Saturday, August 11, 2007

Another Birthday Dinner

My youngest turned 10 - double digits! - this past Thursday, and as is tradition, had control of the menu for his birthday dinner. Not only was this dinner perhaps MORE fattening than my oldest son's birthday dinner, it was, um, rather beige.

For dinner we had Classic Macaroni and Cheese, with a side of fried apples. No veggies. But it was HIS dinner, so I didn't push. I guess I have to be happy that they eat most of the healthful stuff I put in front of them, even if they don't go so far as to run for veggies when given the power to choose for themselves.

The birthday dessert - Coconut Cream Pie. I have no idea where this request came from. To my knowledge, DS has never even tried coconut cream pie, so I have no idea why he'd request it for his special dessert. Still, I admired his adventurousness, even if I wasn't terribly excited about making it - I wasn't sure if I liked coconut cream pie either.

Coconut Cream Pie (159-5955_IMGedit)

Turns out, we both like coconut cream pie! I chose a recipe from Cook's Illustrated - usually a safe choice when it comes to picking a recipe out of the blue. I gave DS the choice of a regular pie dough crust or a cookie/graham cracker crust - he chose the latter. This pie starts out with a cookie crust from a most unexpected source - animal crackers. I made sure to get the "real" animal crackers as some of the knock-offs out there have very little flavor.

Coconut Cream Pie (159-5959_IMGedit)

The base is a pastry cream comprised primarily of coconut milk (the real thing, no going low-fat for this one), milk and egg yolks. The resulting pastry cream is delicious - I couldn't stop tasting it. The coconut cream is topped off with a mound of fresh whipped cream. Getting the right consistency with whipped cream has always been a challenge for me. I'm always afraid of it being a bit too soft and I tend to whip it a little too long - whipped cream can go from a little soft to overly whipped in a matter of a few seconds - taking the whipped cream from nice and smooth to slightly pocked-looking. Seems I haven't learned my lesson because once again, I took it a little too far this time. But no worries - it still tasted delicious. I'm actually not a big fan of fresh whipped cream, but the addition of vanilla to this whipped cream must have been just what I was missing because I really enjoyed it.

I have to say that I wasn't a big fan of the animal cracker crust. It gave the crust a citrusy tang something that should work well with coconut, but I found it distracting. I think that a graham cracker-macadamia nut crust would be just the thing - something a little savory and nutty to balance the sweet.

So there you have it. Yet another addition of the interesting, odd and fattening menus my kids come up with for their birthday dinners.


  1. The graham cracker/macadamia nut crust would be just the ticket! I think I would eat it both ways though. I sounds delcious!!!

  2. Valli - My MIL likes coconut cream pie, so I may try the nut crust on her next visit......

  3. Happy birthday to DS!

  4. This is my go to Coconut cream pie recipe. I love it and so does everyone I make it for. I love Cook's Illustrated.

  5. Robyn - Thanks. :)

    Randi - I love CI too. I don't buy many cookbooks, but I love the New Best Recipe and have many CI cookbooks on my wish list.

  6. This looks really good. Whenever I hear 'coconut cream pie' I immediately think of Gilligans Island. I think they went through a lot of pies during that series.

  7. Paula - That's too funny! :)