Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lime Coconut Rum Pie

I've made dozens of desserts, including countless cookies, over the years, but if I had to point to the one I'm proudest of, it's the Lime Coconut Rum Pie I made for my parents when they were visiting for dinner one evening.

Taken from the Summer 2007 issue of Food and Drink, a fabulous free resource for home cooks, the recipe is similar to a Key Lime Pie only ever so slightly more decadent with the addition of dark rum to the whipped topping.

I made it back in 2007, when the issue came out, and I haven't tried it since -- in part because I don't know that any follow-up attempt would match up to my original effort. The buttery graham crumb base, the smooth, tart lime filling, the rum-spiked cream, and even the oven-toasted flaked coconut on top -- all the flavours melded together perfectly and the texture was light and creamy. There were so many opportunities for things to go wrong, but nothing did.

With spring on the way, my cravings are shifting from savoury and salty to fresh, sweet, and bright, which is why citrus flavours immediately pop to mind. I'm thinking this is the year to have another go at this sublime lime dessert. Who knows, maybe it'll even be better the second time around!

Lime Coconut Rum Pie

1 cup (250 mL) graham crumbs
1/2 cup (125 mL) ground almonds, toasted
3 tbsp (45 mL) sugar
1/3 cup (75 mL) butter, melted

1 cup (250 mL) sugar
5 tbsp (75 mL) cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
4 large egg yolks
1 tbsp (15 mL) unsalted butter
Finely grated zest of two limes
1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1 cup (250 mL) whipping cream
2 tbsp (25 mL) dark rum
1 tbsp (15 mL) sugar
2 tbsp (25 mL) flaked coconut, toasted
Lime for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).

Place the crumbs, almonds and sugar in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and mix until well blended. Tip the mixture into a buttered nine-inch (23 cm) pie dish and press evenly over the bottom and sides. Bake the pie shell for 10 minutes, then let cool.

In a heavy saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually whisk in 1 cup (250 mL) water and the milk, whisking until cornstarch is dissolved. Place the pan over medium heat and cook, whisking until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat.

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and then gradually whisk in about 1 cup (250 mL) of the milk mixture. Whisk this milk and yolk mixture back into the pan and then return the pan to the heat. Simmer, whisking often, for 3 minutes. The mixture will be very thick.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter. Add the lime zest and the juice and whisk into the mixture until butter is melted. Pour the lime-egg mixture into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, pressing onto the surface of the mixture, and let cool slightly. Spread the mixture into the baked pie shell, smoothing the top. Cover the filling with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Pour the whipping cream into a bowl and add the rum and sugar. Whip the cream until stiff and spoon onto the pie, swirl and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Garnish with lime zest if desired.

Courtesy Food and Drink, Summer 2007, LCBO

This dessert is fantastic if you're having family and/or friends over, and it's especially good in the warmer months -- which thankfully aren't that far away!



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