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sweet and sticky

As I got ready for my day this morning, the weatherman predicted some scary news. The minute he said, “I anticipate a high of 100 degrees Thursday, Friday, and possibly Saturday”, I almost dropped my cup of coffee on my pretty white carpet. 100 degrees?! Geez, talk about making an entrance, eh? Welcome back, summer.

A few things best embody what summer means to me: soft cotton dresses that move as you walk. Long, humid nights where sleep escapes you. Sweat dripping down your back as you try (unsuccessfully) to get home in rush hour traffic. Fridges stocked with every vegetable and fruit known to man. A long forgotten oven. And this Florida Pie. Filled with coconut cream and lime cream, topped with a sweet meringue, this pie should be the national summer symbol. Dianne of Dianne’s dishes chose this pie as this week’s Tuesday’s With Dorie and the timing couldn’t be more appropriate as students are finishing up finals and pools start to sound appealing.

Those who live in northern California know that the dog days of summer are fast approaching. You can already feel it in the late afternoons before the sun starts to set. After an especially dry spring, it seems like there is little to no relief for us. But I don’t mean to be a Debbie downer!! Because even if you hate the summer heat as much as I do, at least you can relax in front of you’re a/c unit with this scrumptious and quick pie.

Can I just say first and foremost that I am a complete novice when it comes to pies/pastries/etc? They are hard and actually require skill, which I don’t have. So I was a little nervous about attempting this pie but that was before I saw the ingredient list. A graham cracker crust? Thank the Virgin Mary, I am saved. My little furrowed brown quickly released itself which is great because I can just imagine the wrinkles popping up everywhere.

Like I said, this pie is as easy as… Easy as buying a sickening store-bought pie that isn’t worthy of your time! First you boil down the coconut with the cream, reducing it in half and next up is the lime custard filling. Beat some egg yolks, toss in the sweetened condensed milk and lime juice, then bake it for 10 minutes. Told you, minimum effort. If only all pies could be this easy…

But I did find the crust lacking. Well duh, you say, it is only a graham cracker crust. I think that this pie would benefit from an actual pie dough instead of this crust but I won’t deny the allure of the simply cracker crust.

As for the meringue, let it be a lesson to everyone that baking under pressure is never a good idea. From finals to work, I think I took my frustration out on the poor meringue topping. First, I totally ruined it by heating it up too long and then the second time around I let it sit in the broiler too long. Despite it’s rather burned topping, it tasted fine. In fact, I prefer my blackened meringue, thank you very much!

The lime custard is clearly the star in this dish. Sticky, sweet, and tart, the filling will have you puckering your lips and squinting your eyes as the lime kicks in. The crunchy coconut is a sweet surprise and the crust blends all the flavors in together. Grab a big pitcher of iced tea with a slice of pie and wait to usher in summer’s arrival.

Florida Pie
from Baking: from my home to yours

Ingredients:
1 9-inch graham cracker crust (page 235), fully baked and cooled, or a store-bought crust
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
4 large eggs, seperated
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh Key (or regular) lime juice (from about 5 regular limes)
1/4 cup of sugar

Getting Ready:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put the pie plate on a baking sheet lined with parchment of a silicone mat.
Put the cream and 1 cup of the coconut in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly. Continue to cook and stir until the cream is reduced by half and the mixture is slightly thickened. Scrape the coconut cream into a bowl and set it aside while you prepare the lime filling.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl beat the egg yolks at high speed until thick and pale. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the condensed milk. Still on low, add half of the lime juice. When it is incorporated, add the reaming juice, again mixing until it is blended. Spread the coconut cream in the bottom of the graham cracker crust, and pour over the lime filling.
Bake the pie for 12 minutes. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes, then freeze the pie for at least 1 hour.

To Finish the Pie with Meringue:
Put the 4 egg whites and the sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, whisking all the while, until the whites are hot to the touch. Transfer the whites to a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment, or use a hand mixer in a large bowl, and beat the whites at high speed until they reach room temperature and hold firm peaks. Using a rubber spatula, fold the remaining 1/2 cup coconut into the meringue.
Spread the meringue over the top of the pie, and run the pie under the broiler until the top of the meringue is golden brown. (Or, if you’ve got a blowtorch, you can use it to brown the meringue.) Return the pie to the freezer for another 30 minutes or for up to 3 hours before serving.

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May 13, 2008 - 2:34 pm

RecipeGirl - I love the idea of thinking of this pie as the perfect summery dessert. We’re expecting hot temps by the end of the week too (in So Cal.)

May 13, 2008 - 2:41 pm

Caitlin - If only it was almost summer in central Wisconsin, but alas it’s a month out :( Even with the meringue snafu, it looks beautiful and tasty!

May 13, 2008 - 3:05 pm

steph - 100 degrees–ugh! glad you were able to kick back and enjoy tasty pie in a climate contolled environment!

May 13, 2008 - 4:48 pm

kdgreen - I tried to bake under pressure this week as well and learned my lesson. and I wasn’t even brave enough to try the meringue. We used to live in Phoenix. I remember LOTS of hot days in May.

May 13, 2008 - 9:04 pm

Natalie - Oooh, that meringue looks good. Reminds me of toasted marshmallows. I always go for the dark, almost burned ones. :)

May 14, 2008 - 4:54 am

Patricia Scarpin - Amanda, I love all the flavors here and the looks of your pie is to die for!

May 14, 2008 - 6:47 am

Piggy - Your pie still looks yummy even though the meringue is slightly burned. Great job!

May 14, 2008 - 6:47 am

CB - Socal in da house! Weather’s been weird here. We actually got rain 2 days ago? what.the.heck?! Love that picture of you cutting your pie with a pizza wheel. What a fun shot!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

May 14, 2008 - 12:09 pm

Dianne - I thought about pairing the recipe with a basic pie crust instead of a gc crust for a few minutes, but then decided against it. Your pie looks great! Oh and 100 degrees is hot! ;)

May 14, 2008 - 6:46 pm

My Sweet & Saucy - This pie looks amazing! Yummy!

May 14, 2008 - 7:45 pm

Kate - That looks so good, it makes me want to use profanity. I’m going to try this — absolutely. And as for the burned merinque, I’m the girl who would stick the marshmallow INTO the flames and wait until the thing was a big, burning sugar torch, and then blow it out. Then, I’d eat that black burnt sugar crust and slurp out the molten sugar inside. So for me, burnt sugar? That’s always a good thing. Well toasted merinque can’t be far off!

May 15, 2008 - 6:56 am

almost vegetarian - I love pies like this – simple, easy, but incredibly delicious. I make a lemon meringue pie that is similar, but I love the bite of lime. For some reason, lime sounds even more enticing than lemon as the weather gets hotter.

And my neighbor has a lime tree!

Cheers.

May 16, 2008 - 10:24 am

Hillary - Hehe, a pizza cutter! How amazing. This reminds me of my lemon meringue pie accident (http://chewonthatblog.com/2008/03/14/happy-pie-day/) …except yours looks a lot tastier.

May 16, 2008 - 3:03 pm

Helen - Mmm looks delish! Hope the heat is not too much for you – it is back to being dull, grey and a bit chilly here in the UK! Hx

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