YieldsMakes 9 mini pies
At Tom Douglas's three Seattle restaurants--Dahlia Lounge, Etta's Seafood, and Palace Kitchen--the triple coconut cream pie is a perennial bestseller. We love the miniature version (and have made them even smaller here, since they're so rich). Prep and Cook Time: about 1 1/2 hours, plus at least 3 hours of chilling time. Notes: Pastry cream can be made ahead and kept, refrigerated, for two days; unbaked, formed pastry shells keep, frozen, a few weeks. The baked shells can be filled with the pastry cream several hours ahead, then topped with whipped cream and garnishes just before serving. "Chip"--or large-shred--coconut, which is sold at natural-foods stores and Whole Foods Markets, looks like little curls and makes the prettiest garnish, but regular shredded coconut works just fine. Toast coconut in a 350° oven until golden, 10 to 15 minutes.

How to Make It

Step 1
1

Make the pastry cream: Put milk and coconut in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean and add both seeds and bean to saucepan. Bring mixture to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally.

Step 2
2

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, and flour. While whisking, drizzle about 1/3 of the hot milk mixture into egg mixture, then slowly whisk egg-milk mixture back into saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking, until pastry cream thickens and begins to bubble, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in butter, and discard vanilla bean.

Step 3
3

Spoon hot pastry cream into a bowl and set in a larger bowl of ice and cold water, stirring occasionally, until cooled to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto surface (to prevent a skin from forming) and chill until cold, at least 3 hours.

Step 4
4

Fill the pies: Carefully remove baked shells from brioche molds. Spoon pastry cream into shells, filling each a little more than halfway. With an electric mixer, whip cream with sugar and vanilla until it holds stiff peaks. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (no. 6) with whipped cream and pipe a double layer of cream onto each pie, or simply spoon it on (use all the cream--the pies should look like beehive hairdos).

Step 5
5

Garnish the pies: With a vegetable peeler, scrape wide curls or shavings from the chunk of white chocolate. Sprinkle curls or shavings over pies, dividing evenly, and top with toasted coconut. Serve immediately.

Step 6
6

Note: Nutritional analysis is per mini pie.

Ingredients

  For the coconut pastry cream
 2 cups milk
 2 cups sweetened finely shredded coconut
 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
 2 large eggs
 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar
 3 tablespoons flour
 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  For the pie
 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
 1/3 cup sugar
 1 teaspoon vanilla
  For the garnish
 1 3-oz. chunk white chocolate, at room temperature
 1 cup unsweetened

Directions

Step 1
1

Make the pastry cream: Put milk and coconut in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean and add both seeds and bean to saucepan. Bring mixture to a gentle simmer, stirring occasionally.

Step 2
2

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, and flour. While whisking, drizzle about 1/3 of the hot milk mixture into egg mixture, then slowly whisk egg-milk mixture back into saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking, until pastry cream thickens and begins to bubble, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in butter, and discard vanilla bean.

Step 3
3

Spoon hot pastry cream into a bowl and set in a larger bowl of ice and cold water, stirring occasionally, until cooled to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto surface (to prevent a skin from forming) and chill until cold, at least 3 hours.

Step 4
4

Fill the pies: Carefully remove baked shells from brioche molds. Spoon pastry cream into shells, filling each a little more than halfway. With an electric mixer, whip cream with sugar and vanilla until it holds stiff peaks. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (no. 6) with whipped cream and pipe a double layer of cream onto each pie, or simply spoon it on (use all the cream--the pies should look like beehive hairdos).

Step 5
5

Garnish the pies: With a vegetable peeler, scrape wide curls or shavings from the chunk of white chocolate. Sprinkle curls or shavings over pies, dividing evenly, and top with toasted coconut. Serve immediately.

Step 6
6

Note: Nutritional analysis is per mini pie.

Triple Coconut Cream Mini Pies