Today, I decided to make a tiny coconut pie with “leftover” cookies. I’m nowhere near as good as a mediocre pastry chef, but I just really dislike wasting food. I had an opened bag of cookies for a while now, plus I had the courage to attempt to make a pie. This easy-to-make but delicious pie requires minimal effort and ingredients. Yet I still failed.
- This blogpost contains 5% actual recipe instructions and 95% dramatic storytelling -
Can you relate to this situation when you open a new pack of cookies and after 1 or 2 pieces you’ve had enough and leave it opened on your desk for the rest of the year? This was the unfortunate fate of my pepernoten cookies that I’ve left on my desk for many months. If you’re not familiar with pepernoten, these are tiny spiced cookies which are eaten around the Dutch holiday Sinterklaas. Officially they are called kruidnoten, but I prefer to call them pepernoten. If you know when Sinterklaas is celebrated, you know how old my pepernoten are.
To start off, here are the ingredients you’re going to need. I’m not that type of gal that follows the instructions precisely along with the exact amount of ingredients, probably the reason why my pastries fail most of the time. But just for the sake of it, I tracked down the amounts I’ve used and recommend for the pie and included them in this list. If you follow these amounts, you should be on the right track making a normal pie, unlike mine.
- Old cookies (300 grams)
- Vegan margarine or butter (60 - 80 grams)
- Vegan coconut yoghurt (400 ml)
- Agar-agar (10 grams)
- Coconut milk or cream (100 ml)
- Powdered sugar (50 grams)
- Grated coconut
- Lillet Blanc (75 cl)
1. Melt the butter or margarine in a pan. Drizzle this melted stuff on the cookies and crumble them.
Now this was one of the biggest struggles I had during this whole pie-making process. First I tried to crush them by hand without added melted margarine, but it turned out they were pretty hard to crush due to the oldness I think. So then I switched to using a utensil and crushed them in the plastic bag they were stored in instead of using a cloth or paper towel. Less equipment = less to clean, I thought to myself. “You is so smart”, I said to myself. But boy I was wrong. They just flew around in the plastic bag without getting crushed. Also the bag was starting to rip off so there were some plastic pieces found in my bowl of hardly crushed pepernoten. By the way I used an ice cream scooper since I didn’t have a regular food crusher. After this, I tried using a paper towel on top of the cookies in the bowl and pound on them as hard as I could with my ice cream scooper. The cookies still wouldn’t break, I was sad.
After trying a lot of methods I wanted to cry, but I didn’t and kept thinking of methods to crush them. This is when I started melting the butter first and pour that into my bowl of pepernoten to soften them. And guess what, IT WORKED! Holy moly I was as happy as pink cow on a chocolate rainbow. Unfortunately I used way too much margarine which left me with a soggy wet crust. I used about 250 grams of margarine. I recommend using 60 grams of margarine or butter and 80 grams for really old and dry cookies. (Yes I could have used a food processer for crushing the pepernoten but I didn’t think of that earlier on. Also it might have helped if I had baked it for a moment but I don’t have an oven present at home.)
So wet, baby.
2. Place the crumbled cookies into your pie mold and flatten it down. Put it aside or in the fridge.
No explanation needed. This step I managed to succeed surprisingly, so no failed story this time. Although I did have a bit of a struggle with the parchment paper, but that was nothing major.
3. Prepare the agar-agar according to the instructions of your agar-agar packaging.
4. Combine the yoghurt with coconut milk and powdered sugar. Pour the warm agar-agar into this and mix it well.
Be prepared, this is where the failure continues. Every agar packaging has its own instructions so please read that carefully. I have never used agar before so this was my first recipe using this product. I don’t know how it should look like when used right, as I was a bit disappointed at how it turned out after I put it in the fridge for a few hours. It might have to do with the excess of oil in my crust. I’ve read somewhere on the internet that agar doesn’t work optimal when fatty ingredients (oil in crust and coconut milk) are present, not sure if this is true tho. Also I did not fully follow the instructions on the packaging, as a true chef. Anyway, I scooped out the filling, added more agar to the filling, mixed it, poured it back onto the crust and waited for another few hours. Luckily it turned out great this time except for some parts that wasn’t mixed well with the second time adding agar. But hey, that’s okay. I added a total amount of approximately 10 grams of agar.
By the way, I used coconut-mango yoghurt instead of regular coconut yoghurt cause this was in the weekly sales at the supermarket and I’m a cheap ass student. Also I initially wanted to use coconut cream instead of coconut milk, but the damage was already done when I found out I bought the wrong item.
5. Pour the filling onto the crust and place it in the fridge for at least 3 hours. Sprinkle grated coconut on top as decoration.
I wasn’t too happy about the consistency as it was a bit runny on some parts that wasn’t mixed well with the second time addition of agar. I had put it in the freezer for a few hours to stiffen it up a bit. Here’s the result:
I like pies, but I am bad at cutting pies.
This post might come off a bit too much as a failure as I didn’t follow any instructions. But to be honest, I think it’s good to improvise once in a while and discover things on your own. Learning from mistakes is one of the best ways to improve yourself and make personal growth in my opinion. Have a little fun, have some laughter when looking back at your mistakes.
“Why so serious?”
- Random fictional psychopath villain
As I’ve prepared for this mess, we are now going to use the last ingredient which wasn’t mentioned before. Pick one of your most fancy drinking glasses and pour in the Lillet. I like to drink this with one part Lillet, one part tonic and a few teardrops. Cheers ✽
By the way, the coconut pie tasted OK.