A recent issue of Southwest’s Spirit Magazine displayed a wedge of juicy berry pie on the front cover. Flipping to the center, three or four articles wrote about Americans’ favorite pies (the classic apple came in first, of course!), more obscure flavors such as chess and sweet potato, and even a feature on the Pie Lady who sells homemade pies out of the house painted in the background of Wood’s famous American Gothic.
Scouring through the recipes and photos inspired me to try baking my own pie. For years, the only two pies I made were—you guessed it—pumpkin and pecan for Thanksgiving. And even then, I only put together half of the pie. With so many people wanting to help out in the kitchen, I mixed up the fillings while some other family member (normally Mom) rolled out the crust.
Not this time though. I banned everyone from the kitchen while I made my pie. And since I only made the more traditional varieties in the past, I wanted to choose a more creative flavor. After my coconut loaf cake obsession over the summer, it seemed rather fitting to adapt that into a pie. This was just as big of a hit: I gave an entire 9” pie to my parents as a thank-you for dog-sitting, and the two of them polished it off in less than 48 hours!
My pie took over an hour to finally set up, so don’t be surprised if you need to leave it in an extra 10-20 min. Serve as is or with fresh berries or other fruit.
1 c. flour
¼ tsp salt
¾ tsp sugar
⅓ c. shortening
2-3 tbsp cold water
(adapted from this recipe)
1½ c. milk
1 c. sugar
¾ c. shredded sweetened coconut
2 eggs, beaten
3 tbsp flour
1 tbsp canola oil
¼ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp coconut extract
- To prepare the crust, combine flour through shortening in a medium bowl. Mash the shortening into the dry ingredients using the back of a fork until it resembles a coarse meal. Add the cold water, a spoonful at a time, continuing to mix just until a dough forms. Shape into a ball, flatten slightly, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 min.
- Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Flour a clean, dry workspace as well as a rolling pin. Remove the pie dough from the refrigerator, take off the plastic wrap, and lay in the center of the workspace. Roll out the dough to be 1½ to 2” larger than a 9” pie pan. Fold the dough in half, then in quarters to move into the pie pan. Unfold and press the dough into the pan, cutting off any extra hanging over the sides.
- To prepare the filling, mix the milk through coconut extract in a large bowl. Pour into the prepared crust, and gently place the pie in the oven. Bake for 50 min or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before serving.