Posts Tagged ‘coconut’

Dreamy Coconut Cream Pie

Friday, February 12th, 2010
Coconut Cream Pie made with Dream Whip

Coconut Cream Pie made with Dream Whip

There was a small blip in history – I remember it well – when my mom jumped onto the cream pie bandwagon.  It had to be late 80s, maybe even the early 90s, when my mom would prepare these incredible cream pies; Banana Cream Pie, Coconut Cream Pie, Chocolate Cream Pie and so many other creamy flavors – all delicious.  Her secret…(quiet now)…Dream Whip. 

Ever heard of it?  If you are over 40, perhaps you have; Dream Whip is powdered non-dairy dessert topping mix that was invented in 1957 by the Birds Eye Division of General Foods. Yes, non-dairy topping – Ewww!  The sound of anything non-dairy scares me…but don’t give up on this post yet.  Dream Whip has its place in your cupboard, I promise. 

Kraft Foods, who has since merged with Birds Eye, now owns Dream Whip.  Kraft certainly has the whipped topping market cornered; they also own competitor Cool Whip and Redi-Whip, surprisingly.  The Kraft website states “With Dream Whip Topping Mix in your cupboard, you never need to go without a topping!”  Well there you go…you will never have to go without a whipped topping ever again with this fantastic little box of magical powder.  Thank goodness I never have “whipped topping” emergencies. 

Ok, so it doesn’t make the best topping….what is it good for then?   For starters, Dream Whip can be prepared and then mixed into cakes to add moisture and fluffiness.  It can also be mixed with pudding or other pie fillings to become a light, fluffy, dreamy mixture.  This is the absolute best use for it in my opinion.    

Go ahead, give Dream Whip a chance with this Coconut Cream Pie recipe. The addition of Dream Whip creates a velvety consistency that is unlike any other cream pie.  This Coconut Cream Pie recipe has another twist – it uses animal crackers for the pie crust instead of your usual graham cracker crust.  

Coconut Cream Pie

Dreamy Coconut Cream Pie 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 (1 1/3 ounce) envelopes Dream Whip brand whipped dessert topping mix
  • 2 3/4 cups cold milk, divided
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, toasted
  • 2 packages (4-serving size) JELL-O instant vanilla pudding
  • 1 ½ cups crushed animal crackers
  • 6 tablespoons of melted butter
  • ½ pint whipping cream

Directions: 

1.)  Prepare your crust by mixing the animal cracker crumbs together with the melted butter.  Pat them down into a pie plate, covering the sides and bottom.  Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.  Once it is baked, set aside to cool. 

Animal Crackers for Animal Cracker Crumb Crust

Crush these animal crackers for the perfect pie crust

2.)  If you haven’t toasted your coconut yet, do so now.  Simply place shredded coconut in the pan over low to medium heat, stirring constantly until this is browned slightly on the edges.   Set aside to cool. 

toasted coconut for inside the Coconut Cream Pie

Perfectly toasted coconut

3.)  Beat Dream Whip whipped topping mix and 1 cup of the milk in large bowl with electric mixer on high speed 6 minutes or until topping thickens and forms peaks. Add remaining 1 3/4 cups milk and pudding mixes; blend on low speed. Beat on high speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. 

4.)  Fold in ¾ cup of the toasted coconut.  Set the rest aside for the top. 

5.)  Spoon the mixture into your baked crust. 

6.)  Whip your  cream with a hand mixer until soft peaks form.  Spoon over your pie filling.  

7.)  Refrigerate at least 4 hours.  After it has filling has set, sprinkle the remaining coconut on the top of your pie before serving so it remains crisp. Serve and enjoy. 

Coconut Cream Pie with Whipped Cream topping

Hummingbird Cake…my version

Thursday, January 28th, 2010
My Version of Hummingbird Cake

My Version of Hummingbird Cake

Baking is a science. Unlike cooking which allows you to add a pinch of this and a tad of that to taste, baking recipes need to be followed to a tee.  Otherwise, the result can be disastrous.

I, like many great bakers, borrow recipes and ideas from the pros.  There are always certain things you can do to put your signature on a recipe and make it your own.  Let’s take Hummingbird Cake for example…there are so many variations of this cake out there for you to try.  My personal favorite is Paula Dean’s version of Hummingbird Cake. Her version is delicious as is, but I wanted to make this recipe my own and give it a personal twist.

As a guideline, I never mess with the amount or type of flour used in a recipe.  The leavening agents are also something I stay spot on with.  When it comes to sugar you can probably get away with adding a bit less, but I wouldn’t recommend changing the actual “type” of sugar. Brown sugar has more moisture than granulated sugar and some sweeteners such as Splenda or Equal don’t translate the same as granulated sugar.  I must not forget to mention that calorie-free sweeteners can leave an unpleasant aftertaste in your baked goods as well as cause them not to rise up. 

Changes should be subtle…adding a different kind of nut, chip or spice.  Making a recipe your own can even be as simple as adding slightly more of one ingredient.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a cuckoo for coconut – it is one of my favorite ingredients to work with.  Simply adding a ½ cup of sweetened flake coconut to this Hummingbird Cake created a whole new layer of flavor and a bit more texture.

The next twist I made on this Hummingbird Cake recipe was replacing the finely chopped pecans with more roughly chopped toasted pecans.

***Chefs Note on Toasting Pecans***

To toast pecans simply place them in a dry pan over medium heat.  Be sure to keep an eye on them and stir often.  Pecans have oil in them that left unattended can burn. And no one wants burnt nuts in their cake.  You will know when they are done when they smell aromatic and are slightly browned

toasted-pecan-hummingbird-cake

The last change I made to this Hummingbird Cake recipe was to kick up the cinnamon.  To bump up the warmth cinnamon can add, I increased the amount of cinnamon to 1 ½ teaspoons. 

I finished the cake with cream cheese icing, toasted coconut and whole toasted pecans. 

I am still learning about the science behind cake baking.  For more information on this topic check out these sites:

About.com – Baking Ingredient Science

WilliePrejean’s Baking and Baking Science

Hummingbird Cake

Ingredients
Serves 12

FOR THE CAKE

  • Nonstick vegetable spray
  •  All-purpose flour, for pans
  •  3 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  •  3/4 cup vegetable oil
  •  1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  •  2 very ripe large bananas, mashed
  • 1 (8-ounce) crushed pineapple, with juice
  •  1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 large eggs, beaten

 FOR THE FROSTING

  • 1 pound (1 box) confectioners’ sugar, (for the frosting)
  • 1 (8-ounces) cream cheese, room temperature (for the frosting)
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened (for the frosting)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, (for the frosting)
  • 1 tablespoon milk, or more if needed (for the frosting)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, (for the frosting)

****(My changes to this recipe include…adding ½ cup sweetened flake coconut, larger toasted pecans and ½ teaspoon more cinnamon)

Directions

1.   Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray and flour three 8-by-2-inch round cake pans, tapping out excess flour; set aside.

2.   Prepare the cake; in a large bowl, stir to combine self-rising flour, sugar, oil, pecans, bananas, pineapple, vanilla, cinnamon, and eggs.

3.   Divide batter evenly between prepared pans, smoothing with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the tops spring back when gently pressed with your fingertips, 26 to 28 minutes.

4.   Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Invert cakes onto wire rack. Re-invert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.

5.   Prepare the frosting; in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine sugar, cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milk on medium speed until frosting is smooth. If needed, add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, to achieve the proper spreading consistency.

6.   Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cakes to make level. Place four strips of parchment paper around perimeter of a serving plate or lazy Susan. Place the first layer on the cake plate. Spread the top of the first layer with 1/4 of the frosting. Place the second layer on top and repeat process with another 1/4 of the frosting. Place the remaining layer on top of the second layer bottom side up. Spread entire cake with remaining frosting. Sprinkle the top with pecans. Remove parchment paper strips; refrigerate until ready to serve.


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