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Coconut Cream Pie

Makes one 9" pie

Canned coconut milk is a thick blend of coconut meat and water, not to be mistaken for coconut juice, which is the liquid found inside a coconut.

Ingredients
Crust:
6 ounces shortbread cookies
1/4 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Filling:
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
2/3 cup granulated sugar
Pinch salt
5 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract

Topping:
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon coconut extract
2/3 cup sweetened coconut flakes

Directions
1. For crust: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F; set oven rack to lower-middle position. In food processor, pulse cookies, coconut flakes, and butter until fine crumbs form. Press crumbs into bottom and sides of a 9-inch-glass pie dish. Bake 15 minutes, until medium brown, rotating pie shell halfway through baking time. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

2. For filling: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring coconut milt, whole milk, coconut flakes, sugar, and salt to a simmer, stirring often so that sugar dissolves.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk yolks and cornstarch until thoroughly combined. Slowly pour 1 cup hot-milk mixture into yolk mixture; whisk well to combine. Whisking constantly, gradually add remaining milk mixture in 4 additions. Pour mixture back into saucepan over medium heat. Cook 2 minutes, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens and reaches a full boil.

4. Remove pan from heat; whisk in butter, vanilla, and coconut extract. Pour hot filling into cooled pie shell. Press plastic wrap directly against surface of filling. Refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.

5. For topping: Just before serving, beat cream, sugar, and coconut extract in a large bowl with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Spread over chilled pie; sprinkle with coconut flakes. Serve cold.

Tip: Be sure not to buy cream of coconut instead. It is a sweetened coconut milk and is used mostly for drinks.

Recipe from "Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove Cookbook."

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