We lived several hundred miles away from our families then, and there was no internet to search or YouTube to watch, so I relied on the one cookbook that I had received as a wedding gift. I studied that cookbook, and I still refer back to it today. My recipe for today's Coconut Cream Pie comes from that reliable old cookbook, my Better Homes Cookbook. The copyright date in my cookbook is 1965.
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups coconut, divided
1 (9-inch) baked pastry shell
In a double boiler, combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt; gradually stir in milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens. Cook 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat.
Stir a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks; return to hot mixture; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat. Add butter and vanilla; mix well. Stir in 1 cup coconut; cool to room temperature. (To prevent a crust from forming, put clear plastic wrap directly on top, touching surface of the hot pudding across to the sides of pan. When cooled pour into baked pastry shell.
3 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
Beat egg whites with cream of tartar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Spread atop pie sealing to pastry. Sprinkle top of meringue with 1/3 cup coconut. Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for 12 - 15 minutes or until meringue is golden.
In my opinion, a double boiler is an important tool for making a cream pie. It's just too easy to stick and scorch the cream filling in a regular saucepan.
Slightly beat the egg yolks, but don't add them to the mixture until you have mixed some of the hot mixture in with them.
Stir some of the hot mixture in with the egg yolks before mixing the egg yolks into the whole batch. Cook for 2 minutes longer after adding the egg yolks.
Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla; . . .
Pour filling into prepared pastry shell.
Spread meringue to edges to seal and sprinkle with 1/3 cup coconut.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 - 15 minutes; set your timer so you don't over brown.
Coconut Cream is my husband's favorite pie . . .
. . . so I should give this first slice to him.