I am not really sure why Mr. R put coconut pie on our list. Perhaps he likes a challenge? And I must admit, the creation process was kind of fun — it’s not often that I make recipes that recommend use of a machete and/or hammer. But I suppose this series wouldn’t be complete without at least one disaster. And here it is.
We were insistent on using fresh coconut, as the pre-shredded kind can be laden with all sorts of preservatives and “enhancers.” At the grocery store, we searched unsuccessfully for the hard, brown coconuts one usually imagines. But I did notice these weird, conical, white things labeled as coconuts, and added one to our cart. What I didn’t know at the time was that this was actually a young coconut — a coconut harvested before it is ripe, primarily for its water, which allegedly holds all sorts of homeopathic health benefits. As the coconut ripens, this water will transform to the meat we all recognize, but young coconuts have only a small amount of meat that is more gelatinous in texture.
So this is what I had to work with. And it first begs the question: how the heck do you open this thing?
A little bit of googling later, it was determined that the best approach would be to hack off the top using a chef’s knife and a hammer, and then carefully pour out the water.
Keep cutting away until you are able to wedge out the top. Drain the water. You can drink it if you want to…but I thought it was kind of gross! Probably should have recognized this as a sign…
With young coconuts, the meat came out very easily with a spoon. I am guessing it is a bit more difficult with a mature coconut? You may need to use a knife or a vegetable peeler.
We followed the following recipe, again adapted from Bill Neal’s Biscuits, Spoonbread and Sweet Potato Pie.
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup fresh grated cocnut
2 tablespoons white rum
1 partially baked pie shell
Combine all the ingredients for the filling and beat well by hand. Pour into a partially baked shell and bake for about 40-50 minutes, until center is set. Do not allow it to puff up excessively.
When this first came out of the oven, I was already hesitant. It had an unappealing gelatinous texture. And let’s just say it did not smell even vaguely of what I think of as coconut.
We had been planning to bring it to a party, but wasn’t sure I was willing to subject others to this, uh, “pie.” A few of us sliced some samples.
I took one bite and almost had to spit it out.
One member of the family, however enjoyed it: the dog. She somehow managed to pull it off the counter in the middle of the night and ate every last bit of the filling, leaving the crust intact. Luckily, she hasn’t gotten sick and I guess we don’t have to worry about what we are going to do with this monstrosity!
I am sure that our use of young coconut had a lot to do with the failure of this recipe. Maybe I would try it again with real coconuts. But I am not in any rush. Thankfully there is no shortage of delicious pie in our household right now!