I am not sure why I called it Grandma’s Pie. Just seems like something a Grandmother would make. Especially here in the south. My Grandmother wasn’t a fantastic cook. Ethnic recipes yes, some baking yes, overall no. My GreatGran, yes. My other Gran Ruth (Mom’s mother-in-law #1) yes. Most of our recipes come from Ruth, she is the woman who raised my mom. My mother was married very young. Ethel (my gran) was too busy to often be a domestic queen. She had her moments though and came shining through with lentils. Aunt Happy could do some damage to pies, cookies and the such. I also have a deck of her recipes granted to me when I was young.
I honestly don’t know the origins of this recipe. It’s written on a super faded card in the back of my recipe stash. The card itself could be indicative of where it came from, it’s an actual recipe card with very mustard colored print. I had several cookbooks given to me when I was 16 from a family member. One was the Williamsburg Cookbook that was over 80 years old. Tucked inside marking pages for hearty stews and breads, was this card and many more like it. The book was inside a ziplock bag to preserve it along with other church pamphlets (recipe clippings) from the greater Virginia area. I still pack them in ziplock. I am terrified they would end up wet, destroyed or ruined. The great thing about the web, I can now share them with you and preserve them digitally! Woot!
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (6 oz)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 dash salt
- 1/4 cup butter, cold and cut in small pieces (1/2 stick) I let mine sit out and soften just makes life easier
- 1/8 cup vegetable shortening, cold and cut in small pieces
- 2 ounces water, very cold
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice, cold
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups 2% low-fat milk
- 3 egg yolks, beaten
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract ( I actually shaved a vanilla bean for this, I rarely use extract I just don’t tell you that)
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut (optional)
- 2 cups heavy cream, cold
- 1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1/3 cup toasted shredded coconut
- PIE CRUST: Place flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor; pulse briefly to combine. Pulse in the butter and shortening just until coarse crumbs form, about 20 seconds. Add water and lemon juice and pulse just until moist crumbs form, about 10 seconds. Some say it should look like oatmeal. Mine I say looks like dry play-dough. Not quite dead but on its way out the door.
- Turn the dough onto a work surface and gently shape it into a disk about 5″ in diameter. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 1 day. You can freeze them for up to 2 months. My tip on that wrap tightly then place in an airtight container. I actually will roll my crust out, cut and then gently tube roll them on to parchment paper. Yes just like the pie crust you buy! The savings however is even greater. I can make ten crusts for the $1.98 I buy 2 for.
- Preheat oven to 400°F Roll out dough and place over a deep dish pie pan, crimping the edges. Prick with fork all over and bake for 12 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.
- FILLING: In a saucepan, combine sugar, flour, salt, and milk. Using a whisk, mix well, stirring constantly over medium/med-high heat until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Continue whisking while boiling for 1 minute then remove from the heat (but keep burner on). If you were using REAL vanilla bean as I mentioned above, this is where you would scrape and add it. VB needs time to marry in flavor and release its oils. Adding here allows the heat to release and then sit while other ingredients are added. If using extract then your step is below. I sound so elitist about it, trust me, try it once you’ll love it!
- To the egg yolks, stir in about 1/4 cup of cream to temp (cream) the yolks. Slowly whisk the yolk mixture back into the saucepan and cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly. This is where most people burn their filling. It always helps to have an extra pair of hands in the kitchen the first few times you make this. You really need to keep that whisk gently going going going.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, extract, and optional coconut, mixing well. Allow to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Ok by occasionally I mean a few whisks every 30-60 seconds. You want to keep that vanilla bean moving (is used) and those molecules all mashed together to keep the foundation of the filling solid. Plus the extra stir and air helps cool consistently.
- Place the bananas (if using) into the pie crust in a single layer, cutting in half to fit as needed, leaving a little space between. Pour filling over bananas into cooled crust and refrigerate.
- CREAM TOPPING: Using an electric mixer and the whip attachment, whip cream to soft peaks. Add remaining ingredients and whip to firm peaks (moving the whisk around while whipping). Spread over filling, piling high. Sprinkle with toasted coconut if desired. Who-ever in the sam-hell puts meringue on top of a creamy pie is just bonkers. Yes if that’s you, your bonkers. I appreciate meringue for its aesthetic. It however tastes like a fart, all hot air with no substance. How that could ever be yummy on anything I will never know.
- Refrigerate pie for at least 2 hrs before serving. This is really important. If you are taking your pie to a party or a picnic with your love, keep it on ice. Chilled, or somehow cool. CoConut needs that chilly blast to have its flavors stabilized and all perfect in the filling. Sounds technical I know even for me, but its true. The components of the filling break down and without further Mr. Wizard mambo jambo it doesn’t taste the same as chilled. You KNOW when you have an icebox pie in your mouth opposed to one that’s been sitting on the table for 45 minutes.