Dahlia Triple Coconut Cream Pie

February 8, 2014 at 2:35 pm | Posted in pies & tarts, sweet things | 13 Comments
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dahlia triple coconut cream pie

I grew up in Virginia.  Just as soon as I moved up to Boston for college, my family moved out to Seattle.  I go visit once or twice a year (I was just there a couple of weeks ago, in fact), so have a fondness for Seattle.  Being a born Southerner, I also have a fondness coconut and for cream pies, and, interestingly enough, Seattle has a legendary combo of the two– Dahlia Bakery’s (and Lounge’s) Triple Coconut Cream Pie.  It is dangerously good, and I’ve been holding off making it at home until I had a real excuse.  The Seahawks’ Sunday performance was good enough for me.

This pie has a coconut crust, a coconut filling and toasted coconut on top…hence the whole “triple” thing.  You’ll notice the recipe instructions are…ummm….lengthy.  Nothing’s hard, though, especially if you break it up a bit.  With a multi-step pie like this, I like to get ready the day before by processing my crust, letting it chill a bit and then getting it in the pan.  That way it can really set in the fridge overnight, which not only helps it hold a better crimp while baking, but it means a lot less work the following day.  Another crusty trick I have up my sleeve is that after the crust is fully baked, but still piping hot, I paint a touch of egg white on the bottom.  It gives it a little barrier of protection from the soft filling and helps keep it crisp.  Usually the residual heat coming off the pie shell will set the egg white straight away, but you can always pop it back in the oven for about a minute to make sure.  You can also make the coconut pastry cream a day ahead if you’d like…just keep it airtight in the fridge overnight with some plastic wrap pressed on the surface.

This coco pie is soft but crisp, rich but light.  It’s no wonder, really, that Dahlia has sold something like 350,000 of these things.

dahlia triple coconut cream pie

Dahlia Triple Coconut Cream Pie– makes a 9-inch pie
adapted from The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook: Sweetness in Seattle by Tom Douglas and Shelley Lance

for the coconut pastry dough–makes a 9-inch piecrust

Steph’s Notes: The crust must be baked and cooled before you can fill your pie. If you’d like, you can “seal” the bottom your just-out-of-the-oven hot crust with a little thinly brushed on egg white…this will help keep it crisp when it’s filled.  I also like to go ahead and toast the coconut chips for garnish while I have the oven on during this step.  400° is a little high for coconut, so I do this while the oven is coming up to temp or after I’ve turned it off and it’s coming back down (watching closely so it doesn’t burn).

1 cup plus 2 tbsp flour (165 g), plus extra for rolling dough
1/2 cup (50 g) shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 cup (113 g or 1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup (75 g) ice-cold water, or more as needed

-In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine flour, coconut, sugar and salt and pulse two or three times to combine.  Add the diced butter and pulse to form coarse crumbs.  Gradually add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing each time.  Use only as much water as needed for the dough to hold together when pressed gently between your fingers (don’t work dough with your hands, just test to see if it is holding).  The dough will not form a ball or even clump together in the processor, it will be quite loose.

-Place a large sheet of plastic wrap on the counter and dump the coconut dough onto it.  Pull plastic wrap around dough, forcing it into a rough flattened round with the pressure of the plastic wrap.  Refrigerate 30 to 60 minutes before rolling.

-When ready to roll dough, unwrap round of coconut dough and place it on a lightly floured board.  Flour rolling pin and your hands. Roll out dough in a circle about 1/8-inch thick.  Occasionally lift dough with a bench knife or scraper to check that it is not sticking, and add more flour if it seems like it’s about to stick.  Trim to a 12- to 13-inch round.   Transfer rolled dough to a 9-inch pie pan.  Ease dough loosely and gently into pan.  You don’t want to stretch dough at his point, because it will shrink when it is baked.

-Trim any excess dough to 1- to 11/2-inch overhang.  Turn dough under along rim of pie pan and use your fingers and thumb to flute the edge.  Dock the bottom of the shell with a fork.  Refrigerate unbaked pie shell for at least 1 hour before baking (this prevents the dough from shrinking in the oven).

-When ready to bake piecrust, preheat oven to 400°F.  Place a piece of parchment in pie shell, with sides overhanging the pan, and fill with dried beans or wieghts (this prevents the bottom of the shell from puffing up during baking).  Bake piecrust for 20 to 25 minutes, or until pastry rim is golden.  Remove pie pan from oven.  Remove paper and beans and return piecrust to oven.  Bake for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, or until bottom of crust has golden brown patches. Remove from oven and allow pie shell to cool completely.

for the coconut pastry cream:

1 cup (230 g) milk
1 cup (230 g) canned unsweetened coconut milk, stirred
2 cups (170 g) shredded sweetened coconut
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
2 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. (125 g) sugar
3 tbsp. (26 g) AP flour
4 tbsp. (57 g or 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

- In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine milk, coconut milk and shredded coconut.  Using a paring knife, scrape seeds from vanilla bean and add both scrapings and pod to milk mixture.  Stir occasionally until mixture almost comes to a boil.

-In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar and flour until well combined.  Temper eggs by pouring a small amount (about 1/3 cup) of scalded milk into egg mixture while whisking.  Then add warmed egg mixture to saucepan of milk and coconut. Whisk over medium-high heat until pastry cream thickens and begins to bubble. Keep whisking until mixture is very thick, 4 to 5 minutes more.  Remove saucepan from heat. Add butter and whisk until it melts.  Remove and discard vanilla pod.

-Transfer pastry cream to a bowl and place it over another bowl of ice water.  Stir occasionally until pastry cream is cool.  Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on surface of pastry cream (to prevent a skin from forming) and refrigerate until completely cold.  The pastry cream will continue to thicken as it cools.

for the whipped cream topping:

Steph’s Notes:  This is a ton of whipped cream!  If you’d like to be a little less extravagant here, cut it in half and you’ll still have plenty of topping.

2 1/2 cups (600 g) heavy cream, chilled
1/3 cup (63 g) sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

-In an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip heavy cream with sugar and vanilla extract to peaks that are firm enough to hold their shape.

for the garnish:

2 oz (57 g) unsweetened chip or large-shred coconut (about 1 1/2 cups), or shredded sweetened coconut (about 2/3 cup)
a chunk of white chocolate (4-6 oz ,to make 2 oz of curls)

-Preheat oven to 350°.  Spread unsweetened coconut chips (or large-shred coconut, or sweetened shredded coconut) on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 7 to 8 minutes, watching carefully (coconut burns easily) and stirring once or twice until lightly browned.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

to finish the pie:

-When pastry cream is cold, fill pastry shell, smoothing the surface with a rubber spatula.

-Transfer whipped cream to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe it all over the surface of the pie (or just mound it on top and swirl with a spoon).

-Sprinkle toasted coconut over top of pie.  Use a vegetable peeler to scrape about 2 ounces of white chocolate curls on top of the pie (or you can cut pie into wedges, garnish each wedge individually on the plate) and serve.

-Store the pie in the refrigerator.

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13 Comments »

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  1. That looks so delicious!

  2. Wow, that is quite a recipe, but the results definitely look like they are worth it. Love coconut anything. I also use the egg white on crust trick, it’s a handy tip!

  3. I am definitely going to try this….looks like it takes a bit of work but it looks so worth it!

  4. I’ve been to Seattle twice and am hopefully going back next year. I had a slice of this pie at Etta’s near Pike Place Market. It tasted really good. Now I have a recipe with which to make it. This is great!

  5. Wow this looks amazing!

  6. Coconut Cream Pie is one of my favorite desserts…I hardly ever make one because I am like an addict! I must keep eating it! I do love your recipe very much and am filing it away for when the craving begins. Well done.

  7. OMG… yummy.

  8. Looks delicioius!!!!

  9. Coconut cream pie is my favorite. But, I live in a house of coconut haters. Therefore, I never get to have it. This one looks especially fab with the thick strips of coconut on top. Lovely!

  10. This looks so yummy!

  11. I adore coconut… this looks just too good to be true. Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Va va voom! Yum!

  13. Such an excellent recipe, thanks for sharing. It was a hit with my coconut-lover friends!


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