Sunday, November 25, 2012

Lawry's Coconut Banana Cream Pie

One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving is putting our pinterest to good use and choosing delicious pie recipes that make us drool as we browse the endless sea of "so good!", "the best!", and "delicious!" that pinterest has to offer.  This is one of the (4) pies that we made this year!  It was my favorite for sure, and the favorite of many of our family members too.  The direct quote (that I kept because I'm too lazy to change what other people write when they pin it) from when I pinned it is: "Heads up coconut lovers, this pie is amazing, totally decadent, and the coconut crust is absolutely awesome. The crust takes it from ordinary to sublime."  Okay, if a recipe has amazing, decadent, and absolutely awesome in its description, it's got to be good.  No one would be that liberal with their choice of words unless it was true...

Well, luckily for me it was true.  How embarrassing to make a pie at Thanksgiving that is only "really good".

This pie was pretty awesome.  Absolutely awesome, if you will.  The coconut crust almost made a cookie or macaroon-ish crust that was so yummy.  The homemade vanilla pudding was great too.  If I ever want to make this pie in a crunch (most of the time comes from letting things chill before putting it together), I will just do a boxed vanilla pudding, although it wouldn't taste quite as yummy. 

So, thanks to Jan Can Cook, who took the time to scout out this recipe from L.A. Food Times, we can all enjoy "absolutely wicked awesome decadence" in the form of this pie. (You can quote me on that.)

Lawry's Coconut Banana Cream Pie 
adapted from Jan Can Cook

Active Work Time: 20 minutes * Total Preparation Time: 30 minutes plus 2 hours chilling 

Coconut Pie Shell 

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, plus more for pie plate 
3 cups sweetened flake coconut 

Lightly butter a 9-inch pie plate and set aside. 

Melt the 1/2 cup butter in a large skillet over medium heat and brown the coconut flakes, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. They should be golden brown. Press the coconut firmly and evenly in the pan to form a shell. Chill the crust 30 minutes before filling. 

Pie Filling 

4 egg yolks 
3/4 cup sugar, divided 
3 tablespoons cornstarch 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1/4 cup flour 
3 cups half-and-half, divided 
Yellow food coloring 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
2 bananas 
1 cup whipping cream 
1 tablespoon powdered sugar 

Combine the cornstarch and flour.  Pour a little at a time into a tightly sealed container with 1 cup of the half-and-half.  Shake vigorously until there are no lumps.  Continue to add the remaining flour/cornstarch mixture until no lumps remain.  Combine the egg yolks, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and salt in a small bowl. Gradually add the half-and-half mixture and whisk.

Combine the remaining 2 cups half-and-half and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a 3-quart saucepan and bring just to boil over medium heat. Add the egg mixture and cook and stir until the mixture returns to a boil and thickens, about 1 minute. 

Remove from the heat. Stir in 2 drops of food coloring and the vanilla. Cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool. 

Slice the bananas into the pie shell. Pour the filling into the shell. 

Whip the cream with the powdered sugar until stiff. Spoon in dollops or pipe with a pastry bag around the edge of the pie. Chill 2 hours before slicing. 

*Notes from my experience: 

It seemed like the coconut was going to be way too much to fit in the pie pan as a crust.  I got wax paper and pressed firmly until it resembled a crust.  This worked but it was a little hard to cut into afterwards.  Some readers from this website, Jan Can Cook, said the same thing, but others didn't have a problem with that.

Also, I changed the directions slightly to make the pudding recipe.  It said to mix the egg yolk with the dry ingredients, two of them being cornstarch and flour, which I did, then to mix them into the cup of half-and-half.  It wouldn't mix in with the liquid at that point.  It just made egg yolk clumps at the bottom of my bowl.  I had to scratch that and start over.  It worked well to mix it first with the cornstarch and flour, and then add the other ingredients. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Creamy Dreamy Pudding Pie

I had to give this an exciting name, because although this is the best way to make a pudding pie, you can't tell from this picture.  Just trust me.  Once you make this switch, you will never go back to regular, pasty pudding pie. I'm not sure where this came from, maybe the back of a pudding box years ago, but it is the only way I ever make a pudding pie now.

Creamy Dreamy Pudding Pie

1 small box of instant pudding, any flavor
1 1/4 cup milk
1 8 oz. carton cool whip
1 prepared pie crust
shaved chocolate, mini chocolate chips, toasted coconut, bananas or whatever you want to garnish your pie with

In a large bowl, mix the pudding and milk until well mixed.  Add approximately 2/3 of the cool whip to the pudding and stir it gently.  Pour it into your pie crust and smooth it out.  Spread the remainder of the cool whip over the top.  If you would like, sprinkle something yummy on the top of the pie.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pumpkin Roll Pancakes

Heaven.  Given that pumpkin rolls are my favorite dessert, you can imagine my excitement to try these pancakes on for size.  And, as Our Best Bites say themselves, they're not as dessert-ish and unhealthy as you might think.  I even tweaked the recipe a little bit to make them even more healthy even less unhealthy:)  

If you can believe it, I had never tried real maple syrup until this year!  In all honesty, at first I didn’t think I liked it in place of my oh-so-familiar imitation-flavored maple syrup on breakfast foods; however, I had it with these, and in combination with the cream cheese topping it was so amazing!  If you can, I would definitely recommend splurging for the pure maple syrup.  It just adds decadence to the pancakes.  (Can pancakes be decadent?  Yep.)

Pumpkin Roll Pancakes
Idea completely credited to the wonderful minds of Our Best Bites (Thank you so much!)
Recipe slightly adapted from Our Best Bites

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
3/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon applesauce
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 eggs
2/3 cup pumpkin puree

Cream Cheese Whipped Cream
4 ounces cream cheese (low fat is fine, no fat free)
4 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup whipping cream (heavy or regular) whipped until medium peaks form


4 ounces cream cheese
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Lite Cool Whip*

Pure maple syrup for serving

*(I folded in starting with about a cup until I reached the desired consistency and sweetness.  Remember this topping is meant to be less sweet than typical Pumpkin Roll filling; it makes it feel more breakfastyJ)

Prepare whipped cream by beating cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth and creamy.  Take 1/2 of the whipped cream (that you already whipped) and beat it in until smooth.  Add the rest of the whipped cream and use a spatula to gently fold in (do not beat).  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.   

Prepare pancakes.  Whisk together flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.  Make sure to break up any clumps of brown sugar.  In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, vanilla, oil, eggs and pumpkin.  Combine wet ingredients with dry and gently combine until mixed.  Do not overmix.

Heat a nonstick griddle to medium heat.  When hot, use butter or nonstick spray to coat the pan.  Drop 1/4 cup pancake batter to form each pancake and cook until edges set (if you wait until they bubble, it might be just a bit too long).  Flip pancakes and cook remaining side.
Serve warm pancakes with a dollop of cream cheese topping and a drizzle of maple syrup.

Makes 12-14 large pancakes.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Perfect Pie Crust

This is the perfect pie crust.  I know because the recipe told me that it was.  And then it said something in French.  So it must be.  And I have to say, it was the best crust I have ever made.  And when you see how much butter is in this, you won't be surprised at how flaky, buttery and delicious it is.  It would be worth trying this with a little less butter (Nicole, I leave that to you).  For the purpose of my Relief Society Pie Making Class that I taught, I kept all that artery clogging deliciousness in it.  After all, I wouldn't want to mess with perfection!

Perfect Pie Crust (double crust recipe)
adapted from:

2 1/2 c. flour
1 c. unsalted butter, very cold, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
6-8 Tbsp. ice water

A tip that the above website gave was to cut the butter into cubes and then freeze it for at least 15 minutes. I read on multiple websites that very cold butter is a key to a successful pie crust.  I did that, then combined the flour, salt and sugar in a medium bowl.  When my butter was chilled, I dumped it into the flour mixture.  I followed directions very closely on this recipe (which I rarely do, but I really wanted this crust to turn out right).  I followed the ingredients exactly, but it was suggested to do the crust in a food processor.  Mine isn't big enough, so I did it the old fashioned way, which I prefer anyway, and used a pastry blender and some muscle to cut in the butter until the crumbs were pea sized.  A tablespoon at a time, add the ice water.  In between tablespoons, using a fork, squish the water and the flour mixture together until it forms a ball.  Another key to a successful pie crust is to not add too much water.  When you have enough water that you can form it into a ball (even if it is still flaky) that is enough.  Place the dough ball on the table and smash it into two discs with the palm of your hand.  According to, this will flatten the butter between the layers of the flour and make your crust extra flaky.  Kind of like some people I know...  Wrap the discs in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 1 hour, or up to 2 days.  After an hour, take out one disc and let it sit for a few minutes.  Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface into a 12 inch circle.  Place the crust into your pie tin and gently press it onto the bottom and sides.  Add your pie filling.  Roll out the second disc into a 12 inch circle.  Lay it over the top of the pie and pinch the edges to seal it.  And then you can try to make it look pretty.  However, it is really unnecessary to do that because this pie is so flaky and yummy that it won't matter if you made it look pretty, or not.  You will want to make sure and either poke some holes with a fork in the top, or make a slit or two, to release the steam while it cooks.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Thanksgiving Turkey

I cooked a turkey.  That deserves it's own sentence because I think I've only done this one or two other times.  I am right smack in the middle of a big family, so I am never in charge of the turkey at Thanksgiving.  Pies, yes, sweet potatoes, yes (the day we ate this turkey, I nearly burned Jen's house down while roasting the marshmallows on top of the sweet potatoes).  For this turkey, I wanted to try something different.  Something daring.  Something involving bacon.  Actually, I found this recipe on allrecipes and it got amazing reviews and I happened to have what I needed, so it was the winner.  It is called Sherry's German Turkey Recipe.  Maybe they eat turkey this way in Germany?  If you are German, let me know.  I prepared it the night before, which was lovely.  And it was good.  Very good.  It was deliciously moist and flavorful.  So if you happen to be the turkey maker for Thanksgiving, give this one a shot.

Bacon Wrapped Turkey
adapted from: (Sherry's German Turkey)

1 whole turkey, neck and giblets removed
1 onion, cut in half
1 large carrot, peeled and cut in half
1 stalk celery (I didn't use this)
1 apple, stem removed and cut in half
1 orange, yes, you guessed it, cut in half
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. pepper
1 tsp. Lawry's season salt
1 pound sliced, smoked bacon
1 turkey oven bag

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Rinse the turkey and pat it dry with paper towels.  Shove the carrot, celery, onion, apple and orange into the cavity of your bird.  Think of this like a puzzle.  You may have to move things around to get it to work, but it will all fit in there.  Rub the oil all over the outside of the turkey and then sprinkle the salt, pepper and season salt on the bird and rub it all over as well.  Put the turkey into an oven bag (follow your oven bag's directions at this point.  Mine said to shake flour around inside the bag before putting the turkey in.  Just be obedient to the directions on the oven bag prep.)  Set the turkey (inside the oven bag) in a roasting pan.  Lay the strips of bacon all over the outside of the turkey.
One pound is a lot of bacon, so I was able to cover the turkey and then cover it some more.  Right now, you can either cook the turkey, or if you are doing this the night before, put it in your fridge until morning.  If you are cooking it, tie up the bag and make slits in it (again, follow whatever directions come with the bag).  Roast the turkey for about 4 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 180 degrees (taken at the thickest part of the thigh).  When it is done, let it rest for 20 minutes, or so.
I didn't take any pictures of the finished product, but it looked just like this except the bacon was cooked!
Fruliche Geburtstag tsu dier!  (That actually means Happy Birthday to you, because I don't know how to say Happy Thanksgiving.)