Tuesday, 27 May 2008

coconut cream pie cupcakes...a culinary memory recaptured from the past

i had the wondrous good fortune of living in Bali for a year and a half from July 1998 - November 1999. and while i was there i fell in love with this fabulous restaurant called the 'Dirty Duck' or 'Bebek Benggil' in Indonesian. it was located in Ubud, where i was living and although this was certainly a good thing, it didn't do well for my waistline as my favourite food to eat there was their coconut cream pie. it was simply divine. pie crust, coconut custard filling and meringue topping. the absolute perfect dessert and i went back there time and time again to have a piece even on holiday trips i always made sure i stopped in for a piece of coconut cream pie...if you're ever there then make sure you do too...there is really nothing better than sitting in that amazing restaurant eating delicious pie and gazing out over the rice fields of Bali.

so i have been thinking of how i could re-create it in a cupcake form (of course) and have searched around for recipes but couldn't find anything that really fit the way i wanted it to go. until the other day when i found a recipe for coconut custard that sounded perfect for the filling. for the rest i settled on a vanilla cupcake and for the topping a meringue sprinkled with dried coconut. and the result...

just perfectly coconut cream pie-ish. i couldn't have asked for a better re-creation. the first mouthful brought back such memories of that coconut ceam pie i devoured so shamelessly on so many occasions in Bali! it was light, flavourful and oh-so-floaty! the whole combination just went together so perfectly...ok enough descriptions...now down to the nitty-gritty of making these...

the most time-consuming part is of course the coconut custard...but then you have to figure that in for any custard you make. but it definitely tastes better when you do it yourself. this custard turned out light and creamy.

4 large egg yolks
3 cups coconut milk
2/3 cups sugar
5 T. cornstarch
1/4 t. salt

prepare an ice bath and set aside.
in a bowl, whisk egg yolks and set aside.
in a saucepan whisk together coconut milk, sugar, cornstarch and salt. bring to a simmer and cook for about 3 mins, whisking constantly.
whisk a quarter of the hot milk mix ito egg yolks and then whisk in remaining mixture.
strain into a clean saucepan and cook over medium heat for about 4 mins, whisking constantly until custard is thick.
transfer to a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto surface.
set in ice bath until completely chilled - about 45 mins.

for the cupcake i thought a plain ol' vanilla would suffice, after all we don't want anything overpowering that fabulous coconut flavour now do we....?

1 1/2 cups plain flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 cup milk

in a small bowl sift flour, baking powder and salt.
in a large bowl, whisk together sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla until smooth. alternately whisk in flour mixture and milk. beat until smooth.
scoop batter into prepared pan and bake in a preheated oven for 20-25 mins until golden brown. cool on a wire rack.

and finally the topping...a perfect white meringue. i just love the look of it all shiny and white when it comes out of the mixer...

1/4 t. cream of tartar
reserved 4 egg whites
1/3 cup sugar

add cream of tartar to egg whites and beat with electric mixr on high speed until frothy (about 45 seconds).
add one tablespoon of sugar and continue beating on high speed adding one tablespoon at a time until the whites for stiff peaks. pipe on to the cupcakes and return to the oven for 5-6 mins.

what a perfect cupcake and even more so because of the fond memories it brings back to the tastebuds...i love when you manage to re-create a favourite dish...


Michele said...

I think I just gained 10 lbs by reading over your blog! I'm so happy I stumbled upon you... your treats look so yummy!



giz said...

I just found your blog - just love the coconut cream pie cupcake - terrified to try it - I might like them a little too much. Talk about retro love.

The Caked Crusader said...

Oh my, these look great.
One question - do you spoon the custard into the raw cupcake batter so it cooks in the cupcake?

Unknown said...

hi michele...welcome! sorry for the weight gain ;) side effect of cupcake addiction!

hi giz...a warm welcome to you too! you WILL like these too much especially if you are a fan of coconut!

hey caked crusader, thanks for that question...just realised that i totally forgot to write about the assembly process in my post...will go back and do that now! i used the cone method...cutting out the centre of the cupcake and spooning the custard in ;)

Anonymous said...

They look so luscious Sinead, I like how the filling just oozes out!

Unknown said...

hi lorraine...ya i think i cut it a bit too soon in my impatience to do a taste-test...but it sure looks tempting in the photo ;)

Stef said...

That's so neat that you were able to recreate the taste you loved in a cupcake! Looks great!

Unknown said...

hi stef...it really was great...brought back such memories

Aimée said...

Of course the coconut in Bali would really taste like coconut, too. That probably made all the difference. Adorable cupcakes!

Unknown said...

hi aimee...well yes the coconut in bali does taste good ;) but i must admit that my little effort made all the way here in Dublin, tasted as good as it gets

Anonymous said...

These look (and sound) delicious! I think I might have to give them a try. :)


P.S. Thank you for welcoming me to the world of food blogging. :)

Faery said...

Oh my God this sounds sooo delicious, coconut is one of my favorites I even have a coconut "tree" ( coconut palm) in the backyard

Unknown said...

hi stephanie, let me know how they go for you if you do give them a try :)

hey faery, i'm so envious you have a coconut tree in the garden! how perfect!

marae said...

ooooh that sounds amazing, miss fairy...i am bookmarking it to try!!! i also want to do a banana cream pie one too, YUMMERS.

Anonymous said...

I am definitely going to give your recipes a try! Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

hi mara, banana cream pie sounds delicious too! i must explore further ;)

hey food and field...thanks for dropping by. let me know if you try any of the recipes and how they work out for you!

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

Oh, can you send me one...please! You were lucky to spend so much time in a tropical land. I'm going to flag this recipe and give it a whirl!
Shari@Whisk: a food blog

Faery said...

LOL ;0)

Unknown said...

hi shari...let me know how it goes if you do try them...i always love to hear about other people's experiments with recipes ;)

Honeyed Hashette said...

Airy Fairy! How did you know that coconut cream pie is my all time favorite pie?! I am bookmarking this to try as soon as possible!

Unknown said...

hi janna! i hope u do try them out...because for me...they were just like the real thing except perfectly sized...one whole portion all for me and no need to share ;)

Jennifer said...

OMG that looks soo good! I think it may be above my level of skill, can you send me some!

Unknown said...

hi cheryl...i'm sure you can definitely do it! give it a try...it is well worth it!

Patty O. said...

I happened upon your blog and think I am in heaven! I definitely need to try these coconut cream cupcakes since coconut cream pies are my husband's favorites. One question, though: did you cook the meringue on and then cut it and use the cone method for the custard? Thanks! Also, have you ever tried topping with whipped cream instead of meringue?

Unknown said...

hi patty, welcome to my space...glad u like coconut cream pie and wanna try the cupcakes. i didn't bake on the meringue first, i cut the cone out of the cupcake and filled with the custard. then i piped on the meringue and returned the cupcakes to the oven to brown and cook the meringue. and funnily enough, yes i have tried these with cream on top (a few days later when i made them again) and everyone who tried it thought it tasted better with the cream so i'd definitely use cream for future batches. hope this helps :)