To my mind, one of the great flavor pairings–ever–is the combo of coconut and chocolate. I love everything about coconut’s tropical notes and everything about chocolate’s nutty and earthy ones, and when the two get together it is pretty special. Particularly in a pie – that feeds a crowd and does not require an oven. And I won’t lie: the other thing that I find pretty special is the New England Patriots being in the Super Bowl (sorry haters). So, this Sunday when watching the game with fellow fans, I will be serving this pie, as it is an excellent dessert to serve to a hungry and enthusiastic crowd. It is easy to throw together–though does require some advanced planning – and easily feeds up to 20 fans/folks. The pie is made in a 13x9x2-inch “brownie” pan (as some call it) and I love the rustic look of the tall, mile-high slices, as do most Pats fans…
To take a peek at the original blog post for my coconut chocolate pie for a crowd, and to peruse my collection of original recipes, click here.
For the crust
- 2 packages (18 ozs.) nabisco famous chocolate wafers, or any crispy chocolate wafer cookie
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and warm
For the pudding
- 1 2/3 cups sugar
- 2/3 cup corn starch
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
- 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temp
- 1 tsp coconut extract
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the Whipped Cream
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tsp coconut extract
- 3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut, toasted
TO MAKE THE CRUST
Grease a 13x9x2 pan (metal or glass – I never used glass, but I bet it would be awfully pretty).
Line with parchment (my paper extended up two sides of the pan). Grease again and set aside.
Process the wafers in a food processor until finely ground. Add the sugar and process until combined. Add the warm, melted butter and process until combined, again, scraping down the bowl of the processor as needed.
Transfer the finely ground wafers to the prepared pan and using your hands (or the back of a one cup dry measuring cup) press the wafer crumbs down into the bottom of the pan, creating a solid, flat block of crumbs covering the entire bottom of the pan. Place in the freezer for at least an hour.
TO MAKE THE PUDDING
In a medium to large pot, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt, and whisk until combined. Add the milk and heavy cream, and whisk again, then add the coconut milk and whisk. Add the beaten eggs and whisk. Add the shredded coconut and whisk a final time to ensure all of the ingredients are incorporated.
Transfer the pot to the stovetop and cook the pudding on medium to medium high heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens up considerably and bubbles begin spurting up all over the pudding’s surface. This can take up to 25 minutes, give or take.
Once the mixture bubbles, continue whisking for a minute or so more, and remove the pot from the heat. Add the butter and the two extracts, and whisk until combined.
Remove the frozen crust from the freezer, and pour the pudding over the crust, using a rubber spatula to scrape the pudding from the pot. Use an offset spatula to smooth the pudding surface and cover it with a sheet of plastic wrap (the wrap should touch the pudding’s surface) and place in the fridge for 2 to 4 hours (3 might be the golden number – essentially your pudding will be cold to the touch and quite firm when it is ready).
TO MAKE THE WHIPPED CREAM
After your pie has fully set up in the fridge, combine the cream, confectioners’ sugar and extract in the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, and whisk on medium to medium-high speed, until the cream is quite stiff (obviously you do not want to curdle your cream, or turn it into butter, but it is okay to whisk it just a tad more than you might think necessary).
Remove the plastic wrap from the pudding and cover its surface with the whipped cream, using an offset spatula to smooth the cream into an even layer. Sprinkle the toasted coconut on top of the cream and using a sharp paring knife, or something larger, and a spatula, cut the pie into squares and serve. The pie will keep in the refrigerator, wrapped loosely in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days.
Plan ahead: the crust must be frozen for at least an hour, the pudding can take up to 30 minutes of stirring (depending on how high a flame you use) before it is ready, and, once assembled, the pie must rest in the fridge for about 4 hours (give or take).
Whisk the pudding constantly: it is super important to whisk the pudding for the entire time you are cooking it, or it will burn. This might seem like overkill: trust me, it is not.
To toast coconut: place the coconut on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven (I used my toaster-oven) and toast the coconut for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring the coconut every 5 minutes or so, and rotating the pan, to prevent burning, until the coconut is evenly browned
Serving the pie: removing the first slice of pie can be a bit daunting, but after slicing the piece with your knife, use your spatula (and fingers) to lift the piece from the pan. After you have removed the first slice, the rest will be easy.