Chocolate & Coconut Cream Pie Bars
Source - http://willowbirdbaking.com/2012/02/27/chocolate-coconut-cream-pie-bars/
Recipe by: Willow Bird Baking with filling adapted from All Recipes
Yield: 12-16 bars, depending on size
Okay, 30 minutes of stirring sounds like a lot. But now that I know how incredible these bars are, I would stir for an hour if I had to — maybe even two! They combine all the goodness of an old-fashioned coconut cream pie with the perfect amount of rich ganache. In short, these things are amazing. I used stabilized whipped cream on top of my bars, but if you’re serving them immediately and don’t anticipate keeping them long, feel free to just use plain whipped cream.
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup icing sugar
3/8 cups heavy cream
about 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (I love Ghirardelli’s 60% cacao chips)
about 3 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
Coconut Cream Filling Ingredients:
3 cups half-and-half
3 cups coconut milk
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2/3 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped Cream Topping Ingredients:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon cold water (for stabilizing)
1 teaspoon gelatin (for stabilizing)
3-4 tablespoons icing sugar
1/2 cup coconut, toasted
Make shortbread crust: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9 x 13 in. baking dish with a parchment paper sling (I use one long sheet across the length of my dish, and two overlapping short sheets across the width of my dish — just arrange it so that it has some overlap and overhang to help you pull the bars out after they’re finished). Cut the butter into the flour and icing sugar and press into the baking dish (I used a food processor to cut the fat into the flour — about 6 pulses — and then the bottom of a glass to press the mixture into the pan). Bake 18-20 minutes or until light brown. Set on a wire rack. Keep oven preheated for coconut toasting.
Make ganache: While the shortbread is baking, place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring the cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan (or microwave it for a couple of minutes). Once the cream reaches a simmer, pour the cream over the chocolate and let stand 1-2 minutes. Whisk in small circles until a smooth ganache has formed. Set it aside until your crust is finished and has cooled for a few minutes, and then pour it over the crust (it’s okay if it’s not cooled all the way). Place the chocolate covered crust in the fridge to chill until the ganache is set into a firm layer.
Toast coconut for the topping: Spread about 1/2 cup of the coconut flakes out on a baking sheet and toast for a few minutes, stirring every minute or so, until the coconut is golden brown. Spread it out on a plate to cool completely.
Make coconut cream filling: Combine the half-and-half, coconut milk, eggs, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-low heat, whisking constantly (this can take anywhere from 30-38 minutes. Some folks on All Recipes said you could zap it in the microwave for a minute at a time, stirring after every minute, until it was thickened. It was only supposed to take around 5-10 minutes, but I was too chicken to try. Let me know if you do.) Add coconut and vanilla extracts and the 1 1/2 cups of untoasted coconut and stir. Pour this filling over your chilled ganache and stick the whole thing in the fridge to chill until firm, about 2 to 4 hours.
Make whipped cream topping: Put 1 tablespoon cold water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin evenly over the top. Let it soften for 2 minutes before microwaving it for 30 seconds and whisking to dissolve the gelatin. Using a chilled bowl and beater, whisk the 2 cups of heavy cream and icing sugar together until the cream forms stiff peaks, stopping to add gelatin mixture about halfway through. Dollop the cream over your bars and gently spread it around. Sprinkle on toasted coconut. Chill until ready to serve to let the whipped cream set up. Use the sling to pull the bars out of the dish, slice with a sharp knife, and enjoy!