Whilst we were living stateside I developed a tiny obsession with stopping at road-side diners on our numerous road trips for pie. I think I found something satisfyingly clichéd about it.
One of the best pies I tried was a coconut cream pie in Bangor, Maine and I promised myself that I would create my own version of it at some point. It had a very tender pastry crust and was filled with a luxuriously creamy coconut custard. Nothing like a British custard tart, which I must confess I cannot bear (Mr Colonial Cravings bloomin’ loves them though!) It was also topped with sweetened whipped cream but to be honest I could take or leave that.
Obviously here on Colonial Cravings we like to do things a little differently from time to time so I’ve had a bit of a play with the format. Lemongrass adds an unusual flavour to the rich buttery shortbread crust of this twist on a coconut cream pie.
makes 1 large or 4 individual tarts
40g icing sugar
2 6” lemongrass stalks
400ml coconut milk
1 lemongrass stalk
2 egg yolks
toasted coconut flakes and lime zest to decorate
Remove the tough outer layers from the lemongrass stalks and finely grate them. Cream this together with the butter and the sugar for the pastry. Sift together the flour and 20g of cornflour and mix this with the butter and sugar to form a soft dough. Wrap the dough and chill it for 15 minutes so that it can relax and firm up a little.
Pre-heat your oven to 190°c. Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface and then use it to line a lightly greased loose bottomed tin. Blind bake the pastry case for 15 minutes and then set aside to cool whilst you prepare the filling.
Bash the remaining lemongrass stalk with a rolling-pin and put it in a saucepan along with the coconut milk. Gently heat this until it is very warm but not boiling.
Whisk together the egg yolks, egg, sugar and cornflour in a large mixing bowl until they are quite pale and fluffy.
Remove the lemongrass from the coconut milk and discard. Whilst still whisking the egg mixture gradually pour in the warm coconut milk. Mix well and then return the custard to the pan. Put it over a low heat and whisk it until it becomes very thick then allow it to cool, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on it.
Once the coconut custard has cooled you can use it to fill the pastry case. Give it a little shake to level off the top and then decorate it with some toasted coconut flakes and lime zest. Return the tart to the fridge for at least an hour before removing from the tin and serving.