Monday, April 7, 2014

Strawberry Coconut Cream Pie Bars

Crust Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Filling Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flaked coconut
1/4 teaspoon coconut extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping Ingredients:
1 1/2 - 2 packages strawberries (I had some leftover, but I always buy two packs just in case)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
red food coloring (optional)

Make shortbread crust: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Prepare an 8-inch square baking pan by lining it with parchment paper. Cut the butter into the flour and powdered sugar and press into the baking dish (I used a food processor to cut the fat into the flour — about 6-10 pulses — and then the bottom of a glass to press the mixture into the pan). Bake 18-20 minutes or until light brown. Set on a wire rack to cool.

Make coconut cream filling: Combine the half-and-half, coconut milk, eggs, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until it’s thick and bubbling (this may  take  from 10-20 minutes.) Add coconut and vanilla extracts and the shredded coconut and stir. Pour this filling over your cooled crust, let it cool for a bit on the counter before refrigerating to chill until firm, about 2 to 4 hours.

Assemble and make glaze: Slice most of a pound of strawberries in thin slices lengthwise and layer the slices in pretty alternating diagonal rows on the top of the coconut cream. Put into refrigerator to chill while you make your glaze.

Crush remaining 1/2 cup of strawberries and boil with water in a saucepan over medium-high heat for two minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve and discard the pulp. Pour a little of the resulting strawberry juice into the glass with the cornstarch and stir to make a slurry. Put the rest of the juice back into the saucepan over medium-high heat and gradually whisk in sugar and cornstarch slurry. Cook until thickened.(If desired, you can tint this glaze with food coloring to desired hue).  Cool the glaze slightly (you can transfer to a heat-proof measuring cup with a pour spout to cool) and then pour over top of strawberry slices on  pie. Chill bars before serving.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Pina Colada Fruit Salad

  • 1-1/2 cups green grapes
  • 1-1/2 cups seedless red grapes
  • 1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1-1/2 cups halved fresh strawberries
  • 1 can (8 ounces) pineapple chunks, drained
  • 1/2 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 can (10 ounces) frozen non-alcoholic pina colada mix, thawed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup pineapple-orange juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon coconut extract
  • In a serving bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk the pina colada mix, sugar, juice and extracts until sugar is dissolved. Pour over fruit; toss to coat. Chill until serving. Yield: 9 servings.