Cooking, Food

Coconuts and Plums

Coconut Cream Pie
Coconut Cream Pie, fresh out of the oven!

Which have nothing to do with one another, and I figure if I added Beef and Mushrooms to that title, I’d just make you all nervous.

I made my first ever Coconut Cream Pie this week. I’ve made Coconut Custard before, but not the pie the way my dear first reader knows and loves. I pulled the other half of the lard piecrust (from blackberry pie a while back) out to thaw, pulled up a recipe online, and started on my merry way.

When I’m beginning on a recipe I haven’t done before, I usually do mise en place, and get everything measured out and laid out before I begin the cooking part. This lets me see what I have, if I’m missing anything and in this case… to see that the recipe I’d printed out had issues. Normally when I grab a recipe from a blog, I read through it first to see how if works, what the proportions are, and I have been cooking long enough to be able to gauge what the result will be just from looking at the ingredients.

Looking at this recipe, it called for a half cup of milk, which didn’t seem right, and one measurement of sugar, to go in two places, but no indication of how much in what part. Also, it called for salt in a dubious amount for the taste I wanted to acheive. Time to rewrite the recipe a bit and make it work better. Looking at the comments on the blog I used, I could see that although the blogger insisted ½ cup was sufficient, they had all used 2 cups. And some had left out the salt, like I was going to.


Coconut Cream Pie

Pie Filling

  • ½ c sugar
  • ⅓ c flour
  • 2 c milk
  • ½ c butter
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs, separated (yolks go in filling)
  • 1 ½ c sweetened flaked coconut
  • One baked 9 in. pie shell


  • 3 egg whites
  • ¼ c sugar

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Then whisk in the sugar before slowly adding the flour, whisking out any lumps. Finally, add the milk, eggs, and vanilla (I had combined them and whisked lightly to break up the yolks before this), and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until pudding will coat the back of a spoon. Stir in coconut and remove from heat. Pour filling into pie crust. In a very clean bowl, beat egg whites (I used my kitchen aid and had this going while the pudding was cooking) until frothy, slowly add sugar and continue to beat until they form stiff peaks. Spread over the pie shell, making sure they touch the shell at all points to prevent shrinking as they cook. Place in a 350 deg oven for 10-15 minutes, or until peaks are golden brown.

coconut cream pie
As you can see, filling set up beautifully even if meringue is iffy

Now, the recipe I had called for chilling in a refrigerator for three hours. I think next time I will do countertop for two, as the meringue predictably sweated and got flabby in the refrigerator. Not the way I like it. However! When I asked the First Reader how I had done, his answer was something to the effect of “Mmm! Mm! mmmhmmm mmm mmm!

I think I succeeded! I had never cooked a flour-based pudding before, I grew up with cornstarch bases. This was like making a sweet roux, which was funny, as I had made a savory roux that morning as a base for the Beef and Mushrooms which was in the crockpot for dinner. I served it over egg noodles and it was very tasty.

Beef and Mushrooms
It’s not pretty, but it was sure tasty!



Beef and Mushrooms

  • 1 lb stew beef chunks
  • 1 can beefy mushroom condensed soup
  • 1 large onion, chopped and browned
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic, also browned
  • 3 tbsp bacon grease
  • ⅓ c flour
  • 1 ½ cans water
  • Sliced mushrooms (I use a lot, you can add what you want)

In a cast iron skillet I melted and heated the bacon grease (I keep a container on the back of the stove and save it while cooking), and added the onions and garlic, cooking until almost clear. Then I browned the meat, and sprinkled the flour over this, stirring, until it cooked and soaked up all the grease. I dumped this into my slow cooker along with the can of soup, and then deglazed the skillet with the can and a half of water to get all the crispy bits and help with cleaning later. The beefy mushroom gravy mixture cooked on ‘slow-cook’ setting for 5 hours (I have an Aroma rice cooker/slow cooker, you can click on the icon below for more details).

Aroma Rice Cooker

You’re dying to know what the plums are about, aren’t you? Well, you know I’m adventurous with food. We also enjoy experimenting with drink, but we don’t actually drink that much, so I keep a bottle of white and red wine (mostly for cooking) and not a whole lot else. But a few months ago while we were roaming through Jungle Jim’s, I spotted a wine I wanted to try. Plum Wine sounded really neat, he had no interest in Sake, and I picked up a bottle. I honestly don’t remember what it cost, which is a good thing, because…

I was in a hurry (bad) didn’t read the label (double bad) and thought the label was pretty, so I grabbed it. When we checked a couple of days ago to see if it needed shilling, we realized something. Even though it SAID it was Plum Wine, it wasn’t. It was california white, with added plum flavoring and caramel color. Uh-OH… Now, we aren’t ingredient snobs, usually, so we chilled it. And last night, we opened it. Oh, dear ghod… It tasted like stewed prune wine. Very very sweet, prune flavored, and… I hate to waste. But honestly, I can’t think what we’d DO with this foul brew. Sigh… the mistakes we make and hopefully learn from.

Hokubai Plum Nasty
Plum Wine? Welll… the label was pretty.