Everyone loves turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing on Thanksgiving. But let's be honest, the real star of the show is the dessert! We're talking mouthwatering pies. If you want to impress your family and friends this Thanksgiving then try these awesome recipes from the one and only Tom Douglas. We got a personal baking lesson from top pastry chef Stacy Fortner. She let us know how they make their top pies at Dahlia Bakery: The world famous Triple Coconut Cream pie and the Hot Buttered Rum Apple pie. Watch and enjoy!
The recipes are below and you can also get them in Tom Douglas’ The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook
Triple Coconut Cream Pie
- Coconut Pastry Cream
- 1 cup (8 ounces/230 grams) milk
- 1 cup (8 ounces/230 grams) canned unsweetened coconut milk, stirred
- 2 cups (6 ounces/170 grams) shredded sweetened coconut
- 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (4 ¼ ounces/125 grams) sugar
- 3 tablespoons (7/8 ounce/26 grams) all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick/2 ounces/57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
- One 9-inch blind-baked and cooled coconut pastry shell (see below)
- Whipped Cream Topping
- 2 ½ cups (20 ounces/600 grams) heavy cream, chilled
- 1/3 cup (2 ¼ ounces/63 grams) sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 ounces (57 grams) unsweetened chip or large-shred coconut (about 1 ½ cups), or sweetened shredded coconut (about 2/3 cup)
- Chunk of white chocolate (4 to 6 ounces, to make 2 ounces of curls)
- 1. To make the coconut pastry cream, combine the milk, coconut milk, and shredded coconut in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan. Use a paring knife to scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add both the scrapings and the pod to the milk mixture. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and stir occasionally until the mixture almost comes to a boil.
- 2. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and flour until well combined. Temper the eggs by pouring a small amount (about 1/3 cup) of the scalded milk into the egg mixture while whisking. Then add the warmed egg mixture to the saucepan of milk and coconut. Whisk until the mixture is very thick, 4 to 5 minutes more. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Add the butter and whisk until it melts. Remove and discard the vanilla pod. Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and place it over another bowl of ice water. Stir occasionally until it is cool. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until completely cold. The pastry cream will thicken as it cools.
- 3. When the pastry cream is cold, fill the pastry shell, smoothing the surface with a rubber spatula.
- 4. In an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream with the sugar and vanilla extract to peaks that are firm enough to hold their shape. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip with the whipped cream and pipe it all over the surface of the pie.
- 5. For the garnish, preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the coconut chips on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 7 to 8 minutes, watching carefully and stirring once or twice until lightly browned, since coconut burns easily. Remove the coconut from the oven and allow to cool, then sprinkle it over the top of the pie. Use a vegetable peeler to scrape about 2 ounces of the white chocolate into curls on top of the pie. If you prefer, you can cut the pie into wedges and put the wedges on plates, then garnish each wedge individually with coconut and white chocolate curls.
Coconut Pastry Dough
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5 ¾ ounces/165 grams) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (1 ¾ ounces/50 grams) shredded sweetened coconut
- ½ cup (1 stick/4ounces/113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch dice
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/3 cup (2 5/8 ounces/75 grams) ice-cold water, or more as needed
- 1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, coconut, diced butter, sugar, and salt. Pulse to form coarse crumbs. Gradually add the water, a tablespoon at a time, pulsing each time. Use only as much water as needed for the dough to hold together when pressed gently between your fingers; don’t work the dough with your hands – just test to see if it’s holding. (The dough will not form a ball or even clump together in the processor – it will still be quite loose.)
- 2. Place a large sheet of plastic wrap on the counter and dump the coconut dough onto it. Pull the plastic wrap around the dough, forcing it into a rough flattened round with the pressure of the plastic wrap. Chill for 30 to 60 minutes before rolling.
- 3. To roll the dough, unwrap the round of coconut dough and put it on a lightly floured board. Flour the rolling pin and your hands. Roll the dough out into a circle about 1/8 inch thick. Occasionally lift the dough with a bench knife or scraper to check that it is not sticking and add more flour if it seems like it’s about to stick. Trim to a 12- to 13-inch round.
- 4. Transfer the rolled dough to a 9-inch pie pan. Ease the dough loosely and gently into the pan. You don’t want to stretch the dough at this point because it will shrink when it is baked. Trim any excess dough to a 1- to 1 ½-inch overhang. Turn the dough under along the rim of the pie pan and use your fingers and thumb to flute the edge. Chill the unbaked pie shell for at least an hour before baking. (This step prevents the dough from shrinking in the oven.)
- 5. When you are ready to bake the piecrust, preheat the oven to 400°F. Place a piece of parchment in the pie shell, with sides overhanging the pan, and fill with dried beans. (This step prevents the bottom of the shell from puffing up during baking.) Bake the piecrust for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry rim is golden. Remove the pie pan from the oven. Remove the paper and beans and return the piecrust to the oven. Bake for another 10 to 12 minutes or until the bottom of the crust has golden brown patches. Remove from the oven and allow the pie shell to cool completely.
Hot Buttered Rum Apple Pie
- 6 to 8 apples, such as Gravenstein (about 3 ¾ pounds/1.7 kilograms)
- 1/3 cup (2 ½ ounces/70 grams) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (1 3/8 ounces/40 grams) packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup (2 ounces/58 grams) dark rum
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick/2 ounces/60grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch dice
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon dry pectin or an extra ½ teaspoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Flaky but Tender Pastry Dough for double-crust 9-inch pie (see below for recipe)
- 1. Peel and core the apples and slice them ¼ to ½ inch thick. You should have about 8 cups of apple slices.
- 2. Place 2 large (at least 10-inch) sauté pans over medium-high heat and divide the 1/3 cup granulated sugar evenly between them. Cook the sugar, without stirring, until it melts and then caramelizes and turns amber in color, tilting the pans a little to swirl and distribute the color, adjusting the heat as needed. (As soon as it melts, it will quickly start caramelizing, so be ready to add the apples as soon as the color of the sugar turns amber.)
- 3. Add the apples, dividing them between the 2 pans, and sauté until they are about half-cooked and the juices that are released boil away and reduce until no liquid remains, 8 to 10 minutes. Toss and stir the apples regularly while they are cooking so they cook evenly on both sides. When the apples are done, they should have some give but should not fall apart when you press one between your fingers.
- 4. Transfer the apples to a bowl and allow them to cool completely to room temperature.
- 5. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F
- 6. When the apples are cooled, add the brown sugar, rum, butter, cornstarch, vanilla extract, pectin (if using), spices, and salt and toss to combine.
- 7. Put the apple filling in the pastry-lined pie plate. Place the pastry circle on top, roll the overhang up and over, and seal with starch water. Press or crimp the edge, then use a paring knife to cut a few vents in the top. If using pastry decorations, attached them to the top crust of the pie with starch water. Brush the pie (and the decorations, if using) with the heavy cream and sprinkle with the 2 tablespoons sugar.
- 8. Put the pie on a baking sheet to catch any drips, place in the oven, and bake for 30 minutes. Tent the pie with foil and continue to bake for 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake for 30 minutes or until the pie is evenly golden brown. (The total baking time is 2 hours.) Remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool for at least 1 hour on a wire rack before slicing. The pie will still be warm, or you can cool it to room temperature, then slice and serve.
Flaky but Tender Pastry Dough
- *For a 9- or 9 ½-inch single crust pie or a 10-inch tart shell
- 1 1/3 cups (6 1/8 ounces/175 grams) pastry or cake flour
- 1/3 cup (1 ¾ ounces/50 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ cup (1 stick/4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, freezer-cold, cut into ½-inch dice
- 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (we use “trans-fat-free” shortening), freezer-cold
- ¼ cup (2 ounces/57 grams) ice-cold water, or more as needed
- 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
- *For a 9-inch double crust pie or 8 individual rustic pies
- 2 2/3 cups (12 ¼ ounces/350 grams) pastry or cake flour
- 2/3 cup (3 ½ ounces/100 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks/8 ounces/226 grams) unsalted butter, freezer-cold, cut into ½-inch dice
- ¼ cup vegetable shortening (we use “trans-fat-free” shortening), freezer-cold
- ½ cup (4 ounces/114 grams) ice-cold water, or more as needed
- 2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
Electric Mixer Instructions
- 1. In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle, combine the flours, sugar, and salt. Add the cold butter and shortening, mixing on low speed until the mixture looks shaggy and the pieces of butter are slightly smaller than peas. Stop the mixer and check the size of the butter, sifting through the mixture with your hands. If you find a few bigger chunks, quickly smear them between your fingers.
- 2. Put the ice-cold water and vinegar into a measuring cup or small container and stir to combine.
- 3. Add the water-vinegar mixture to the flour-fat mixture in the electric mixer on low speed and mix briefly with a few rotations of the paddle, but do not let the dough come together.
- 4. Turn off the mixer and scrape around the sides and the bottom of the mixer bowl to make sure there are no pockets of dry ingredients, rotating the paddle a few more times if needed, then squeeze a small amount of dough in your hand. The dough should come together as a clump. If the dough seems too dry, add a little more water a few teaspoons at a time and rotate the paddle a few more times.
- 5. Remove the dough from the mixer and shape, wrap, and chill as directed.
Food Processor Instructions
- 1. Put the flours, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the cold butter and shortening to the dry ingredients. Use your hands to break up the shortening into several small clumps and get them coated with flour.
- 2. Pulse 9 to 12 times. Turn off the machine and take the lid off. The butter should be in pieces a little smaller than the size of a pea. If needed, put the lid back on and pulse a couple more times.
- 3. Put the ice-cold water and vinegar into a measuring cup or small container and stir to combine.
- 4. Gradually pour the water-vinegar mixture through the feed tube while pulsing 10 to 12 times. Take the lid off. Use your fingers to see if you can clump the mixture together to form a dough. (The dough should not come together to form a ball while you are pulsing it in the food processor, but it should form a clump pressed between your fingers.) Use a rubber spatula to scrape around the sides of the food processor bowl and the bottom of the bowl to see if there are any dry pockets of flour. If the dough seems too dry, you can add more water a few teaspoons at a time and pulse a few more times.
- 5. Remove the dough from the food processor and shape, wrap, and chill as directed.