I had two food books given to me for Christmas this year: Tea with Bea and Cooking with Chocolate. I was very happy to have either of these picked. CT did the honours and it turned out to be Tea with Bea. Page 63, CT announced when I asked him to pick a number. At this point, my heart sank a little, page 63 was the chapter heading for tarts, but pastry really isn't my forte. Well, I mused, I can't very well make a chapter heading, I'll get CT to pick another number. Feeling my resolve weakening, I gave myself a stern talking to and went for the first tart that involved chocolate. This was the ultimate coconut cream pie and not only did it sound superb, but it didn't involve pastry - yeah!
This is how I did it:
- Smashed up 400g of digestive biscuits in a large mixing bowl with the end of a rolling pin.
- Melted 100g unsalted butter. Bea had stated somewhere between 75g and 100g would be needed, but I was rather dubious how such a little amount would stick the biscuit crumbs together. My normal recipe is for half the butter to biscuit, so in this case would expect 200g butter. But, I thought I'd try it and hoped for the best.
- Stirred the butter into the biscuits and divided the mixture into two tart cases (I didn't have the recommended 23cm pie dish).
- Pressed the crumbs as best I could into the bottom and sides of the dishes.
- Baked for 15 minutes at 150C then left to cool.
The instructions for the coconut pastry cream were overly complicated, so I ignored them and used a standard custard method instead.
- Whisked 2 eggs yolks with 3 tbsp vanilla sugar (caster sugar) and 1 heaped tbsp custard powder until well incorporated ( should have added 1 tsp coconut extract, but I didn't have any).
- Brought 250ml coconut milk nearly to the boil with 50ml coconut cream.
- Poured the hot milk onto the egg mixture and whisked thoroughly.
- Poured the whole lot back into the pan and stirred over a low heat until the mixture was thick and just starting to bubble.
- Took off the heat and stirred in 50g unsalted butter.
- Stirred until all incorporated and the custard was smooth.
- Left to cool.
- Combined 300ml (was meant to be 500ml, but I had misread recipe and didn't buy enough) with 100ml coconut cream (not in the recipe), 1 tbsp icing sugar (meant to be 50g), 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 1 tbsp orange rum (meant to be a shot of malibu, but I didn't have any of that either).
- Whipped until peak forming stage.
- Toasted a handful of coconut flakes in the oven for a few minutes until crisp but not burnt (rather overdid mine, but they were still delicious).
- Melted 50g 38% milk chocolate in a bowl over hot water.
- Whisked the cold custard then divided between the two tart cases.
- Spooned the cream over the top.
- Scattered over the coconut flakes.
- Tried to drizzle the chocolate over the top, but as it didn't melt properly (I invariable have problems with melting milk chocolate), I soft of dolloped rather than drizzled!
Unfortunately, it was as I feared and the base was way too crumbly as it didn't have enough butter to hold the mixture together. This combined with the soft custard & cream meant I had to spoon the mixture into bowls rather than cut a slice and serve on a plate.
All in all, I wasn't very impressed with Bea's recipe writing skills, but I was impressed with her concept and ultimately taste will always win out over presentation with me.
Nice antidote to all that We Should Cocoa healthiness! Thank you Dom.