If at first you don’t succeed, maybe try something else

I actually do have a lot of pictures of coffee and croissants stored on my phone, but it seems really sad to post them now, when those shops are empty and closed, and the thought of wandering into a coffee shop on my way to work seems weird and alien. Heck, after almost two months of holing up at home, the thought of walking to work at all seems like an action belonging to another lifetime.

Now I brew my own coffee every morning and make my own baked goods, and even though every now and then I’m tempted to try making croissants, it’s hard to think of sinking so much precious butter into a single recipe.

Most of our cooking now revolves around the fun intersection of “what do we have in the pantry/freezer” and “what will the kids eat?” We’ve been making a lot of comfort food, and knowing that K loves coconut (I’ve been learning to love it), I decided to use up some of our shredded coconut and coconut milk with a coconut cream pie.

Then all of our bananas from Costco overripened practically overnight, and I thought: how about banoffee pie? A friend of ours had made it a couple of months ago and the flavors had been delicious. How about a coconut cream banoffee pie? With coconut in the pie crust, dulce du leche and bananas on the bottom, topped with a fluffy coconut cream custard, piled high with whipped cream, and (because why not overdo it) toasted shredded coconut sprinkled on top?

Things actually went pretty swimmingly for the most part despite my mucking about with the concept – the crust slipped down into the pan during parbaking despite the pie weights, I’m blaming the coconut in the dough – until I got to the whipped cream. I had some coconut milk left over from the custard, and decided to fold the rest of it into the whipped cream.

The cream did not whip. I tried all my tricks. I hit it with an immersion blender, whisked it by hand, added more sugar, chilled it and tried again, added a bit of sour cream for stability, put it in the stand mixer, basically dirtied half the dishes in the kitchen, and after dinner only managed to get a sad slump of soft cream onto the pie. In my distraction I even forgot the toasted coconut (which I’d managed, miraculously, not to burn.)

K, being a gentleman, pointed out that the pie was still delicious, but I was determined to get this right. After consulting the internet (which I should have done in the first place), I found that canned coconut milk tended to have stabilizers to keep it from clumping up in the can, and I should have gotten some mythical “full-fat coconut milk without stabilizers” to whip up. Oh well. Instead of trying to whip it up again, I cut my losses and used the sad creamy mess in place of cream in my favorite cream scone recipe (they baked up quite nicely, and the hint of coconut was a really neat touch). The kids gave them such rave reviews that I barely managed to snag a few for a photo.

The nice thing about making a recipe that you’re quite familiar with is that you know what consistency of dough you’re going for; the mixture was a little wet but I added in enough flour to get it where it needed to be.

Then I whipped real cream with nothing else in it, and finally was able to top the coconut banoffee cream pie as it deserved.

Comfort foods are extra comforting when they turn out perfectly.

Neither of the kids liked it, by the way, so they’ve been eating Jell-O and Easter chocolates. Figures. More pie for us!

2 thoughts on “If at first you don’t succeed, maybe try something else

  1. It all sounds delicious! And your creativity, both in enhancing a recipe and rescuing a (n almost) disaster, is inspiring. That’s just the kind of cooking/baking I (used to) love to do……keep posting so I can do it vicariously.

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