Recipe: Bullock's Coconut Cream Pie

Photo courtesy Valerie Confections, where the pie can be purchased today

The legendary tea room at Bullock's on Wilshire was, for about half a century, the spot to be among ladies who lunched, both famous and non-famous varieties. The menu was largely made up of lighter items, except when it came to desserts. This coconut cream pie was the highlight (perhaps second only to the now-unappealing-sounding chicken salad with strawberry dressing), and the recipe has been saved by local baker Valerie Gordon. Order one from her bakery, or create your own Coconut Cream Pie at home -- we're thinking this is perfect for New Year's Eve.

Bullock's Coconut Cream Pie
Adapted by Valerie Gordon
Makes 12 servings

A tea time fashion show, courtesy The Los Angeles Public Library Photo CollectionFor the crust:
1¼ cups sifted all-purpose flour
¼ cup shortening
⅓ cup chilled butter, cut into pieces
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup cream
½ cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon softened butter
¼ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon coconut extract
3 tablespoons cream of coconut

For the topping:
2 cups cream
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place coconut on baking sheet and toast until light brown, about 7 minutes.

A tea room menu cover, courtesy The Los Angeles Public Library Photo CollectionMake the crust: Sift flour, sugar and salt together. Using a food processor or pastry cutter, blend butter and shortening into the flour mixture until pea-sized pieces form. Slowly add the water until the dough just comes together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. Roll out chilled dough on a floured surface until it is large enough to create a 1-inch overhang on a 10-inch pie pan. Using a fork, poke several holes along the base of the crust. Finish the rim of the crust to your liking. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

Make the filling: Pour evaporated milk, cream and sugar into a saucepan. Over medium heat, bring to a boil, then immediately remove from heat. Using a whisk attachment on an electric mixer, beat egg yolks until they appear pale and fluffy. Add cornstarch and butter; continue beating until they are fully incorporated. Add vanilla, coconut extract and cream of coconut. Set the mixer on a low speed and slowly add the warm cream mixture to the egg mixture. Pour the filling back into the saucepan and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour coconut filling into the baked pie shell and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow the pie to cool completely.

Make the topping: Whip cream, sugar and vanilla to stiff peaks.

To finish: Place a large mountain of whipped cream in the center of the pie and, using a small offset spatula, create a dome shape. Sprinkle the entire dome with toasted coconut. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Click here to read more about Bullock's.

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About the Author

Hadley Meares is a writer, actress and singer who traded one Southland (her home state of North Carolina) for another. Her debut novel "Absolutely" is now available on Amazon.
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