A Better Buko Pie

Yes, a buko pie – but, as you can see, not as we know it. The old local staple is good, but there’s always room for improvement. A fresh buko pie is great, but it gets old easily. After a only few hours, the crust becomes too dry and the filling gets gummy and glue-y. In a buko pie, the filling is undeniably the star of the show, but that means the crust is almost an afterthought. So in building a Better Buko Pie, we sought to improve on balance and texture.

The result: this magnificent, mutant hybrid. Part buko pie, part custard, part coconut cream. We took all the strengths of each kind of pie and combined them to make one super pie. The custard is flavorful and just perfectly sweet. The coconut meat retains its brightness and bite. Even the crust carries a delicate but present coconut flavor. And despite being only on the bottom, it stands up to the filling and manages to stay flaky and fresh.

It’s definitely prettier, too.

For the crust:

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
1/2 cup / one stick of butter
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
4-5 tbs ice cold water
1 tbs lemon juice or vinegar

For the filling:

1 cup coconut milk
1 cup whole milk
shredded or sliced fresh meat of 1-2 coconut/s
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup sugar
4 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt

For the extra fun stuff:

1 cup heavy/whipping cream
1/2 cup coconut milk
3 tbsp powdered sugar

Make your crust. Combine butter (cubed for easier handling) and mix in 2/3rds of the flour, salt, sugar, dessicated coconut and water. Work until no dry flour remains and the dough is clumpy. Add vinegar or lemon juice. Sprinkle the remaining flour and work until all the flour is incorporated. Roll into ball. Transfer to a large bowl. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Roll and place in a well-greased 10-inch tart pan. Trim and crimp edges. Line pastry with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or beans. Bake in a preheated 200ºC/400ºF oven for 8 minutes or until crust is a pale golden color. Set aside to cool.

Make your filling. Combine eggs, egg yolks, vanilla extract, sugar and salt in a bowl. Whisk until blended. Set aside. Combine coconut milk, whole milk, coconut meat, flour and cornstarch in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Gradually add in egg mixture, in 3-4 small additions, while constantly stirring. Cook over a medium heat and stir until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken. Add butter. Stir until well blended.

Assemble your pie. Pour your filling into your pie crust. Bake in a preheated 180ºC/350ºF oven for 20-25 minutes or until pie crust is golden brown and the filling is set but still jiggly in the center. Refrigerate until firm or for at least 3 hours.

Make the extra fun stuff. Whip the cream and coconut milk (electric mixer, medium speed). Add sugar gradually as you whip. Continue until stiff peaks form. Decorate pie as you like.

Enjoy your pie. Have a slice. A big one. Because you deserve it.

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