Tuesday, January 3, 2012

the best cream pie you will ever eat. period.

This is the story about a cream pie to top all other cream pies. Bananas. Caramel. Coconut. Dark rum. And the pièce de résistance? Animal cracker crust. Behold the glory that is the Banana Caramel Coconut Cream Pie with Dark Rum.

Start with butter, unsweetened coconut, sugar, and animal crackers. 

Don't you just love animal crackers? They bring back so many good childhood memories and come in a box shaped like a circus car with a little handle. What's not to love? Especially when they are in a buttery pie crust?

The only part of the pie that is baked is the crust.

While it cools, make the simple caramel sauce. Just four ingredients total, but it's really the sugar and water that make the crazy transformation.

I tried to catch it as it changed from sugar water to caramel. Notice the color difference as it approaches "dark amber."

Because the dark amber comes at a moment's notice and will quickly lead to burnt caramel, I had to put the camera down after that last one. Add a pinch of salt and the cream to the pan, and after some furious bubbling, you get caramel. 

Add more butter, because, well, naturally.

And into the pie crust it goes. 

After the caramel cools off a little, you can add layer 3. Bananas, slightly underripe.

Next comes the coconut custard cream. Ingredients below, as well as a gratuitous egg shot and a shout out to Green Circle Farms for these amazingly beautiful eggs.

Notice the cream only uses the yolks. You could consider making meringue cookies or macaroons with the leftover whites. Start by making what looks like yellow paste with the cornstarch and egg yolks.

Here's where I missed a few photos, in making sure the heated ingredients didn't overflow on the stove. You heat coconut milk, sugar, milk, and coconut together and then whisk some of it into the egg mixture to temper it. (If you are me, you drip it down the side of the pot as well. Thanks to Amber for at least capturing this part of the process.)

Once it is tempered, you can whisk in the rest, and get a creamy yellow custard, to which you can add butter, vanilla, and dark rum, like this. Only it looks prettier in person and smells heavenly too.

Layer 4 complete.

At this point the pie goes in the fridge, with plastic wrap pressed down onto the custard. You make the last step (whipped cream topping with toasted coconut) when you are ready to serve the pie. Which in my case, was the next day. New Year's Day, to be exact. The first dessert of 2012.

Like any good, real whipped cream, mix it together in a bowl and beat it into submission.

Spread it on the top of the pie.

Add some toasted unsweetened coconut, and you have a pie.

Just looking at it again makes my stomach growl and my mouth dream of animal crackers and coconut.

I've heard from the people who ate this pie at Christmas and also those of us who had it again when I made it for New Year's, that it was the best cream pie in the history of cream pies. Anthony even unleashed his "this is delicious" face, reserved only for the most delectable of baked goods, which makes me quite proud, actually. I can't wait for another occasion to make someone's dessert dreams come true by making this pie.