Pie #36 – Grapefruit and Coconut Angel Pie

Greetings and Happy August. It’s still hot in Texas. Pie number 36 comes courtesy of my wife Tammi, and The Gourmet Cookbook, by Ruth Reichl. This one is unique for its pie crust, which is originated, if you will,  from coconut meringue. The recipe was mildly complex, so I leaned into the making of it.  Now my back is sore:) I didn’t want to take anything to chance so I spent some time studying the recipe before baking, and while I was creating it. I didn’t stretch because I didn’t realize it was going to be an exercise. And, action…

The crust!:

4 large egg whites left at room temperature for about 30 minutes

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp.  cream of tartar

1 cup sugar

1 cup sweetened flake coconut

3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Place rack in center of oven and pre-heat oven to 250F. In a bowl with an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the salt until they are foamy, beat in the cream of tartar, and beat the whites until they hold soft peaks. Beat in the sugar, a little at a time, beat the meringue for 5 to 7 minutes, or until it is stiff and glossy and the sugar dissolved; fold in the coconut.

Brush a small amount of the melted butter along the sides and bottom of your pie pan and place in fridge for about 3 minutes. Remove and brush your remaining butter along sides and bottom of pie pan.

Drop heaping tablespoons of the meringue evenly around the edge of a 9.5 inch pie plate, spreading the meringue with the back of the spoon to form the side of the shell, and spread the remaining meringue evenly over the bottom of the pie plate. Bake the shell in the middle of a preheated 250F. oven for 1 1/4 hours, or until meringue is firm and very pale golden, turn off the oven, and let the shell cool completely in the oven with the door ajar, about 45 minutes.

The filling!:

Grapefruit and Coconut Angel Pie

1 envelope (about 1 tbsp) unflavored gelatin

3/4 cup strained fresh grapefruit juice

4 large egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup well-chilled heavy cream

2 cups fresh grapefruit sections (cut from about 3-5 large grapefruit), cut into 1/2-inch pieces and drained well

fresh grapefruit sections for garnish if desired

Using a sieve over a medium size bowl, remove grapefruit from peel and membrane and place in sieve to allow collection of juice. This is going to take you a while. I enjoy making pie; it was still a pain in the butt.

In a small bowl sprinkle the gelatin over 1/4 cup of the grapefruit juice and let it soften for 1 minute. In a small saucepan whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar, add the remaining 1/2 cup grapefruit juice, the gelatin mixture, and a pinch of salt, and cook the mixture over moderate heat, whisking, until it registers 160F on a candy thermometer. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, cook about 3-4 minutes.

Transfer the yolk mixture to a metal bowl set in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and whisk it constantly until mixture is thickened to the consistency of raw egg white but is not set. Remove the smaller bowl from the bowl of ice and cold water and reserve the bowl of ice and cold water for later use. In another metal bowl with an electric mixer beat the cream cheese until it is light, fluffy, and smooth, scraping down the side, add the yolk mixture, a little at a time, beating, and beat the mixture until it is smooth and joined well.

Set the bowl containing the cream cheese mixture in the reserved bowl of ice and cold water and whisk the cream cheese mixture until mixture is thickened and forms a peak when you remove whisk. In a bowl beat the heavy cream until it holds stiff peaks and whisk about one-fourth of it into the cream cheese mixture. Fold in the remaining whipped cream gently but thoroughly and fold in the grapefruit pieces.

Pour the filling into the shell, smooth the top, and chill the pie, uncovered, for 3-4 hours, or until the filling sets completely. (If the pie will be chilled for more than 4 hours, cover it with plastic wrap or wax paper.) Just before serving garnish the pie with the grapefruit sections if desired.

The grapefruit is subtle in the taste of the pie, as is the cream cheese. Good balance. The texture of the grapefruit, coconut and the meringue crust is something I like. Tam likes it which is saying something considering she’s not a big pie person. The kids pooh-pooh it though. They aren’t fans of the grapefruit.  Ah well, adult scale is positive, kid scale is fail.  I’m also happy for the selection. It was a good one. Thanks honey.