Today’s Community Cookbook: The Church Ladies’ Divine Desserts, Heavenly Recipes and Sweet Recollections (Copyright 2001 by Ellen Rolfes Books, Inc., and Brenda Rhodes Miller; Printed by G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, NY)
The desserts in this ethereal collection are indeed divine. Compiled by Brenda Rhodes Miller from culinary-gifted church ladies across the country, the cookbook features a Southern roll call of down-home favorites with delicious twists, including this decadent Coconut Custard Pie from the author’s mother, who was a member of Toulminville-Warren UMC in Mobile, Alabama. The rich French custard, baked in a graham cracker crust that softens to a seductive cake-like texture, is (dare we say!) the best we’ve ever tasted. Mrs. Miller’s fresh Raspberry Chiffon Pie also won rave reviews in our Test Kitchen. Not to be missed: the Spicy Devil’s Food Cake wrapped in swirls of caramel frosting and the golden-crusted Sweet Potato Cobbler. Vintage photos and beautifully written vignettes add the perfect lagniappe.
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Coconut Custard Pie
Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 1/3 cup melted butter, and 1/4 cup sugar; press on bottom and up sides of a lightly greased 9-inch pie plate. Bake 12 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Increase oven temp to 425°. Whisk together 3 large eggs, well beaten; 2 cups whipping cream; 3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut; 1/2 cup sugar; and 1 tsp. vanilla extract; pour into crust. Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 325°. Shield edges with foil; bake 20 minutes or until set. Cool completely.