Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Coconut Cream Pie Bars

My dad's birthday was this last week and I asked him what he wanted me to make for his birthday cake. Do you want to know what he said? "Nothing." Whaaaaat? Nothing? That isn't even a concept for me. No cake for your birthday? He said it's because he's trying to eat healthy. Meh, it's your birthday. There is no healthy eating on your birthday! I told him that I'd find something "healthy" for him and almost made a carrot-zucchini cake for him. And then I found this baby on Pinterest (uh, love that site). So we went from "healthy" to "totally not healthy" in the span of 30 seconds. But my dad loooooves coconut cream pie so I knew no matter what diet he was on, he would eat a piece. I'm a diet killer.

Just a quick note- the original recipe on the website shows this as a regular ol' pie. Please, if you want to make it into a pie, go for it. I liked the idea of bars, especially because these were feeding a crowd. Instead of putting the crust into a 9x13 dish, roll it out into a circle and place in a pie pan, crimp the edges and follow the directions from there (or you can cheat like I always do I buy a Pillsbury crust!)
Mmmm... it's seriously as good as it looks!
Combine the milk and egg together well on the stovetop. You don't want the egg to heat up and scramble :)
Add your cornstarch (NOT FLOUR. I can not stress this enough!)
And let me tell you, before you spread the vanilla coconut pudding onto the crust, please taste it. You will thank me later. It's that good.
Look at those yummy layers and crunchy toasted coconut on top!

Coconut Cream Pie Bars
Girls in Aprons, from Dough Puncher

For the Crust:1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cups shortening
5-7 Tbs. cold water

1) Cut shortening into flour, until shortening is in pea-sized pieces. Stir in water as needed, until just combined (mine used all 7 Tbs of water, you'll know if it's too dry)
2) Roll out on a floured surface, into a rough rectangle. Place in a 9x13 pan and spread out the dough with your hands until it reaches the edges and is even. Prick the dough with tines of a doek. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden. Let cool. (Or place in a 9-inch pie plate. Crimp edges and bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until lightly golden)

For the Vanilla Coconut Pudding:
2 2/3 cups whole milk
1 egg
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch (don't do the flour substitute, just use cornstarch)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cups sweetened, flake coconut

1) In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk and egg well (so they are COMPLETELY incorporated). Add the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Cook over medium heat, whisking often, until thickened (this took me about 10 minutes or so, just make sure you stir a lot so it doesn't burn or lump). Remove from heat and add vanilla. Stir in coconut. Pour into cooled crust. Place in refrigerator for a few hours, or until chilled.

For the Whipped Cream and Topping:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 T. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup coconut

1) Combine cream, sugar, and vanilla. Whip until light and fluffy. Spread on top of chilled pie.
2) Spread coconut on a pan. In a 350 oven, toast for about 2-4 minutes, until lightly golden. Sprinkle evenly on top of the pie.

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