Winter here this year was ROUGH. I’ve been referring to it as the never ending, relentless winter, because that’s how it felt to me. So many storms, so much snow, so much ice…….just so much winter. Those who follow me on Instagram know I’ve been training for a marathon and I’m not kidding when I say – I picked the wrong year to train. Even though I love running and racing, I’ve always been a bit of a fair weather runner…….especially when it comes to winter conditions. Typically, I take December through February off and try to get in more cross country skiing (aka my ONLY winter sport). But I’ve always wanted to run the Colorado Marathon which is in May every year……which meant I HAD to train this winter.
Needless to say, it was an adjustment. Like a BIG adjustment – especially mentally. This winter I had to suck it up and run no matter what the conditions were. And they weren’t the best. We’re talking roads that were sheets of ice and temps so cold that my quads and butt went numb. I bundled up like crazy for each run (I’m the chick who’s always cold and rocks a down coat in the office every day) and bought running shoes with cleats on them, so my klutzy self wouldn’t slip and die on the ice. I got mad at the weather and would curse out loud at the snow and wind. Which I’m sure made me look a little crazy…….nothing like running through a neighborhood muttering, “Eff you wind!” It was an experience to say the least. But at the end of the day, it made me a better runner and forced me to develop some extra grit that I know will help me in my race. Plus I feel like at total bad ass running in crazy weather.
Now you’re probably wondering why I’m talking about running instead of baking……but I have a point, I swear. One of the things I love most about baking is how adaptable certain recipes are. You can make a few adjustments and come out with a whole new dessert. It’s the perfect way to change up recipes for different seasons. The new dessert will have the same basic core of the original, but with a different vibe or feel. Which is kind of like us when we have to make adjustments in our life and adapt to changing conditions (uggghhh…….I sound like a cheesy motivational speaker – please forget I said that….but you have to admit I totally connected everything to an overall theme here).
This Meyer Lemon Coconut Cream Pie is essentially a riff on my Key Lime Pie. While the key lime version is perfect for summer, this coconut lemon one feels like the quintessential spring dessert to me. It has a coconut graham cracker crust, a lightly tart lemon filling and is topped with the dreamiest, fluffiest coconut whipped cream. And, like my Key Lime Pie, it’s relatively quick and easy to put together. So now that the never ending, relentless winter is (hopefully) over and spring is here, it’s time to get in the kitchen and whip up something bright and sunny like this pie!
Meyer Lemon Coconut Cream Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie
For the Graham Cracker Crust:
9 ounces graham crackers
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
For the filling:
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (preferably meyer lemons if you can find them)
For the Coconut Whipped Cream:
2 cups heavy whipping cream (make sure it’s very cold!)
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons canned full-fat coconut milk (not from a carton)
½ teaspoon powdered gelatin mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water
Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Butter an 8 or 9-inch pie tin.
To make the crust, place the graham crackers and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until very finely ground. Add in coconut and pulse about 5 times. Then add in the melted butter and process until evenly distributed and the mixture resembles damp sand.
Pour the graham cracker mixture into the pie tin and press evenly into the bottom and sides of the pan to form the crust. Bake for about 12 to 15 minutes or until the crust is set and golden.
To make the filling, place the egg yolks and lemon zest in a large bowl. Using a hand or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks and zest on high-speed until thick and shiny (about 3 to 4 minutes). With the mixer still running, slowly add in the sweetened condensed milk and beat until the mixture is very thick (about 3 minutes or so). Reduce the mixer speed to low and add in the lemon juice beat until just combined.
Pour the filling into the hot crust and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until the filling has just set. Place the pie on wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, place the pie in the fridge and let chill for at least one hour.
To make the coconut topping, heat the gelatin and water mixture in the microwave for about 5 seconds or until gelatin is dissolved and then set aside. Place the heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Then turn the mixer off and add in the gelatin, coconut milk, vanilla extract, and confectioner’s sugar. Continue beating on medium-high until stiff peaks form…..but be careful not to over beat!
Top the chilled pie with the coconut whipped cream and enjoy! If desired, you can top the pie with some toasted coconut flakes……just because it looks pretty.