Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pinvestigating Impossible Custard Pie

I must really, really love Kim.

She asked, after my last foray into the Pinterlands, if I would test the Impossible Coconut Custard Pie that has been repinned all over the place.

Image via a gratefulprayerthankfulheart.blogspot.com, as noted in the watermark
And I just happened to have all of the ingredients handy, so I thought, "Why not?"

Now, with real Ogre!
Famous last words.

We need to have a brief discussion about sweetened condensed milk.  I have become somewhat of a connoisseur of sweetened condensed milk, thanks to a pin (what else?) about making your own coffee creamer.  It's stupidly easy - just equal parts sweetened condensed milk and milk, and a little bit of vanilla extract.  I'm absolutely addicted to it, and I can't drink the Fat Free French Vanilla Coffeemate stuff that I used to be addicted to anymore because it tastes like chemicals.

A pin that really worked!  I know

BJ doesn't love my creamer and continues to insist that I buy him the Coffeemate (back before they made liquid creamers, my mom used to get Coffeemate and its 1980s counterpart Cremora mixed up in her mind.  She called every powdered non-dairy creamer "Creammate."  No wonder she didn't drink coffee until she was well into her 50s!).  

Be that as it may, I have learned that there is no substitute for Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk.  I am totally willing to try the generic version of any food, but in the case of sweetened condensed milk I have tried the generic brands from Walmart (Great Value), Kroger, Aldi, and Marsh, and all of the generics taste gritty.  The Eagle Brand does not.  It is well worth the extra money to not have gritty coffee.

But I digress.  And even Eagle Brand couldn't save this pie.

The recipe wanted you to mix three eggs, a 14 ounce can of (Eagle Brand, for the love of God) sweetened condensed milk, 1-1/2 cups water, 1/3 cup Bisquick (I used the low fat version, but I doubt that the full fat kind would have made it any better), 1/4 cup of softened butter (I use generic butter), and 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract in a blender.  

I have no idea where my blender is.  I know that normal people don't lose small appliances, but that's exactly what happened.  I had a blender once, and now I don't.  My kitchen is pretty small, so I don't think it's hiding somewhere.  I think it just moved out or something.  Maybe it was raptured.  I have no idea.  The point is that I assembled the ingredients in my Kitchenaid Stand Mixer.  I'm a rebel like that.

At this point, I started to get a little nervous about this recipe, and I triple checked that it was really 1-1/2 cups of water.  That seemed like a lot.  And it looked disgusting.  But I had measured everything correctly, so I beat it for 3 minutes, as instructed.

Meanwhile I greased the pie plate.  Channeling my inner Paula Dean, I used real butter.

You can tell I'm fancy because I still haven't put away the crystal creamer and sugar from the weekend, and because I use real butter.

Three minutes elapsed, and the filling was looking slightly less vomitous:

Action Shot!
I poured it into the pan and let it sit for 5 minutes, as instructed.

It looked sort of... otherworldly...

...like the surface of the moon, after being pummeled by meteors or something.

When I start thinking too deeply about things, it's a good sign that my blood sugar is dropping.  Good thing I made this excellent skillet lasagna (from Pinterest, of course!) for dinner:

We need to talk about this recipe, though...  Meet me at the bottom of the post.
While the pie sat and made its impossible crust out of Bisquick, I nibbled on my Weeknight Lasagna Toss and tried to clean all the burnt cinnamon and sugar off of my waffle iron.  True story.

The timer went off, so I sprinkled coconut liberally on top of the pie...

...and I put it in the oven.  I put a sheet pan under it though, because I don't trust pies.  I have chiseled enough burnt sugar off of the bottom of my oven to know better.

35 minutes later, it was still liquid in the middle, so I set the timer for 5 more minutes.  That time I stuck a fork in it, and it was done.  

I let it cool while I put Jack to bed, and came back out to find that BJ had given the girls each a piece, and they hated it.  He ate theirs, though, and said it was "delicious."  (He also likes to drink chemical coffee every morning, though, and I suspect that half the time he tells me he likes something, he's just being polite.)

I guess if I had never had real custard, or if the word custard wasn't in the name of this pie, it would have been fine.  The flavor was fine.  The texture, though, was somewhere in between sweetened condensed scrambled eggs and cottage cheese.  But warm cottage cheese.  Small curd.  And sweet cottage cheese instead of salty.  (Do I know how to sell it or what?)  That's not what custard feels like.

I have a feeling that it would be greatly improved by the addition of some Reddi Whip.  It would also probably be better cold.  And it needs a name change.  Coconut cream pie would have been more accurate, except for the fact that that's already a thing that is also nothing like this pie.  There is nothing custard about this custard.  We went out for dinner at a French restaurant on Friday night, and we had real creme brulee (this is America, and I refuse to use accent marks, especially those fussy backwards ones).  Real custard lingers heavily on your tongue like a smooth, creamy bite of heaven.  If that experience hadn't been so fresh in my mind, I might have liked this.  But since I had such a recent custard experience, I knew that this just didn't measure up.

The "magic" crust sort of happened - there was a slightly thicker crust-like formation at the bottom.  It was very soggy, though.  It's possible that it was still slightly underbaked, although the filling was completely set in the middle and the soggy crust persisted all the way to the edges.  If I wanted to perfect this recipe, I might try it again with a longer bake time, but I can think of lots of things to do with sweetened condensed milk (Eagle Brand, if you know what's good for you) that are much, much better than this.

Impossible Coconut Custard Pie gets a C-.  Desserts automatically lose a letter grade when they don't include chocolate.  It lost another full letter grade for the texture, and a half for being inaccurately named.  Weeknight lasagna toss gets a solid B, mainly losing points because I had to change so much to make it yummy (see below).  Sweetened condensed milk coffee creamer gets a solid A.  Would get an A+ if the sweetened condensed milk was easier to get out of the damn can.

* Regarding the Weeknight Lasagna Toss - I used bow tie pasta (a whole box) instead of the lasagna noodles because it's similar in thickness but easier for my kids to deal with.  I had to add approximately two cups of water beyond what the recipe called for during the cooking time (15 minutes) before the noodles were done.  Also, I added a metric ton, give or take, of garlic salt and Italian seasoning, because the original recipe was meh and needed to be kicked up a notch.  Once the pasta was cooked, I added 4 ounces of Neufchatel cheese, which is hard to spell, to give it a little creaminess.  I used shredded "Mexican style" cheese (how can you tell it's Mexican, Grandpa Bob?  It has an accent!) instead of mozzarella, because in spite of the fact that I remember grabbing it off of the shelf at the store yesterday, it has disappeared from my house.  So basically this recipe was nothing like the one on Pinterest, which is probably why it was awesome.

What should I Pinvestigate next?  Leave a comment...


Kathryn said...

Here's a link for the original Bisquick recipe. It looks like the Pinterest version might have been changed along the way when someone didn't have milk. Anyway, this might turn out a bit better.
http://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/impossibly-easy-coconut-pie-gluten-free/3b3d8ffb-c159-4576-86da-ce971d2ee744?sc=Impossibly Easy Pie Recipes&term=Impossibly Easy Pie&itemId=7ad3aa0d-15db-4a80-a716-e7ba4d648474

Rob Monroe said...

Bummer about the pie - will steal your ideas about the other one!

Amy Austin said...

Oh I'll bet milk would've been a lot better. Funny that someone along the way took out the milk but left in the sweetened condensed milk... Wouldn't that be even worse than regular milk because it's concentrated?

Kathryn - make the other pie and write a guest post for me! :)

Bev said...

What a fun, funny post! Rapture...my new description for all those things that disappear without a clue from our house...giggle!

Since I'm a creamer addict, I will be trying that recipe and have never bought anything but Eagle Brand.

A happy, safe Fourth to you and yours!

Kathryn said...

I will do that - I just need the coconut!