Tag Archives: coconut

THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE. The Pie is in Here (Peanut Butter Mousse Pie with Coconut Crust).

This post is dedicated to Queequeg, Scully’s dog who was named after Queequeg. Do you remember when she had a dog? And then he got EATEN!? I do, I’ll always remember.

Guys, I know it’s been a really long time and you’re probably looking for an explanation for my absence. That’s only fair, and you deserve a candid answer. Honestly, I was abducted by aliens. The kind that live really, really far away. And we went on vacation, in New Zealand, in the future, and we had to get there by horse and cart ‘cause the ship ran out of juice. Then when we got there, there was a little trouble validating my visa and I was kept in the airport holding cell until we could contact the embassy, which is really difficult to do from the future. Everyone was pretty tied up I guess, so we called Liam Neeson, which was fruitful since in the future Liam Neeson is not busy at all. I’m sorry that I didn’t let you know sooner, but after a decent probing and a few unbelievable lamb dinners, I’m back. I’m back in a big way.

Here's a group photo of my extraterrestrial buds, drinking some chaammppss.

Here’s a group photo of my extraterrestrial buds, drinking some champs.

It appears that much has transpired since my brush with the extra-terrestrial. Some guy at the Atlantic is clowning on Morgan Spurlock (despite these McDonald’s egg whites having an actual ingredient list), also thinks I’m a rich snob because I eat broccoli. A lot of people on Facebook were really upset that Robin Thicke’s notably large penis wasn’t the feature story in this month’s Rolling Stone (even though I think my dad is probably the only one who actually read the issue).  Oh, and some shirtless photos of both Geraldo Riveira and Chaz Bono have finally surfaced on the internet. About time, America. Sorry I missed your birthday. Bilbo Baggins says hi.

Another holiday that happened during my absence was Father’s day. Obviously I was a little preoccupied resolving an X-File, but say that I wasn’t, I probably would have been eating lobster at my parents’ house, where we could have shared one claw cracker amongst four of us (disgusting), and I probably would have made some sort of accompanying dessert. Let’s all travel back to a time that never was and find out what that dessert could have been!

Peanut Butter Mousse Pie - Alex Marie Lombino

There are things that dads of a certain age share in common (I’m 26, so you do the math; I don’t want to blow up anyone’s spot).  One thing is World War II documentaries. They watch all of them. Maybe that’s a general man thing, but this particular demographic can’t get enough. Band of Brothers marathons also count. Another thing is tucking in shirts. They just love to really tuck ‘em in there good. Lastly, they like peanut butter. I want to believe that this has something to do with the food culture of the 50s and 60s, the inclination towards quick and processed foods, which really took a foothold in American culture during these two decades. Peanut butter is definitely a dad favorite. I can recall times during my childhood when my father would hole up in the kitchen, hovering over a carton of ice cream and a jar of peanut butter, alternating scoops of luscious treats, while watching 60 Minutes. This is probably why after every rigorous gym session, I can be found shoveling that natural type peanut butter and a little drizzled honey into my face crevice with little restraint. It would have been obvious to me, in the event of my attendance to some sort of Father’s day dinner, that peanut butter should play a significant role in this meal. Also my dad said he likes coconut too, so that got incorporated.

Thus I bring you this peanut butter mousse pie with coconut crust. I was actually really shocked at how well the gelatin set in this nut butter-laden bombe*. I was getting really down on myself as soon as I walked away to let it cool, thinking I’d return to find some shapeless peanut goo. But no! Stiff as Ian Mckellan backstage at the Package Tour.

If you have a Dad with whom you’re still on speaking terms, bring him this pie. He will readily lend you $20 for gas, bite his bottom lip while head-bobbing to Elvis Costello and shuffling his feet in a manner reminiscent of John Travolta’s sweaty heroin groove in Pulp Fiction, gliding lightly across the Home Depot linoleum kitchen flooring he laid down himself as he drifts into the late summer sunset.

Oh, and another thing. I mentioned to the man of the hour that it would be awesome to serve this pie with some ice cream, and do you know what he came back from the store with? Rum raisin. Rum raisin ice cream. That’s the shit that dads love.

*I snuck in a vocab word for all you guys taking notes.

  1. Bombe: The egg, cream, gelatin, and flavoring base of a mousse, before the whipped cream has been incorporated

 

Peanut Butter Mousse Pie with Coconut Crust

Coconut Crust

12 oz. Coconut flakes, unsweetened
4 tbsp. Butter, melted
¼ cup Flour
1/3 cup Brown sugar
¼ cup Light corn syrup
½ tsp Salt
1 Egg

Preheat oven to 350°

Ya’ll, this is most easy. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process for about 20-30 seconds, until dough is consistent. Remove and shape into a ball then flatten to a thick disk, wrap in plastic, and chill for about 30 minutes.

Remove from refrigerator and use a rolling pin to roll out about ½ inch thick. This is too thick, I know, but the dough is probably very loose, somewhat crumbly. Transfer said crumbly dough to a pie pan and press into the shape of the pan with your fingers. You can use a flat cup to press and even out the dough. It should be about a ¼ inch thick in the end. Trim the excess dough, then place in the oven for about 30 minutes. The crust should be fragrant and golden brown. If you feel that it is browning too quickly, you can always turn your oven down.

Remove from oven and allow to cool.

Peanut Butter Mousse

4 oz Water
4 tsp Gelatin

6 oz Milk
1 tsp Vanilla
4 oz Sugar
4 Eggs
7 oz Peanut Butter, creamy and unsweetened (I used Whole Foods brand)

4 oz Heavy cream

In a small bowl or cup, sprinkle gelatin over 4 oz of water and put aside to set.

Combine milk, vanilla, and half of sugar in a medium pot and bring to a boil on the stove, whisking occasionally so that the bottom doesn’t burn. In a medium bowl, combine remaining sugar and eggs and whisk together. Never let the sugar rest on the eggs without thoroughly combining them, or this will “burn” the eggs.

Once the milk boils, remove from the heat. Gradually drizzle milk into the eggs, whisking constantly. Once you have added about ¾ of the milk, combine the egg mixture with the rest of the milk in the pot. Return to the stove on medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a spatula or wooden spoon (preferably the wooden spoon). The mixture is done cooking when you can run your finger across the spoon without the base running down into that empty space (about 10 minutes, but no more). Remove from the heat and immediately whisk in gelatin, and then peanut butter. Transfer to a new bowl or container to cool.

When you are ready to finish the mousse, whip your cream to very stiff peaks. With a hand beater or in a standing mixture, beat your stiffened peanut butter base until it is smooth and loosened. Add ¼ of the cream to the peanut butter base and stir in to lighten the mixture. Gently fold in the rest of the cream until the color is consistent.

Pour and spread your mousse into the crust, and allow to set in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Peanut Butter Pie - Alex Marie Lombino

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

BANANARAMA (Is a Really Good Band, and Also This Cake with Brown-Butter and Coconut Mousse)

Banana and Brown-Butter Cake

I would like to think of myself as a woman of my word. When I say I’m going to do something, I do it. When I say I’m not going to do something, you can bet your buns that, instead, I am on the couch trolling The Superficial archives for candid bikini shots of Mrs. Coco T because, damn, that ass. You might recall that in the previous entry, I mentioned I would not be making banana bread in the foreseeable future, and I am proud to report that the statement still stands. Here are some other things I did not do this week:

I did not finish watching season one of Friday Night Lights.
I did not get any portion of my body hot-waxed.
I did not eat a cheeseburger, despite my unyielding desire to do so.
I did not cry in the shower (on Tuesday).
I definitely did not read 50 Shades of Gray, even though I just learned that this thing is actually a trilogy? Like, there is more than one of these books, prosaically detailing the most degrading ways a lady might bruise her vagina? Color me dumb-founded.

Here’s what I did do:

I watched Girls again, and regretted it.
I made ricotta dumplings for dinner one night.
I cut my toenails with reckless, reckless abandon.
I rediscovered Basement Jaxx, and, consequently, day-glow hot pants.
I made a banana-type cake.

Did you catch that last one? That’s the important one. Listen, I really like banana bread. I especially want to eat it when it is full of chocolate and toasted nuts. But the last thing I want to do is write a blog post about it. I’m pretty sure you don’t want to read about it either. I feel bad for you guys sometimes, having to trudge through yet another, “Best Paleo Yogurt-Bacon Muffin EVER!!” recipe, which is not to say that I have any idea what Paleo means. Because I don’t, it’s made up, it isn’t real.

So, the next time you find your freezer is overflowing with a nauseous collection of overripe bananas, do this thing. Make a brown-butter and banana cake with fresh fruit and coconut mousse. I’ve been eating the scraps of this cake all day and, I have to say, it’s a little addictive. Somewhat savory brown-butter gives the bananas purpose in this cake, other than just being overtly banana-y. The cake being somewhat dense in texture, as fruit batters are wont to be, I opted for mousse over buttercream. The coconut keeps the tropical theme wafting languorously to the tune of some shitty Jack Johnson song (redundant, I know), while fresh fruit (of your choosing!) gives the cake the acid and brightness it needs.

Brown-Butter and Banana Cake with Coconut Mousse
BananaCake2
Brown-Butter and Banana Cake

6 oz Butter, Browned
4 Large eggs
6 oz Sugar
2 Squishy bananas
8 oz Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
½ tsp Salt
¼ tsp Nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Butter and flour a 9 inch cake pan.

In a small sauce pan, brown your butter on med-high heat. In class, we learned to simply leave the butter on the stove and burn the crap out of it. It will smell burnt and gross. It will look black. However, all you are burning are the solids in the butter, which you would have strained out anyway. In this method, however, if you do not stir the butter as it’s browning, the solids will simply burn and stick to the bottom of the pan, and you can pour off the liquid on top with ease. If you have a gas stove, please be careful and don’t have your flame too high, because butter will catch fire and scare you a little if you aren’t accustomed to starting kitchen fires. I am a seasoned veteran of kitchen-fire-starting and have a reserve of kitty litter at my disposal for such occasions. Set butter aside to cool.

In a mixer with paddle attachment, beat together eggs and sugar on high for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg and whisk together thoroughly.

When the eggs have beaten, add your squishy bananas and beat for another 5 minutes.

Fold egg mixture into the flour mixture. When the eggs are halfway folded in, pour in butter and continue to fold gently, but thoroughly, making sure the butter isn’t just sitting at the bottom of your bowl.

Pour batter into pan and bake for approximately 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick may be cleanly pulled out from the center of the cake. Wrap and freeze cake for easiest trimming!

Coconut Mousse

3 tsp Gelatin
4 oz Water
8 oz Milk
2 oz Sugar
3 Egg yolks
10 oz Cream of coconut
Zest of 1 lemon
7 oz Heavy cream, whipped.

In a small dish, sprinkle gelatin over your water and set aside. This is called “blooming,” which is a word that I love.

In a medium sauce pan, bring milk and half of your sugar to a boil. Meanwhile, whisk together yolks and remaining sugar. When milk has boiled, remove from heat and slowly pour into your yolks, whisking constantly. Once mixed, pour the whole mixture back into your hot and return it to the stove on low heat. Do NOT boil. Eggs don’t like that. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens a bit. Strain mixture into a bowl.

Melt your gelatin in the microwave for 15-20 seconds. It happens real quick! Add the gelatin to your mousse base and mix. Next, stir in coconut cream and zest. Occasionally stir the mixture as it is gelling, so as not to develop a skin. Give it an hour, at the least, to set up nicely.

Whip your cream so it’s nice and stiff, stiffer than if you were to serve it solo. Give your mousse base a good beating so it is smooth and lump free, then fold in your whipped cream.

To Assemble:
BananaCake3
Please trim your cake! Take off the less delicious, crusty sides, top, and bottom of the cake. Using a very sharp, serrated knife is the way to go. After it is trimmed, very carefully cut your cake in half. Reserve your trimmings, if you so choose, to use in decorating. In a food processor, pulse your softer trimmings until they are like nice, fluffy cake-snow. You can use these later to sprinkle on top of your cake.

Slice fruit of your choice to layer in the center layer of the cake, as well as to decorate the top. I chose to use kiwi, because I thought the color would look nice against all of the white and tan. Strawberries would also be complementary, flavor-wise.

Now you can be creative! I built my cake inside a cake ring, which is a snobby, pastry-school way to go about things, but it’s effective. You can “frost” this cake with your coconut mousse using whatever method you choose, but I do recommend chilling the mousse for about 30 minutes after adding the whipped cream before you do anything. In the center layer, make sure to spread a thin later of mousse, then arrange fruit, and then another layer of mousse. If you only have one layer of mousse, your cake may begin to slide around on top of the slippery fruit.

If you’d like to decorate as I have, after frosting place a cutter of any shape or size in the center of your cake. Arrange fruit within the center of the cutter. Around the cutter, sprinkle the aforementioned cake-snow on top of the cake, then remove the cutter. Chill the cake in the fridge for another half-hour or so before serving to ensure that the mousse has set.

People who claim to not really like cake will like this cake. I know this, because the man in my apartment just gave it a proverbial thumbs-up by eating it twice, despite much initial protest. So go on, force-feed a vegan, and let freedom ring.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Incidentally Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies

I need to make something abundantly clear before we march boldly on with this recipe. I think gluten is positively magical. The only things that may be more magical are gelatin and Ryan Seacrest, who is a wizard. There isn’t a glutinous thing in this world that I don’t like and I will sing it from a mountain top as soon as I finish this post.

I have a bag of coconut flour in my freezer from a streusel I made many delicious tarts ago. I was too cheap at the time to buy almond flour, which was about three dollars more, so I took home the coconut flour, then soon realized I had nothing else to do with it. It taunts me every time I open said freezer and add a nice, brown banana to my chilly banana collection, which also taunts me because I really don’t want to make banana bread. Then I had this unwarranted idea that I would make gluten-free sugar cookies. But I wouldn’t make them because I’d actually want to eat them. No, I’d make them for science.
DSCN0577
My knowledge of gluten-free baking stems from exactly one seminar at school, but frankly, I’m just really smart. I’m just really, really smart and know certain things, like how it is important to combine at least two different gluten free flours or starches to make up for the textural shortcomings of gluten-free items. I know baking powder is going to play a pivotal role here. I know we can definitely not skimp on the sugar.

The most difficult thing here was actually rolling out the dough. After mixing, I chilled the dough as a flat disk for about thirty minutes. I could have possible waited longer. I chose to roll it out about a quarter-inch thick and used fluted cutters. If I were going to make these again, I would have rolled the dough into a log, chilled it, and sliced them off to bake. That would have been real simple-like, but again, science.

Gluten-Free Coconut Sugar Cookies

4 oz (1 stick) Unsalted butter
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Coconut flour
3 tbsp Corn starch
1 tsp Baking powder
¼ tsp Salt
2 Large eggs
1 tsp Vanilla extract

Optional

Sanding sugar
Coconut flakes

Preheat oven to 350°F

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl periodically.

Combine coconut flour, corn starch, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk together.

Once butter and sugar are creamed, slowly add in dry ingredients. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until dough comes together.

If slicing your cookies to bake, roll dough into a log and wrap with saran wrap. If you are planning to roll it out, wrap the dough as a flat disk. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Place sliced or cut out cookies on a sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle with sanding sugar and coconut, if desired. Bake for about 20 minutes, rotating the tray midway through baking. Cookies are done when they are fragrant with a light, golden color.
DSCN0590
If you happen to be a gluten-free individual, I will advocate for these cookies. They are about as close to a normal-type cookie as I’ve ever tried. In fact, they would make excellent holiday cookies with royal icing. One cookie tester said of these cookies, “They are oddly satisfying to chew on.” That, to me, sounds like we have a winner.

In related misguided food decisions, my boyfriend and I have embarked on a three-day cleanse of sorts that, only about five hours in, I’m regretting more than my junior prom dress. We’re doing two days of this Master Cleanse/Lemonade non-sense, then a third day of raw vegetables. All I can think about is grilled cheese. Buttery, buttery grilled cheese. By Friday I’m sure I’ll have conjured all sorts of bright ideas, incorporating dairy products with other dairy products, so you can look forward to that.

Tagged , , , , , , ,