February 2, 2011

Coconut-Banana Cream Pie with Honey Rum Whipped Cream and Butterscotch Topping

One of my best friends (and bridesmaids) recently turned 26. What better way to celebrate than to invite her over for a special birthday dinner and dessert? I asked her to give me her desired menu. She responded that she had been craving, "banana or coconut cream pie." I thought to myself, self, I can do better than that. I will make a banana and coconut cream pie!

So I did. It also didn't hurt that I opened up my Good Housekeeping cook book and there found a coconut-banana cream pie. I had been wondering if the flavors of banana and coconut would compliment or clash, so finding the recipe confirmed that the idea wasn't wacky but delicious. Along the way I tweaked the recipe here and there for a personalized (and slightly more indulgent) end-result.

First, I baked the super-easy press-in coconut and oatmeal crust, with a dash of added cinnamon:

As the crust cooled I simmered that thick, velvety vanilla custard. After I poured the filling generously into the crust, I had an extra cupful left over to eat myself with a spoon.... Mmmm mmm a preview!

I left the pie covered in the fridge overnight since I made it a day early. The next night before dinner I simply topped it with the whipped cream and butterscotch, but you can do the entire pie in one sweep.

Anyway, my whipped cream had brown-sugar honey rum in it for a little birthday fun. Plus, I feel like rum and bananas is always a good combination. It definitely spiced up the flavor a bit.

Then I toasted extra coconut and pressed a nice, crunchy pile of it into the top center. Finally, the entire pie got a generous drizzle of sweet, gooey butterscotch sauce, which had been a homemade Christmas gift from my cousin and fellow blogger, Elena, of Danger Kitten Bakes. Thank you, Elena!!

I think that this pie made for one happy twenty-six year old!

1 1/3 cups flaked sweetened coconut
2/3 cup old-fashioned or quick oats, uncooked
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 t. cinnamon

3 cups milk (I used 2%)
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 t. salt
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1.5 t. vanilla extract
2 - 3 large, ripe (but not overripe) bananas

Whipped Cream:
2 T. powdered sugar
1 cup whipping cream
2 T. honey-rum (if using a non-sweet rum, reduce amount and add in smaller portions)

Toppings of choice: I used butterscotch and toasted coconut, but you can slice more bananas, top with nuts, or even drizzle with chocolate. Have fun with it.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a 9-inch pie place, mix the coconut, oats, cinnamon and 3 t. softened butter with your hands, then pat onto the bottom and up the sides of the plate. Place in the freezer to let the butter set for a few minutes, then bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Cool on rack.

In a 2 quart saucepan, combine all of the filling ingredients up until the vanilla and cook over medium-low heat until it boils and thickens. Boil one minute, then remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Slice the bananas in half the long way, then arrange cut-down on the pie crust. This reduces browning of the fruit. Completely cover the crust with bananas, then pour the custard filling over them. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.

In a cold bowl, mix the whipped cream ingredients at high speed until stiff peaks form (make sure it's not too soft), then spread the whipped cream over the pie, leaving about a 1" edge of filling showing. Top with desired ingredients and either keep cool until serving or serve immediately.

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