January 31, 2023

A la Carte Presents a Summer Special: Pineapple-Coconut Cream Pie

Woman's Day Pineapple-Coconut Cream Pie

Woman’s Day Pineapple-Coconut Cream Pie

This past weekend began with dinner in Mystic at Pink Basil, the third-base hit for the couple who own Thai Sawasdee in Groton, Spice Club in Niantic and, now, Pink Basil (see my Nibbles on the appetizer I adored). The next day was a 50th anniversary on Federal Hill  in Providence for friends I have known for years.

After that, I drove to Griswold for an incredible food extravaganza on a lake. Much of the food came from their smoker while desserts included two pies, a cream cake and cannoli I had bought in Providence.

Sunday was a lovely party in Lyme for which I’d made guacamole with ten avocados. Host John’s sister made her amazing ratatouille, this time topped with Gruyere.

My favorite, though, was a lemon meringue pie that, like the sirens in the Odyssey, beckoned me to slice just one more piece. I realized when I got home that I don’t have a recipe for lemon meringue pie. How is that possible? Please, please send me your favorite recipe. In the meantime, here is a great pie I wrote about 11 years ago.

Pineapple-Coconut Cream Pie
From Woman’s Day, May 31, 2005

Yield: Serves 8

20 crisp oatmeal cookies, like Nabisco Honey Maid (I use Quaker 100% Natural Cereal)
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter, melted

Three-quarters cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple, in its own juice, well drained, juice reserved
1 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
yolks from 5 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter, cut small
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut, chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat a 9-inch pie plate with nonstick spray.

Crust: Process cookies or cereal in the bowl of a food processor. Add melted butter and whir. Press over bottom and up sides of pie plate. Bake 12 minutes until toasted around edge. Cool on wire rack.

Filling: Mix sugar and cornstarch in a 2-quart saucepan. Add enough pineapple juice to coconut milk to make 2 ½ cups. Stir in sugar mixture, then bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally (not briskly). Boil 1 minute; remove from heat. Cool for a few minutes. Whisk yolks in medium bowl, then gradually whisk in about half the hot mixture; return yolk mixture to saucepan. Stir over low heat 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in butter until melted. Stir in crushed pineapple and coconut. Pour into crust. Cover surface with plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Up to 2 hours before serving, beat cream and sugar with mixer until stiff peaks form. Spread over pie. Garnish with flaked coconut, small pineapple chunks and/or mint sprigs.

Nibbles: Pink Basil

I have a friend who is a longtime resident of our part of the Connecticut shoreline. But she has never had Thai food. That sadness will end soon, when I take her to Pink Basil in Mystic.

Owned by the same couple who run Thai Sawasdee in Groton and Spice Club in Niantic, their new place is my favorite. I had (and shared) a lettuce wrap app — a bowl of fresh iceberg lettuce with minced chicken, ginger, carrot, onions, cashews, shiitake mushrooms in a dark soy sauce and topped with crispy noodles. Along with another app and three entrees, we couldn’t finish all of them. The next morning I folded the lettuce wrap (less the lettuce) into an omelet. It was incredibly delicious.

Pink Basil
27 Coogan Boulevard (Building 3B in Mystic Village)

About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant.  She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day.