In the colonial period, North Sulawesi was referred to as the thirteenth province of the Netherlands due to the popularity of all things Dutch there. This continues today and one favourite is the custard tart, Klappertaart, studded with the gelatinous flesh of young coconuts. Just as delightful, and easier to source ingredients for outside the tropics, is this coconut pie. The influence is more American with a squidgy cookie base, oozing custard middle and billowing meringue top. I was given the recipe by the idyllic d’Omah hotel in Java. Their secret is coarsely grating fresh coconut for an extra textural contrast.
Put the biscuits in a bag and smash to crumbs. Add the coconut and butter to the bag and squish everything until well blended. Press into a
To make the filling, whisk the egg yolks together in a large bowl and set aside. In a saucepan, mix together the icing sugar, flour, cornflour and salt. Add the milk and coconut milk and set over a medium-high heat. Stir constantly as it comes to the boil and starts to thicken. Once boiling,
Slowly stream a third of the hot custard into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Return the contents of the bowl to the saucepan. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture reaches a boil. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve.
Leave to cool for a few minutes before stirring in the butter, vanilla and coconut. Spread into the prepared pie dish and cover closely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 4 hours, or until firm.
To make the meringue, put the sugar into a pan with
Meanwhile, put the egg whites into a freestanding mixer with a balloon whisk. When the syrup reaches 110°C (230°F), start whisking until stiff peaks form. Once the sugar reaches 120°C (250°F), pour slowly into the whites with the whisk running. Whisk until the meringue is cool, stiff and shiny.
Spread the meringue over the cooled custard, taking it right to the pie shell edge. Swirl with a spoon. Use a blowtorch or hot grill to gently caramelise the meringue. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.
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