Coconut Meets Key Lime in This Great-Anytime Pie
Before she started working on her dangly pearl line Yuun full-time, the Montreal jeweler Lina Hu had another sweet gig. “My friend (and food soulmate!) Erin and I started a pie company called Hopscotch, making sweet and savory pies. The company didn’t continue, but it really was one of my favorite projects ever,” she explains. Here, Lina shares one of her go-to recipes from the archives: “Classic coconut cream pie is already a dream, but we had the idea to add a bit of citrus tang to balance out the sweetness and give it a bit of sass! I’m crazy about custard and anything with tartness, so this pie is really my coup de coeur, as the French say. This isn’t a complicated recipe, but it is a multistep pie. Several of the steps can be done the day before,” she notes. Oh, and don’t worry—she’s baked in plenty of pro tips to make it, well, easy as pie.
Pie Dough (for two 9-inch crusts)
“Every good pie starts with a crust. I like mine to be crispy and flakey, but with a bit of chew in the middle and crunch around the edge. For the flakiest crust, it is important to keep everything cool and handle the crust as little as possible. I find it’s the easiest to use a food processor, but a whisk to mix the dry ingredients and a pastry blender to cut in the fat will work as well.”
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup butter, cut into ½-inch cubes and chilled in the freezer for 10 minutes
⅓ cup shortening, also chilled in the freezer for 10 minutes
1 cup water + 1 tablespoon vinegar (white or apple cider), in a measuring cup filled with ice
- Add the flour, salt, and sugar to the food processor and process for a couple of seconds to mix.
- Add the chilled butter and shortening to the food processor. Pulse until the fat is in pea-sized pieces.
- Add the cold water and vinegar in splashes while pulsing, until the dough just holds together. You won’t need to use all the water, and you do not want this to be too wet.
- Wrap the dough in Saran Wrap and flatten the ball a little. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour. You want the dough to really chill and for the fat to distribute and settle.
- Next, you need to blind-bake the crust. As this is an assembled pie, we want to fully bake the crust before adding all the filling—no soggy bottoms here!
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- A couple of hours before you want to assemble the pie, take out the dough. Divide it in half (save the other half for another pie, or bake little pie-crust twists with cinnamon, sugar, and butter!)
- Flour your work surface and rolling pin. Roll the dough out to fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Roll and crimp the edges of the pie—there are lots of tutorials online!
- Using a fork, poke holes here and there in the crust, about an inch apart, and then place it into the freezer to firm for at least half an hour. This step (and the next) prevents the crust edges from falling and shrinking.
- Take the chilled crust out and put in pie weights. You can also put a piece of aluminum or parchment on top of the crust and fill it with any kind of dried bean (chickpeas, black beans, etc.) you have on hand.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until the edges are just starting to brown.
- Remove the pie weights and aluminum or parchment and bake for about another 15 minutes until the crust is completely cooked and light golden brown.
- Allow the crust to completely cool before assembling.
Coconut and Lime Custard Filling
1 can coconut milk
1 can coconut cream
5 egg yolks
2 limes, juiced and zested
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract or the seeds of one vanilla bean
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Whisk coconut milk and cream, sugar, lime juice, and zest together in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
- In a bowl, beat the egg yolks and cornstarch together.
- When the coconut mixture in the pan is just about to reach a low boil, whisk a cupful of it into the bowl with the egg-yolk mix. Whisk the coconut mixture in the saucepan and add the tempered egg mix back in.
- Bring everything in the saucepan to a low boil, stirring every couple of minutes. When the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, take it off the heat.
- Whisk in the vanilla, coconut extract, and butter.
- Put into a bowl and lay Saran Wrap on top of it, in contact with the custard (this prevents a skin from forming). Refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.
Whipped Cream Topping
1 cup heavy cream (at least 35% fat)
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Unsweetened coconut chips and lime zest for garnish
- To guarantee the best whip possible, make sure the cream is very cold and also put your beater/whisk and metal bowl into the freezer for 10 min before whipping.
- Combine the cream, icing sugar, and vanilla and beat or whisk until peaks form.
Final Pie Assembly
- Spread the chilled custard into the cooled crust.
- Top with whipped cream.
- Sprinkle with toasted coconut and lime zest.