Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Better Coconut Cream Pie

So, I've been trying to cut my dairy, sugar, and refined flour intake, and I've been pretty good about it.  It also hasn't been as hard as I thought it would be.  But every now and again, I've been called upon to make desserts, like when I recently hosted a Mary Kay party. Now, I guess I didn't HAVE to make desserts (not too many people ended up eating them anyway), but as a hostess, I feel like I need to provide something.  I guess I also don't have to eat what I make for guests, but that just seems kind of rude, plus I have to make sure any experiments on my part will be edible, right?

Anyway, I had an idea for a coconut pie using some leftover crumbs from my initial Heavenly Bar debacle  experiment. I was thinking a coconut cream pie would taste really good using a chocolate-y crust, but I was trying to figure out how to make a cream pie without actually using cream or milk.  Then I found a coconut-flavored yogurt made from almond milk.  Cool!  Unfortunately, I never did find dairy-free Cool Whip (or any non-dairy whipped topping).  Am I wrong, or did they used to make non-dairy whipped topping at some point?  Regardless, I couldn't find it, so I almost got dairy-free (although I used butter in the crust, you could totally use coconut oil).   I actually prefer this version over the traditional, because: a) it's not super sweet; b) it's got a nice coconut flavor throughout; and c) it still has chocolate.  Win-win-win!

To make it gluten-free, you could substitute almond meal for the cracker crumbs and still have a tasty crust.  Give it a shot -- if you end up tweaking this, please feel free to post your results here!

Chocolate Almond Coconut Cream Pie

 Crust (adapted from the crust from my Heavenly Bars post):

1/3 cup butter (or substitute coconut oil)
1/2 cup sugar
6 tsp cocoa
1 egg, slightly beaten
15 (double) graham crackers, crushed fine
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 cup coconut (you can use sweetened or unsweetened -- I've used both and it's all tasty)
1/2 cup slivered almonds, chopped fine

For the crust: blend butter, sugar, cocoa and egg in the top of a double boiler set over warm water. Stir until combined. Continue stirring over the hot water until warm and thick (you want to heat the mixture because of the egg, but not too much heat too fast, or the egg will cook and separate).  Take chocolate mixture off heat and add the crushed graham crackers, vanilla, coconut and nuts.  Pat into a 9-in pie pan (you might have some crumb mixture left over -- you can decide how thick you want the crust).  Chill crust while you make the pie filling.


1 6oz. cup of coconut-flavored yogurt (I used Amande brand, found in Wegman's natural foods section)
1 small package of vanilla instant pudding, made with almond milk (use the pie filling method)
1 can unsweetened coconut milk (DO NOT shake the can to blend the cream from the liquid)
1 8oz tub of non-dairy whipped topping (if you can find it) or Cool Whip

In a medium bowl, combine all of the yogurt, 1 cup of the vanilla pudding filling (reserve the rest to use for something else -- or give to the kids to eat).  After you gently open the can of coconut milk (remember, you're trying not to shake it), carefully scoop out the thick, creamy stuff on top (I ended up scraping off a little bit layer by layer), then add to the yogurt/pudding mixture.  Stir to combine.  To that mixture, fold in about a cup of the whipped topping. Pour filling into the chilled crust.  Put back in the fridge to set up (at least 30 minutes, but I covered mine with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight.

Toppings (optional):

1/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds, lightly toasted
1/3 cup toasted coconut
chocolate sauce (you can use my Decadent Dark Chocolate Sauce, made with coconut milk, or your favorite recipe)

To serve:

Spread the rest of the whipped topping over the pie filling, then sprinkle with almonds and coconut.  Drizzle slices with chocolate sauce and serve.

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