instructions :
1. To make piecrust, begin by putting 1/2 package of coconut cookies, coconut, butter, and sugar into food processor and blending until well combined and crumbly. If mixture does not seem to be wet enough add water 1 tablespoon at a time. Then remove mixture and press into pie plate. Crimp edges with fingers for design or leave with no design. Cover with foil. Put in 400 degree preheated oven. Cook for 10-12 minutes to dry and form. Remove foil from pie crust and cook additional 3-5 minutes to crisp.

2. To make the pastry cream, combine the milk, coconut, and vanilla extract in a medium saucepan. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and stir occasionally until the mixture almost comes to a boil.

3. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and flour until well combined. Temper the eggs (to keep them from scrambling) by slowly pouring a small amount of the scalded milk into the egg mixture while whisking. Then add the warmed egg mixture to the saucepan of milk and coconut. Whisk over medium-high heat until the pastry cream thickens and begins to bubble. Keep whisking until the mixture is very thick, 4 to 5 minutes more. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the butter and whisk until it melts. Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and place it over a bowl of ice water. Stir occasionally until it is cool. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a crust from forming and refrigerate until completely cold. The pastry cream will thicken as it cools.

4. When the pastry cream is cold, fill the prebaked pie shell with it, smoothing the surface. In an electric mixer with the whisk, whip the heavy cream, coconut cream, sugar and vanilla on medium speed. Gradually increase the speed to high and whip to peaks that are firm enough to hold their shape. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip with the whipped cream and pipe it all over the surface of the pie, or just use a spoon and scoop onto pie.

5. For the garnish, preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the coconut chips on a baking sheet and toast in the oven, watching carefully and stirring once or twice, since coconut burns easily, until lightly browned, 7 to 8 minutes. 6. Enjoy!!!!

Tortellini Soup

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Tortellini Soup
Super simple dinner last night at my house! Tortellini soup was a winner, for sure! The kid, the mother-in-law, and the wife loved it!!! I could barely taste it because I have a bad head cold, but whatever! I am having it for lunch today because my nose is finally clearing up and out!!!

Tortellini Soup (Warning - not very complicated AT ALL)

1 package fresh (or dried - I use fresh) tortellini
6 cups chicken and/or vegetable stock
lots of spinach
1 package of chicken sausage
2 tomatoes - diced (I used fresh - you could use a can)
1 bag frozen corn (would be really good with fresh - can use can {teeheehee} corn)

Crumble sausage into large chunks and cook in skillet till done.
Heat stock in a large pot till almost boiling.
Add tortellini and sausage to the pot. Cook together for 10 minutes.
Add tomatoes and corn and spinach. Cook for 5 more minutes until pasta is done.


(Add some parmesan cheese to the top if you please - it'll be THAT much better!!!)

Molasses Spice Cookies

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These were MY favorite cookie in the cookie tin this year. These were heavenly. The use of fresh ginger was AMAZING. These were chewy, yet crispy, and delicious.

Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies

2 c unbleached flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tsp saigon cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp FRESH (or crystallized) ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 c sugar
3/4 c unsalted butter, room temp
1 large egg
1/4 c molasses (get the good stuff - SUPER IMPORTANT)
1/2 c sugar for rolling (optional - but highly suggested)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, and salt
Mix butter and sugar until combined. Add in egg and molasses and beat until combined.
Slowly add in dry ingredients, in several additions, just until combined.
Roll tablespoon sized dollops of dough into small balls.
Roll in sugar to coat.
Bake 10-15 minutes. Cookies will spread. Should be dark on dges and beautiful golden brown in the middle.

Hot Cocoa Cookies

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These were THE hit of Cookiepalooza 2010. Seriously!! How can you ever beat a cookie that tastes like a steaming cup of hot cocoa? This recipe was adapted a *VERY* little bit from Jessica over at How Sweet It Is!! It makes QUITE a few cookies. I made a double batch. :)

Note: I did not have much success with PRETTY cookies at first. It took me several batches to be able to get really pretty cookies. To me, the key was DEFINITELY to let them chill (as were her instructions), but also to have COLD cookie dough on a COLD pan. Oh, and parchment paper is your friend. SERIOUSLY!

So...on to the cookies. :)

Hot Cocoa Cookies
makes approximately 24 cookies

1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup marshmallow fluff
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 325.

Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until fluffy.
Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and mix until combined. Stir in marshmallow fluff.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Cover dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Remove, and form into 1 inch balls AROUND 1 (or 2) marshmallows.
Bake at 325for 10-12 minutes.
Cookies may look very doughy and will be very sticky because of all the fluff.
Allow cookies to cool completely, even sticking them in the fridge for 15 minutes before removing from the baking sheet with the thinnest spatula in your kitchen.
Let cookies rest for another half hour (if they make it that long) before packaging in air tight container with parchment paper between each layer.