I just love it when the culinary stars align.
You see, today is my sister Granola Courtney’s birthday. Maybe you know her? And Thursday is Pi Day (but come on, it’s really Pie Day). And Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day. So yeah, there’s a lot happening this week.
How am I going to celebrate everything?
A few weeks ago, I realized that Courtney’s birthday, Pie Day, and St. Patrick’s Day would happen within a week of each other (as it happens every year…and I just realized this?!). I wanted to make something that was so Courtney, so pie, and so green. Thankfully, those culinary stars aligned, I saw their light, and well, the rest is this pie.
There’s a story behind this pie. Of course, there’s a story.
Courtney is a Friends fan. I am a Friends fan. Ross, Chandler, Joey, Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe sure know how to make us laugh, no matter how many times we witness their crazy antics. Can they BE any funnier?
Speaking of The One with the Baby on the Bus, that episode was the inspiration for this pie. In case you aren’t a Friends fan or you don’t remember the episode, the reason Chandler and Joey are watching baby Ben is because Monica has to take Ross to the hospital for a severe allergic reaction. To her pie. Because it’s so special. Because of the kiwi.
Just watch this video clip from that episode. Not the best quality video but funny nonetheless.
Because Courtney thinks watching Friends re-runs never gets old, too, I thought it would be perfect to create a birthday dessert for her inspired by the show. Then I remembered Monica’s extra-special pie and how obvious it was to make as a way to celebrate Pie Day. And then I realized a dessert that uses green ingredients would be the perfect way to commemorate a green holiday.
So see, the culinary stars aligned.
Monica Geller’s Kiwi-Lime Pie with a Coconut Crust is all sorts of deliciousness. The layers of kiwi-lime custard, whipped cream, and coconut crust make my taste buds sing in harmony.
There is a good balance of kiwi and lime in the custard. The kiwi isn’t distinctly identifiable, but it does make this pie special. The hardest (and I type that with air quotes) is juicing the kiwi. I have found that kiwi seeds, when ground like in a smoothie, almost have a spicy, throat-burning flavor. Do you know what I mean? Or am I the only one? I didn’t want to crush the kiwi seeds for fear of that bitter-spicy taste. But I also didn’t want to include the seeds in the pie (although you totally could) because Ross had NO idea there was kiwi in the pie. Kiwi seeds would have given away the special ingredient. To juice the kiwi, I cut off the skin, and pressed the fruit gently on a mesh sieve over a measuring cup. That seemed to do the trick.
As for the custard, it’s mainly just zesting a lime, cracking eggs, and whisking. Anyone can do it. You can do it.
Let’s talk about the coconut crust for a minute. For the first 23 years—plus or minus a year—of my sister’s life, she did not knowingly eat coconut. It was one of her most hated foods. Like, seriously. And she had a lot of hated foods. When Court found out our grandma used coconut in her monster cookies, something she mentioned by complete accident because she knew of my sis’ hatred, Court refused to eat them. Recently, she discovered that coconut wasn’t as bad as she thought and instead it is quite tasty. Now that she’s over her coconut aversion, I knew I had include coconut one way or another.
The coconut crust is a wonderfully sweet complement to the tangy kiwi-lime custard. Its flaky texture adds a tropical dimension to this delicious pie. Like if you took a bite with your eyes closed, you’d feel like you were sitting on a beach somewhere far, far away from South Dakota. The thing about the crust is that you need to watch it closely. Coconut can go from nicely browned to burnt pretty quickly. A foil ring or pie shield will help prevent a disaster, especially because this crust is baked twice, without and with the custard.
Of course, there is always a place for whipped cream on pie. So whipped cream on this pie is a total no-brainer.
Could this pie BE any more delicious? No, Chandler. No it cannot.
Courtney, it is times like these that I wish the City by the Bay and The Small University Town in the Great Plains weren’t so far from each other. I’ll just have to eat a slice of pie to celebrate. And watch a birthday-themed episode of Friends. Maybe The One with Phoebe’s Birthday Dinner. Or The One Where They All Turn Thirty. All in your honor.
Monica Geller’s Kiwi-Lime Pie with a Coconut Crust
Adapted from: Martha Stewart
Adapted from: Two Tarts
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup kiwi juice, freshly juiced
2 Tbsp. lime juice, freshly squeezed
3 Tbsp. grated lime zest
1-3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. sweetened condensed milk (this is 1-1/2 14-ounce cans)
5 large egg yolks, beaten
1 cup heaving whipping cream
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar (more or less to taste)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (more or less to taste)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To make the crust, combine butter and 1 cup of coconut in a food processor and process until mixture forms a balls, about 1 minute. Transfer to a medium bowl, and sprinkle the remaining coconut over mixture and mix well with hands. Press coconut mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate, leaving the edges fluffy and loose. Place a foil ring or pie shield over the crust edge to prevent burning. Place pie plate on a parchment-line baking sheet. Bake until center begins to brown, 7-10 minutes. Transfer crust to a wire rack and cool completely.
To juice the kiwi, peel the skin from the fruit. With a fine mesh sieve placed over a measuring cup, gently press the kiwi into the sieve.
To make the custard, combine kiwi juice, lime juice, lime zest, sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk until fully blended. Pour filling into the cool, prepared crust (depending on the depth of your pie plate, you may have filling remaining) and place foil ring or pie shield over the crust edge. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until set. Remove the foil ring or pie shield the last 3-5 minutes of baking to brown the edges. Transfer crust to a wire rack and cool completely.
To make the whipped cream, begin by chilling a mixing bowl and beaters or a whisk attachment by placing them in the fridge for 30 minutes or in the freezer for 10 minutes. When ready, remove bowl and beaters. Pour cream and sugar into bowl, and begin beating the cream on low speed for about 45 seconds. Increase the speed to high and continue beating until soft peaks form. Add vanilla and continue beating until incorporated. Note: I prefer to pipe whipped cream, so I beat the whipped cream until stiffer peaks form.
Serve the pie with whipped cream. If piping whipped cream onto the pie, refrigerate until serving and refrigerate leftovers in a well-sealed container. Note: I did not find that the coconut crust became soggy after refrigeration.
Makes one 9-inch pie.