Caribbean Rum Coconut Pie

I have been absent from this blog (but not from the kitchen) for a few months. There have been many recipes that haven’t made it from the kitchen to the computer – other priorities beckoned. I just returned from St. Croix and enjoyed many delicious fresh coconut dishes. The one thing I was craving was coconut cream pie – but there was none to be found on the island (I checked)  Here’s a great recipe I created today that is short on prep time and big on taste.

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Ingredients:

1 ready to bake rolled pie crust, brought to room temperature
1 1/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut
2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups half and half
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon good quality vanilla bean paste or extract

2 tablespoons dark rum

1 cup tru whip or cool whip, thawed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Carefully roll out pie crust onto 9 inch pie plate, using  pie weights to help keep shape. Bake 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool.

Decrease oven temperature to 230 degrees F.
Spread the coconut out evenly on a baking sheet and bake it, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 -10 minutes.
In a medium saucepan, combine the half-and-half, eggs, sugar, flour and salt and mix well. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Add rum and continue stirring consistently for 1 minite more. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in 3/4 cup of the toasted coconut and the vanilla extract.
Pour the filling into the pie shell and chill until firm, about 3-4 hours.
top with whipped topping and with the remaining coconut. Store leftovers lightly covered in the refrigerator.

Perfect Peach Cobbler

When I was buying peaches for my first Alpha Bakers project, I found a great local source for fresh picked peaches – so of course I had to go back for more. This peach cobbler is super easy to make, uses one of my favorite baking ingredients (those amazing candied walnuts from Trader Joe’s) and tastes delicious!

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Filling ingredients:

6 cups ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced into 1/2 inch slices

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Topping ingredients:

3/4 cup all purpose flour

3/4 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

8 ounces (1 stick) butter, cut into 1/2 inch chunks

1/2 cup candied walnuts (or chopped almonds, if you prefer)

2-3 tablespoons almond milk or water

pinch of salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In large bowl, toss peaches with lemon juice, then add all filling ingredients. Mix thoroughly and set aside to macerate at least 30 minutes. For the topping, place chunked butter in a plastic sandwich bag and place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Combine all of the ingredients in the bowl of a food processor except almond milk and pulse for 30 seconds.  Add chilled butter, then add almond milk one tablespoon at a time until mixture resembles coarse crumbs like this:

cobbler topping

Pour peach filling in a buttered 9 by 9 inch baking dish. Crumble topping evenly over top of peaches. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until peaches are bubbly and topping is medium brown. Cool 30 minutes, then serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

My new project – Rose’s Alpha Bakers

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Welcome to the Alpha Bakers bake along, an online project where a group of food bloggers bake our way through The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Most of the recipes made during this project will not be shared, but if you see something amazing and want to know about the recipe let me know and I will get it to you

I will still be posting original content – please check back often.

My first project is the Perfect Peach Galette. I live in northern California and it is right in the middle of peach season. Many of the big (and small) commercial farms are nearby. I love going to the local Farmer’s Markets and grab whatever is in season. This week I saw these amazing tree ripened Elberta Peaches from Auburn. The nice couple who own the farm said they had just been picked Saturday afternoon. I can’t wait to pick up some more next Sunday….

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So – this is the first time I have made crust from scratch in a while. This was not my finest effort, as the galette requires a very thin crust, and as you can see, mine is a little “chunky”…it was easy to assemble but getting it rolled out correctly was a challenge.

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It did come together pretty easily and looked great when I popped it in the oven. I used a Pampered Chef rectangular baking stone cookie sheet, and because I was worried it would stick, I used parchment paper too. The crust came out perfectly browned cooking it at the prescribed cooking time. I added some finishing sugar and a bit of cinnamon and it was really delicious! So much better than pie when you have fresh fruit. It tasted amazingly good. I will definitely make it again!

Strawberry Cottage Pudding Shortcake

I posted this almost 1 year ago today – and it is the first day I am making it again this year after purchasing some absolutely gorgeous strawberries from a roadside stand today. Go out and buy some strawberries – you must try this recipe!

Berries and Cocoa

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I was driving down Highway 65 today and I saw the first “fresh strawberries” sign of the spring by the road. I tried not to spin too much gravel as I quickly did a U turn and pulled off to the side of the road.  Let me tell you, if you have never had fresh-picked-that-morning strawberries from the farmer who grew them, then you are missing out on a foodie flavor treat that simply cannot be replicated. The strawberries that are grown commercially are much sturdier and firmer since they have to travel well and stay fresh for at least 10 days in the store. They are usually picked greener too. Its like the difference between a home grown tomato and the ones you get in the produce section of Safeway. This is a wonderful shortcake recipe that is a variation of  the original Cottage Pudding Cake that was featured…

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