Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Marion Cunningham’s Crustless Coconut Custard Pie

It is hard to believe Marion Cunningham didn’t make the Gourmet Live list of 50 Women Game-Changer. A life-long resident of California, she went from homemaker to cookbook author and columnist. She assisted James Beard and helped introduced Alice Waters to the world. She is perhaps best known for rewriting The Fannie Farmer Cookbook. (Read more about her in this New York Times article.)

However, first and foremost, Marion Cunningham was a teacher. She made the most clueless cook feel capable of creating a meal to feed themselves, family and friends. Her book Learning to Cook with Marion Cunningham provided step by step instructions so there is no question as to how a dish should be made. Her Cooking with Children book opened the door to life-long cooking. And all of her cookbooks featured ingredients that can be found in any supermarket. (Photo from her publisher's website.)

I believe her writing and teaching skills were all a way of reaching her ultimate goal of getting people back into the kitchen and around the family table. In the introduction of Learning to Cook, she told about the experience of teaching Saturday cooking classes to beginners in preparation for writing the book. She wrote, “Every time we cooked, we sat down around my dining-room table and looked at the results of our lessons. Cooking in my kitchen, then enjoying each other’s company over a home-cooked meal, helped introduce (or re-introduce) these adult beginners to the social pleasures of cooking and eating together, pleasures that are often missing in busy lives. They tell me how they learned that going home at the end of the day, after busy work pressures, to a quiet time of cooking can be the best kind of therapy. That feeling is one of the best gifts that cooking at home can give us, and I hope that all of you using these recipe and sitting down to enjoy a meal with your friends, family, or even alone will find the same kind of satisfaction.” 

Marion Cunningham died on July 11. But her lessons and her food will endure through generations.

Here is one of her recipes that is both easy to prepare and wonderful to consume!

Crustless Coconut Custard Pie
Adapted from Learning to Cook with Marion Cunningham

2 cups milk
1/2 cup all-purpose white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup sweetened packaged coconut, plus more for garnish
Powdered sugar, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the milk, flour, baking powder, salt, eggs, sugar, and vanilla into a food processor and whiz for three minutes. Add the 1 cup coconut and whiz again for 3 seconds.

Pour the mixture into a 10-inch pie pan and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Check to see if the pie is done by sticking a sharp knife into the center. If it comes out clean, it’s done. If not, bake for an additional 5 minutes and check again.
Serve at room temperature or cold, cut into wedges. Dust with powdered sugar and sprinkle with toasted coconut if desired. Also nice served with fresh fruit.

To toast coconut, sprinkle 1/4 cup coconut onto a baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake until toasted, about 5 minutes. Keep an eye on it, since the coconut will reach the burning stage quickly!


Emma | Fork and Good said...

ahhh drool! Why do I do this to myself an hour after lunch!

A Sunflower Life said...

LOL Emma, I just had some for breakfast!

Brittany said...

Yum! I love everyday cakes. And I have some lonely, leftover coconut sitting in my pantry. I'm making this. Thanks for sharing!

~~louise~~ said...

I didn't really follow the Gourmet Live list of 50 Women Game-Changer exactly for this reason. I agree Marion Cunningham made many culinary contributions and this Crustless Coconut Custard Pie is one of my favorites!

Thanks for sharing, Linda...

~~louise~~ said...

I hope you don't mind Linda but I pinned her on my Retro Board on Pinterest.

Kathy said...

I’ve had a very crazy week and missed commenting on so many posts….This looks so lovely! I make a Blender Coconut Custard Pie that I have been making for years, it calls for Bisquick and makes it’s own crust! I love Marion’s version so much more…will have to give it a try!
I agree with you about Marion Cunningham not making the list for Gourmet Live. She was so influential in the food world, more so than some of the other ladies that where chosen. A lovely tribute to a wonderful lady!

ice cream goddess said...

Making this right now as a surprise for the hubby. I always post pictures on my FB page when I make something delish.

Catherine said...

Dear Linda, I love coconut custard pie. This looks like the kind of pie that my kids and I could finish in one sitting!
It was a favorite when I was growing up.
Thank you dear Linda for your kind visits through these past few months. It means so much to know you are being thought of and cared about. Blessings dear. Catherine xoxo

A Sunflower Life said...

Catherine, thank you for you lovely comments. I'm glad things are starting to come together for you.