Secret project revealed:This weekend I entered a pie contest. Oh, I know, I know. Why the secrecy? Well... I just didn't want to jinx it, ok? I kind of wanted to win, but I didn't. I had a really good pie, too--it was creamy and chocolatey and crispy crunchy on the bottom. Honestly? We think it should have won. This was completely unbiased opinion, by the way. But it probably didn't help my case that I had to carry it to Governor's Island from my house on a fairly warm day, and it really needed to be refrigerated. So it was a drippy pie by the time it got to the contest.
BUT: the Jazz-Age Festival was fun--there was a live band playing music from the 20s, and there were plenty of people walking around in white linnen, flapper dresses, and cloche hats. There was even a dance floor. And it was a completely gorgeous day: sunny, breezy, a lawn for sitting. Governor's Island is less than a mile off of the southern tip of Manhattan, and we met some friends for a picnic. I provided the pie. A non-winning pie.
(I don't mean to sound bitter, really. But you know what? The winner was a brownie pie. I know what you're thinking. "What's wrong with a brownie pie? That sounds good!" Yeah, well, as far as I could tell, it was some brownies baked into a crust. Excuse me, but since when are brownies baked into a crust "pie"??? As far as I can tell, the judges really needed to be judging brownies. Brownie pie seems like cheating. Grumble.)
Cream of Coconut-Chocolate Ganache Pie with Ginger Crust
for the crust
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
7 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, diced, plus a pat to grease the pan
1-2 tablespoons cold milk
for the chocolate ganache
10 ounces good-quality bittersweet chocolate, very finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
for the coconut pudding
4 large egg yolks
3 cups canned unsweetened coconut milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. make the crust Grease a tart or pie pan with butter and set aside. Grate the ginger using the smallest grater you have; discard the woody fibers and save the pulp and juice. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, and salt. Add the butter and ginger remains, and rub them into the dry ingredients with the tips of your fingers or with a pastry blender, until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add a tablespoon of the milk and blend it in, handling the dough as lightly as you can. The dough should still be crumbly, but it should clump if you gently squeeze a handful in your hand. If it doesn't, add a little more milk, teaspoon by teaspoon (there are 3 in a tablespoon), and blend again, till working lightly, until it reaches the desired consistency.
2. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and use the back of a tablespoon to spread it evenly over hte bottom. Using the heels of your hands and your fingers, press down on the dough to form a thin layer, covering the surface of the pan and creating a rim all around. Don't worry if the dough feels kind of dry--this is normal. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes and up to a day.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden, keeping an eye on it. Transfer to a rack to cool.
4. make the ganache Put the chocolate medium mixing bowl, preferably stainless steel. Bring the cream to a simmer in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Pour half of the cream on the chocolate, let stand for 20 seconds, and stir gently in the center with a whisk, gradually blending the cream with the chocolate until smooth. Add half of the remaining cream, and stir again until combined. Repeat with remaining cream.
5. Pour the chocolate into the tart shell, and level the surface with a spatula. Put in the refrigerator to set for an hour.
6. for the coconut cream Prepare an ice bath and set aside. In a bowl, lightly whisk egg yolks and set aside. In a saucepan, whisk together coconut milk, granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Bring to a simmer (do not boil), and cook, whisking constantly, 3-4 minutes.
7. Whisk a quarter of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks, then whisk in the remaining milk mixture. Strain into a clear saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until custard is thick and bubbles appear in the center, 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl, and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Set in the ice bath until completely chilled, 30-35 minutes. Filling can be kept in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, for up to 1 day.
8. When everything is nice and chilly, pour the custard on top of the ganache, and chill once again before eating.