Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fresh Coconut Pie


I think my grandma ought to be pretty proud that I actually started from fresh coconut. Bet she never did THAT in 1955!

In fact, my grandmother and her two sisters are quite the funny threesome. I could write a book about them.
For Real.

Most of the stories they tell are the same stories told over and over again, but all three of them are such great story tellers, they get better and better each time.

Of course you would know there is a coconut story. Not coconut pie, but about coconut cake.
Funny, nonetheless.

The three sisters, like many families in Central Texas at the time, farmed cotton and other crops. Even as young as 5 and 6, Great Grandma Pavelka would have all 3 of those girls out their helping with the harvest. If you’ve never seen a cotton sack, they look like giant pillow cases, sometimes 4 or 5 feet long, with a strap to slide over your shoulder as you collected the cotton bolls. Of course these sacks were too heavy for a 5 year old to pull, so Great Grandma made them their own child-sized sacks to wear for these cotton stuffing parties. *How thoughtful,* right?

Unfortunately, necessity called.

So, the middle sister always tells the story of a particular day when Great Grandma had made the most beautiful layered coconut cake for those girls to share. Three layers, made from scratch of course, with sweet, fluffy frosting, and covered in shredded coconut. Now Mama had told them they could feast on this gorgeous cake at their morning break, after already working five or six hours.
Being resourceful, the three sisters, with Mama’s help, decided to tie up that cake in a flour sack towel, and hang it from a nearby tree – you know, just to keep it safe. The middle sister always says, “Nothin’ worse than a cake full of sugar ants.”
Those girls talked about that cake alllll morning. How sweet it would be, how much they loved their Mama for making them such a special treat, who would get the first piece, and the biggest piece and such.
Morning break came, the sisters had worked extra hard in preparation for their cake, and they rushed to the tree to begin untying their treat.

They couldn’t find it.

The flour sack was on the ground.

They were heartbroken and confused and mad all the same.

As they all looked up at the same time, their favorite horse, Smiley (for Pete’s sake), stood there.

Covered, from horse ear to horse ear, with shredded coconut and frosting smeared across his face.

I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry, but every time the middle sister tells this story, she laughs harder.
That dang horse.


So, moral goes, protect your pies people!

Anyhow, if the thought of starting with a fresh coconut intimidates you, this IS some of the best coconut pie filling I’ve tasted, so don’t feel guilty about using store bought shredded coconut.

Believe me, the clean-up was an adventure I don’t need to repeat any time soon!
Ya’ll wouldn’t believe it, coconut water flying, fibers in my hair, and stuck to the bottom of my feet.

Ya’ll proimise me you’ll make this coconut pie, even with store bought coconut, and just be thankful you’re not out there hand pickin’ cotton.
Make your horse a sweet treat too, k?

~Peace, Love, and Pies Ya’ll!

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Fresh Coconut Pie

Yield: one 9" pie

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes chill time

Total Time: 90 minutes


Coconut flesh from 3 young coconuts (roughly 1 1/4 cups)
Coconut juice 1 1/4 C (the water from the coconut when cracked open, substitute with coconut milk)
Evaporated Milk 2/3 C
Sugar 3/4 C
Cornstarch 1/2 C
Vanilla 1 tsp
Store bought pie crust (9 inch)
Cool Whip, or homemade whipped cream


Cut coconut flesh into strips. In a pot, add all your ingredients and stir together. Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes, until the mixture thickens. Pour into the pie crust and bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Top with Cool Whip or homemade whipped cream!

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