MAKES: 6 to 8 servings
TIME: About 1 hour with a prepared crust, plus time to chill
A twist on classic lemon meringue: Lighter than coconut cream pie, with a rich and creamy filling and a delicate topping. For something even lighter, try the fruit variation, which works for virtually any fruit, including berries.
Other crusts that are good in this recipe: Sweet Piecrust.
1 recipe Nut Piecrust, preferably made with grated coconut or macadamia nuts, in a 9- or 10-inch pie plate
13/4 cups coconut milk (to make your own, see Coconut Milk)
2 cups finely grated or shredded coconut
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
4 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
Bake the crust . Start the filling while the crust is in the oven. When the crust is done, leave the oven at 350В°F and cool the crust slightly on a rack.
Put the coconut milk and 13/4 cups of the coconut in a blender and pure until smooth; add a little water to help the machine run, but no more than 1/4 cup. (The mixture will still have bits of coconut in it, which is fine.) Put the pure, the sugar, and the salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until smooth and thick, 10 to 15 minutes.
While the filling is cooking, whisk the cornstarch with 1/4 cup water until smooth; beat in the egg yolks. When the coconut mixture is thick, whisk about 1/2 cup of it into the egg yolks. Immediately stir the egg yolk mixture back into the coconut mixture and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Let it boil for less than a minute, then turn off the heat and add the butter. Let the filling cool a bit before pouring it into the prepared crust.
Make the meringue: Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt, until foamy and turning white. Keep beating, gradually adding the confectioners sugar, until the mixture is shiny and holds medium-stiff peaks.
Pour the filling into the crust. Cover with the meringue, making sure the meringue comes in contact with the edges of the crust. Note that the meringue will hold its shape, so you can create swirls and peaks if you like. Sprinkle the top with the remaining coconut. Bake until the meringue is lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool on a rack, then refrigerate until set, at least a couple hours.
Apricot (or Virtually Any Fruit) Meringue Pie. Replace the coconut and coconut milk with 2 cups of any fruit pure. Combine it with the sugar in the saucepan in Step 2 and proceed with the recipe.