As a gift for one of my coworkers for his wedding, I offered to make a pie of his choice. His choice was coconut cream. A pie that I would normally avoid as if it were carrying a new strain of ebola because of two reasons: 1) Coconut, 2) cream pie. The best part about Matt choosing the coconut cream pie is that he chose it BECAUSE his new bride does not like it. Not that he ever even told her that I was going to make a pie for them, but that's beside the point (I think he totally told her today that I just gave them a dirty pie plate as a wedding gift so she would never even know that there was a pie).
I went out on Saturday and bought supplies (notably that sweetened coconut flake stuff ::shudder::). Then I came home and went to pet my cat. Except that my cat didn't want to be pet, and I think I surprised him. So he kicked out with his hind leg and this happened (note: picture taken 24 hours AFTER the scratching incident so it's not a bloody mess in this photo):
This of course meant that I needed to wash and bandage up my hand good and proper to prevent the gangrene from setting in. It should be noted that the cat scratched me, I went and washed my hand for 5 minutes, then got out the cotton wrap and compression wrap, broght them to the couch, sat down, wrapped my hand myself, and it still took my loving husband WHO WAS SITTING NEXT TO ME ON THE COUCH THE WHOLE TIME another 20 minutes to notice that my hand was wrapped up. This event (the scratching not the fact that my husband is unobservant) meant I spent all of Sunday with my hand wrapped thusly (FINALLY a use for all that left over cotton gauze and compression wrap):
Don't worry, I wore a nitrile glove the entire time I was actually doing the cooking, but I just wanted to point out that I had to do things left handed because I couldn't touch my thumb to any of my fingers without feeling like I was going to re-open the wounds.
This one. The one from Emeril Lagasse. The one that I've never tried (see aforementioned disdain of both coconut and cream pies). So I figured "What the hell, how bad can it be?"
Step one: Make the pie shell. Okay, this isn't too bad, but I much prefer the dump and press style pie crust--there's no rolling or chilling. way easier than this version. but it turned out okay (though I think the crust could have used more sugar, but whatever, I was following the recipe). Besides, there are so many other places to go off course anyway. Pricked because I don't have pie weights...or dry beans...mostly because I don't make this type of pie crust and I don't eat beans.
Step two: Make the custard. I've never made custard (okay, that's a lie, I made creme brulee once. But it was a mix and all I had to do was heat some milk, mix and chill). This custard required actually separating eggs and what have you. And, as I've learned from The Spiteful Chef, there are certain steps that must be followed with a custard. These steps basically mean don't follow the recipe as written on Food Network. There's a part where it tells you to boil the custard. I'm pretty sure that's a bad idea. So I used the ingredients, but followed Kristie's steps (which are actually written out and explained). Here is my set up:
Milk is being heated to 185 (yeah, we only had fat free...probably not the best idea to use that in a CUSTARD, note to self for the next time I don't make coconut cream pie), icebath is ready with a strainer to catch insolent little pieces of egg that don't want to become a custard, a wooden spoon for stirring and consistency checking of said custard, and a ladle to aid in the tempering of the egg yolks. Speaking of egg yolks, here they are just before having the almost boiling milk added to the cold, uncooked eggs:
Since the recipe doesn't explain it, tempering is basically adding a tiny amount (I used half a ladlefull) of the hot milk to the eggs. whisk, whisk, whisk. Add a little more milk. whisk, whisk, whisk. wash, rinse, and repeat until half the milk has been added to the yolks and then add the yolk mixture back into the hot milk pot where you heat but NEVER BOIL the mixture until it is thick and gelatinous. Pour into the strainer over the bowl in the icebath, press through the strainer, pour into the prepared pie crust. Now then, I'm not sure if I actually had to strain it, but I did since it seemed like a good idea. Cover in plastic wrap (like a Christmas present!) and place in the fridge to chill throughly. It will look like this (note: you will need approximately a 6-pack of Coke and chocolate chips to complete this look):
You can't really tell in the picture, but I wasn't sure if this would form that disgusting skin on it so I pressed the plastic wrap down until it touched the gooey innards of the pie (minimizing the amount of air that can get to the pie) and let it chillax for about 2.5 hours. Then I moved on to the meringue.
I think I tried to make meringue one time back in the day and it was disastrous. I found some tips online--like have the egg whites be at room temperature (yeah, I didn't do that, I took them straight from the fridge), and using 2 tablespoons of sugar per white (I didn't do that, I did double the amount of sugar from the recipe, though). It did have a tip that I did follow--I whipped those whites like a jockey on a horse in the Kentucky Derby BEFORE adding the sugar. Spread on top of the pie and place in the preheated oven...of course after doing that I decided I should actually Google whether or not Pyrex can indeed go from a 37 degree refrigerator into a 350 degree oven (apparently it can as long as the oven is preheated. That...doesn't make much sense to me--"yes, this dish can go from cold to hot as long as you don't try to ramp up the hot. quick and fast, that's the way to do it"). Then I decided I should take a picture of the pie in case the dish didn't make it through the oven cycle so I could at least say "look! I made you a pie! too bad my oven ate it. It liked it though, so be glad for that." Picture of pie in oven:
After about 10 minutes, it looks like it might be done, and because the recipe told me so, I take it out of the oven and TA-DA:
Look! It's ANGEL PIE! With the haloing effect...get it? no? yes...well...crap.
Of course it didn't look so pretty after I re-wrapped it in plastic wrap and took it to work this morning--it didn't like the 45 minute car ride in a warm car very much. Matt was still nice and said that it looked good. Plus I guess he ate all of it tonight for dinner. But then, I don't know if that really means anything because I think he'll eat just about everything.