The Mad Cake Batter

sweet treats and savory deets


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Pistachio Coconut Cream Pie

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers and soon-to-be fathers out there! Though my father’s actual gift isn’t until next weekend (Yankee Tickets and dinner in Little Italy!!), I still had to make a little something to celebrate this day. My father happens to love both pistachios and coconut so I just had to make this pie from Blackbirds Four & Twenty Pie Book; it was just too good to pass up!

A few things to keep in mind: it was always a  good idea to read the recipe fully to know what you are up against (also to make sure that you have all the ingredients, that’s a given, or should be). With this recipe, you have minutes between one thing to the next. Make sure you are prepped and ready to go and have things close by to you. I read and reread multiple times while making this pie to make sure I absolutely knew what my next steps were. And, as always, have fun!

THE CRUST pcc3

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 TBS shelled pistachios, raw and unsalted
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 TBS unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 TBS granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt

In a dry medium-size skillet, toast the pistachios over medium heat until fragrant, 7-9 minutes; shake the pan or stir frequently to prevent burning. Pour into a shallow dish and allow to cool, about 10 minutes. Toast the coconut in the same skillet over medium-low heat, 2-3 minutes or until lightly golden. Add immediately to the pistachios.

Once cool, pour the toasted pistachios and coconut plus sugar and salt into a food processor. Process until finely chopped and the mixture looks homogenous. the crumbs will stick together slightly when ready.

Pour the crumbs into an ungreased, 9-inch pie plate. Spread evenly over the bottom. Create a circle about 1 inch in to separate the crumbs for the sides from the crumbs fort he bottom. Start pressing the outer ring of crumbs evenly up the sides and ingot he corner of the pan. Press the remaining crumbs evenly over the bottom to meet the sides. Freeze until solid.

** I found the crust to be a bit salty. Next time I will probably nix the salt and maybe make it less crumbly with some butter 🙂 My mom suggested crushed animal crackers, hmmm…

THE FILLING & TOPPINGpcc2

  • 2/3 cup shelled pistachios, raw and unsalted
  • 2 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 5 large egg yolks, whisked
  • 6 TBS cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 to 3 inch strip lime zest
  • 3 TBS unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 TBS confectionary sugar

Chop the pistachios in a food processor to medium to fine pieces. Add the chopped nuts to a heavy-bottomed saucepan along with the whole milk. Bring the milk just to a boil over medium heat, remove the pan front he heat and cover. Set aside to steep for 15-20 minutes.

Have the whisked egg yolks ready in a large bowl. In a large heavy saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch, granulated sugar, and salt. Whisk in the coconut milk and add the strip of lime zest. Strain the pistachios from the milk, then add the milk to the saucepan and whisk until combined. Cook over medium-high heat stirring constantly, until bubbling and thick, about 5 minutes. Once the mixture boils, cook for about 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat. pcc

Slowly and carefully stream one-third of the hot milk mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly to prevent the yolks from cooking. Stream in the remaining hot milk, and then return the mixture to the saucepan. Have a large bowl set aside with a fine-mesh sieve to strain the mixture through. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil, 1-2 minutes. Strain through the sieve, using a spatula to push it through. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming.

Add the butter, 1 TBS at a time until mixed completely. Stir in lime juice. Pour into the prepared crust and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. * They suggested putting cling wrap onto the filling, I keep on forgetting I don’t have any, and it was fine without it.

In an electric mixer, beat the cream on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the TBS of confectionary sugar and continue to beat on medium-low speed until stiff peaks four. Spread cream over filling, serve and enjoy!


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Coconut oil: Is is all True?

This winter has been the most brutal winter we have seen in a while, at least on the east coast. I for one struggled with keeping my skin hydrated. I was constantly putting on lotion, but no matter how often I reapplied, my skin was still very dry… and I never had this problem in previous winters. I started looking for other things to that could help with my skin woes. Coconut oil has been named as a “cure-all” for these types of issues. Can it be true? Can this oil be the solution to all our problems?

It is said that Coconut oil helps with digestion, heart disease, immune system, weight loss, etc. I am not suggesting to start eating spoonfuls of the stuff (that would be just gross), but can this oil really have these many benefits? And if so, what about the other oils? I set out to do some research on the Google machine and a little experimentation of my own….

Cooking and Baking: I bought coconut oil on a whim last year. Not having a lot of knowledge on the product, I decided to use it to sauté veggies one night for dinner. I used a couple of tablespoons with veggies and put them with some pasta. My boyfriend and I found the end result…. interesting. It didn’t have a coconut taste exactly but it definitely created a different taste to the veggies. I then started substituting it for butter and vegetable oils when baking and, as you have seen in my previous posts, I have loved the end result.

Coconut oil can also sustain a higher level of heat and not have a negative effect like extra-virgin olive oil which will lose its taste if heat is used.

Skin Care: Coconut oil is found in certain chapstick ingredients, soaps, etc. I tried some coconut oil on my hands, especially on dry areas, and it worked! It leaves your skin slightly oily and eventually dries, but the dry patches were gone later that day and lasted a couple of days until it eventually came back.

We have heard olive oil is a good moisturizer as well. It is also used in a lot of lotions and soaps. When I gave olive oil a try, it left my hands oily and saturated. My hands definitely felt soft but I didn’t like touching things after using the olive oil and leaving oily fingerprints.

Replacement for coffee creamer (source: well&goodnyc): I put about a tsp into my coffee and swirled it around. It left an oily line on top of the coffee, and didn’t add any additional flavor to the coffee (good thing I don’t mind it black). I later read you need to throw it in a Nutribullet or blender for it to take effect…

Kitchen uses (source: well&goodnyc)Spread a bit on your knives and scissors, and slicing will go a little more smoothly for sticky ingredients. Wipe some oil on your pans and skillets instead of non-stick spray or use it instead of Crisco when greasing a baking pan/muffin tray.

Hair Care (source: refinery29):

Protect Your Strands From Summer Fun Stylist Mark Townsend says be sure to pack some coconut oil in your bag. He tells his clients to coat their hair in coconut oil before a dip in the pool or ocean. “The oil will coat your hair and protect it from the damaging effects of chlorine [and saltwater].” Townsend swears the oil will absorb into the hair, so you don’t have to worry about it looking like an oil spill when you get into the water.

Supercharge Your Conditioner Townsend’s favorite trick with oils is to make customized conditioners for his clients. “Oils with small molecules, like macadamia and almond, penetrate into the hair, so they can replace lost lipids and fatty acids inside the hair shaft,” he says.  His Recipe: Take a bottle of moisturizing conditioner, pour it into a big bowl, and then add in 1/2 cup of unrefined coconut oil and two tablespoons each of vitamin E, almond, macadamia, and jojoba oils. Mix all of this together, and pour it back in its bottle for the most hydrating, reparative concoction around.

A good reminder: you don’t need to completely switch to coconut oil, because then you will lose the other benefits of more traditional oils and dairy products. In fact, I would go so far in saying that it should be used in moderation just like everything else. Other oils, such as olive oil, also help prevent heart disease and may help in weight loss (palm oil).