I, like many people, am a huge fan of pie. Pies are just one of those quintessential desserts that everyone can make. Pies seem incredibly simple. I mean, it’s just crust, filling, and a topping sometimes, right? Well, technically.
In all actuality, a pie ranges from incredibly simple (instant pudding in a ready made pie crust) to ridiculous complicated (handmade crust and a range of spices and fruits) and it takes a certain finesse to get them right.
Now, I know how to make pie crust and it comes out deeelicious every time. I can make apple tartlets and blackberry pie bars without any issue. They come out amazing and beautiful each time. Since I was 6, I’ve made mini pudding pies for Thanksgiving. These ones are Jell-o Instant Chocolate Pudding, Fresh Whipped Cream, and Keebler Graham Cracker Crust. Guess what, they’re still just as yummy and I love making them.
Here’s my personal challenge: cooked pudding/cream pies.
It makes no sense to me. I have made pat e choux (I’m spelling that wrong I’m sure) from scratch, including the pastry cream, and it’s held up. Somehow, when I go for a cream pie in which I cook down the filling though, it ends up soup.
Just last month, I set out to make pie for my Aunt’s birthday. Her favorite is Coconut Cream Pie. So, I set out and scoured my cook books for a recipe. I ended up landing on the one featured in my Betty Crocker cookbook (amazing. Get one if you don’t have it already). Simple. Just make a pudding, add coconut milk and shredded coconut, and boom you’ve got coconut cream.
I bought a ready made shortbread crust because I knew my Aunt would love it and it would cut down on the time it would take to make the pies. Oh, yes, I made two different pies. We’ll get to the second one in a moment. I did everything the recipe told me to. Albeit, I was confused at how long I needed to actually let the filling cook. I enlisted the help of my mother who refuses to make instant pudding and instead swears by cooked pudding. She even said it felt good.
I finished up, poured it into its crust and put it in the fridge–OVERNIGHT.
In the morning, it was loose. It was not pudding like texture. It was not cream. It was coconut soup in a shortbread crust. I was crushed. I had my mom taste test it and she determined it was absolutely delicious, but not the right texture. What to do?
In the spirit of being a worry free baker, I shoved it in the freezer for 15 minutes and then back in the fridge while I made some fresh whipped cream.
By the way, fresh whipped cream is one of the single easiest things to make and utterly scrumptious every time. Here’s how I make mine:
In the bowl of your mixer (if its been chilled, even better), pour 1 carton (12 oz) of heavy whipping cream and beat on a medium speed with a whisk attachment. Let it go and dance in your kitchen while you figure out what you’re going to do with your coconut soup. When it starts to set up and look like whipped cream, add sugar to taste. I tend to throw in a couple tablespoons, whip it again, and then taste it. That’s it. It should be at a stiff peaks stage when your done. Try not to eat the whole bowl by yourself.
Back to my coconut soup. I decided the only thing I could do was to serve it in a bowl. So I covered it in my fresh whipped cream and did just that. I used a big spoon and cracked the crust so that there would be sugar cookie crust crumbles in the coconut concoction and served it in lovely little bowls. It was not pie, but it was the flavor my Aunt wanted and she ate it happily.
Now! I did have another pie which was successful! A couple years ago, I went on a fabulous road trip and wound up in Leroy, New York: The Birthplace of Jell-O. I am from a Jell-O family. We love that brand and have always had either Jell-O or pudding in our house for as long as I can remember. The Jell-O museum was fantastic and I left with a fantastic cook book that is spiral bound and chock full of Jell-O and Cool Whip recipes.
From there I found the Cool and Easy Pie. I wish I’d taken a picture because it came out perfect. Fluffy and pink. So fun!
This was certainly an easy pie and I’m pretty sure you could use any Jell-O flavor to make it. It took no time and it set up like a dream. So one pie came out and was still in pie form. I’ll pop that recipe below so you can try it for yourself. It’s a really light pie that’s just sweet enough to satisfy your sweet tooth.
If you have any tips on how to make a successful cream pie with a cooked filling, please let me know! I am determined to master this!
Cool ‘N Easy Pie
From The Jell-O Brand Cool Whip Recipe Collection
2/3 C Boiling Water
1 Pkg (4 Serving Size) Strawberry Jell-O Gelatin
1/2 C Cold Water
1 8oz Tub Cool Whip
1 Graham Cracker Crust
- Stir boiling water in the dry gelatin mix for at least 2 minutes or until completely dissolved.
- Add enough ice to cold water to measure 1 cup and add to the gelatin.
- Stir until slightly thickened, then remove any unmelted ice
- Add Cool Whip and stir with a wire whisk until melted. *This part is fun and kind of messy. Make sure you’re using a medium to large bowl to do this*
- Refrigerate the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes or until thick enough to mound.
- Once thick enough, spoon into the crust.
- Refrigerate 4 hours to overnight.
- Leftovers, if there are any, should be stored in the refrigerator