Coconut Chess Pie


This week I’m paying homage to my love for the South with a bit of a twist. You see I lived in Tennessee for a little over a year and I fell in love with the culture and the people. It’s a beautiful part of the States and I miss it everyday. Although, I must say, that whole winter mess is not my thing.

When I found this recipe I knew I had to make it for my mom. Her birthday is at the end of the month and she LOVES coconut. Plus, I had all the ingredients in my pantry which made choosing this recipe a no brainer.

Now, traditional chess pies are made with milk but this recipe uses coconut milk instead.

For the crust I made a simple butter pie crust. You only need to make had of a typical recipe which usually makes a double crust. You can use your favorite but here’s the recipe that I used.

Single Crust Pie Dough:
1 1/4 Cup Flour
1/2 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup (1 stick) well-chilled Butter

Fill a liquid measuring cup with about a cup of water. Place it in the freezer to chill as you combine your other ingredients. You won’t need to use the full cup but it’s always best to have a little more than what’s needed.

In a large bowl, combing the flour, sugar and salt. Cut the butter into 1/2 in pieces. Let them fall into the flour and toss them to cover each piece with flour.

Scoop the butter and flour into your fingers and rub the butter into the flour whilst letting it fall back into the bowl. Simply repeat using only your fingers until it is all incorporated. The mixture should be slightly yellow with the larger pieces of butter no bigger than almond size. The smaller pieces should look like cornmeal.

At this point, take the water out of the freezer. Pour it slowly in a spiral stream for 5 seconds. Toss the dough to incorporate the water. The dough will be shaggy and a bit sticky. You may need to add a little more water. You should be able to gather the dough into a small ball, gently toss it in the air and let it land in the palm of your hand. If the ball stays together it is ready. If it happens to crumble, add a touch more water and toss.

Once ready, gather the dough into a ball. Form the ball into a thick disk and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. You’ll want to refrigerate the dough for at least an hour. You can keep it in the fridge for about 3 days or keep in the freezer for about a month.




For the Filling:
3 Eggs
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Coconut Milk
1 Cup Unsweetened Flaked Coconut
1/3 Cup Butter, melted
1/2 Cup Toasted Unsweetened Flaked Coconut

Roll out your pie dough and place it in a 9-inch pie plate. Trim the edges, tuck them under and fold the edge into a ridge. Place the crust in the freezer whilst you prepare the filling.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Using an electric hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar for about 2 minutes on medium speed. The eggs should a little frothy. Stir in the coconut milk, the 1st Cup of the coconut flakes, the butter and salt. Pour the mixture into the crust. Bake for 1 hour until the center is a bit soft and the edges are firm.

(If top gets too brown, you can cover it with some foil. It should be a toasty brown, not burnt.)

Allow the pie to cool completely for at least a few hours. Sprinkle the toasted coconut flakes over the pie before serving. (You can toast the flaked coconut in the oven or do right on the stovetop in a pan. I did mine on the stovetop, simply by placing the coconut flakes in the pan on medium heat, continually stirring as to not burn the flakes. Once they start to brown, take them off and let them cool). The pie can be served right at room temperature or even chilled.




Recipe from Kate Lebo’s ‘Pie School’.


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