I've always been on the fence about coconut cream pie. Taken separately—pie crust, coconut custard and whipped cream—I love the components that go into this dessert. But when I actually go to take a bite, something is missing. I knew that special something was to be found in the crust.
Somehow, I wanted to achieve a more crisp, "snappy" bottom to balance out the double creamy layers of custard and whipped cream. Which is when I decided to try a pavlova base instead of the traditional crust.
Not only are the pavlovas so lovely to look at, they were the perfect complement to the filling and topping.
Crisp, light and sweet, with that perfect crunch that I was looking for. Then I doubled down with a sprinkling of toasted coconut chips to top things off.
I've scaled down this recipe to serve two; feel free to double or triple if you need more!
Coconut Cream Pavlovas
2 large egg whites, room temperature
2 whole eggs,
1 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
1 cup heavy cream, divided
1 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup coconut chips
1. Make the pavlovas: Preheat the oven to 200. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Beat the egg whites on low speed till frothy and completely covered in tiny bubbles. Add the cream of tartar and increase speed to medium. When tracks begin to form, add 1/2 cup sugar, a little at a time, then increase the speed to high and beat til mixture is stiff and glossy. Divide the meringue in half and dollop each half onto one of your baking sheets. Use a spoon to spread into a circle about 4–5" in diameter, then use the spoon again to create a depression in the centers. Bake for 2 hours, or till dry and crisp. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Raise the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
3. Make the coconut custard: Spread the coconut onto your remaining baking sheet. Bake for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently and watching carefully after 8 minutes. When golden brown remove from oven and let cool.
4. Lightly whisk the 2 eggs in a medium saucepan. Add 1/2 cup heavy cream, coconut milk, 1/2 cup sugar, flour, salt and vanilla. Whisk over medium heat till mixture comes to a boil, then boil for one minute. Pour through a strainer into a bowl and stir in the coconut. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface and refrigerate until set (about 2 hours).
5. Bake the coconut chips till golden brown, 5–8 minutes. Let cool. Whip the remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar till soft peaks form.
6. Divide the coconut custard between the pavlova shells, smoothing the tops. Top with the whipped cream and coconut chips and serve immediately.