You gotta love Moms... and I love mine!
Spending time with my mother today, talking about food and her life growing up in Pennsylvania was a very special time for us both. This sunday, and Mother's Day, will mark the 50th anniversary of her mother, my grandmother, passing away from ovarian cancer. Watching my mother's eyes light up recalling a special moment when she baked for her mother as surprise was heartwarming, funny, and a special moment that I will always treasure. We all have special memories of our mothers, and this was one for my mom.
Of course being a blond hair, blue eyed Pennsylvania girl, marring the love of her life, moving to Oklahoma as a new bride, raising two boys and a husband, one might think mom was "outnumbered" when it came to cooking; not at all. While my father was doing most of the "savory" in our family kitchen, mom took care of "sweet". Mom also made sure her boys helped out when we "got in the way". She taught my brother and I to use recipes, saw from the get go my little brother Ari could only be trusted with a can opener, and made sure her eldest son (that would be ME) had support and skills to handle the kitchen on his own. Mom knows skills and talent when she sees it. Clearly.
Listen as my mother tells stories from the past. Stories of feeding those two boys in a small Oklahoma town, teaching baking skills to her sons and grandsons, and a whole lot of filler in between. What you can't miss and have to try is Mom's Coconut Cream Pie. My family, immediate and extended, only care about one thing during a family celebration or food holiday: Is Claudia bringing coconut cream pie?
Happy Mother's Day to all you moms... with us in person, or in memory. You are always in our hearts.
CLAUDIA's COCONUT CREAM PIE
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 cups half-n-half
- 4 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup flaked coconut
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons coconut extract
- 1 baked nine-inch pastry shell
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Toast the coconut flake in an oven until lightly golden.
- for the filling: combine sugar and cornstarch in a pan. Mix the four egg yolks and half-n-half in a separate bowl, and add to the sugar and cornstarch. Slowly bring to just below a boil. Mix and scape down sides constantly.
- After the filling is cooked and thickened, remove from heat. Add vanilla and coconut extract flavorings, and combine well.
- one tablespoon at a time, stir in pads of butter. Combine well. Fold in toasted coconut.
- Place your coconut cream filling into a shallow bowl to chill. Hot filling into the baked shell will yield a soggy crust. Chilling first insures a crisper crust. It's your call.
- Fill the baked shell with cool filling. Before serving whip the heavy whipping cream with desired amount of sugar and vanilla to make your own perfect cream topping. Spoon on generously, slice, and serve with a smile from Claudia!
Side note: There is one specific joke I tell guests joining me on the podcast and before I hit "record"...only to lighten the mood and break any nervousness. It involves "curtains". Mom thought she understood, and the moment was classic "Mimi". :-)