Category Archives: dessert

Curried Coconut Hand Pies

I seem to be a little obsessed with hand pies these days! Following my previous post for a savory hand pie, I thought I’d follow up with a sweet option. The inspiration for this pie came from browsing the spice blends with Kristina at Stone Creek Kitchen.  I had planned on doing a coconut pudding filling and was inspired to add a savory spice blend for a little extra kick. I used a curry mix, but I’m sure that a garam masala or STK’s Ancient Chinese Secret spice blend would work just as well. The filling for these pies makes a great pudding on its own–just serve with some fresh berries and a crispy cookie.

(yields 12 pies)



1          cup                  Whole MilkIMG_1900

1          can (15oz.)      Coconut Milk

½         cup                  Brown Sugar

¼         cup                  Corn Starch

¼         tspn                 Salt

4          large                Egg yolks

1          Tblspn            Butter

1 ½      tspn                 Curry Powder

1          tspn                 Vanilla Paste or Extract

¾         cup                  Coconut (shredded, unsweetened)IMG_1929

1          medium           Banana

2          Tblspn             Brown Sugar

2          Tblspn             Butter


3          cups                All Purpose Flour

½         cup                  Coconut

2          Tblspns            Sugar

1          tspn                 Salt

¾         cup                  Vegetable Shortening

1          large                Egg

6          Tblspns            Cold Water

1          tspn                 Cider Vinegar

1-2       cups                Oil for frying (a high smoke-point oil like canola, peanut or sunflower)

Make filling

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • In a medium sauce pan, bring milks just to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Meanwhile, combine brown sugar, corn starch, salt and egg yolks in a large bowl and whisk to completely combine.
  • Slowly whisk the hot milk into egg mixture. Return mixture to the sauce pan.
  • Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Whisk in butter, curry powder and vanilla.
  • Spread coconut evenly on a small baking sheet. Toast in oven for 5-7 minutes or until evenly browned. Watch carefully, as coconut burns quickly.
  • Peel banana. Cut in half and slice into ¼” half moons.
  • Melt butter and brown sugar in a non-stick sauté pan over medium heat. Add bananas and cook until nicely caramelized—about 5 minutes.
  • Fold toasted coconut and caramelized bananas into filling.

Make dough:

  • Combine flour, coconut, sugar and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
  • Add shortening and cut into the flour mixture with two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips until the mix resemble a course meal—kind of like wet sand.
  • Whisk together egg, water and vinegar and add to flour mixture.
  • Combine with a fork until a rough ball begins to form.
  • Pull dough out onto a lightly floured board or clean counter and turn and push mixture together a few times to form a cohesive ball. Flatten into a disk and wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes or more.



  • Cut dough in half and roll half out to ⅛” thickness on a lightly floured board. Cut out 5” circles and set aside. Roll up scraps and set aside.
  • Roll out second half of dough in the same manner. Gather up all scraps and roll out one last batch. You should have 12 circles.
  • Working in batches of 4 or 6 circles (depending on space), place about a tablespoon of filling in the center of each circle. Wipe the edges of the dough with a finger dipped in water. Fold edges together and pinch with thumb and index finger. Crimp edges with a fork. If fork sticks to dough, dip it in a little flour.


  • Place oil in a heavy bottomed pan with sides at least 3” high to a depth of about 1 ½”. Heat over medium heat to a temperature of about 350°.
  • Fry pies, two or three at a time, for about 2 minutes on each side until lightly browned.  Drain on a rack over a sheet pan.


  • These pies taste best if eaten within a day.
  • Using pre-made frozen pie crust is an acceptable shortcut.
  • Components can be made a day or two ahead and assembled and fried when ready.

Maple-Apple Tapioca Pudding

Tapioca pudding is a comfort food classic and an all-American favorite. Since it’s sugaring season in the Northest, I thought it would be nice to make a version of tapioca pudding using maple syrup.

On the farm where I grew up in Vermont, my brothers still make maple syrup. The method for gathering the sap and boiling it down into syrup has changed over the years, but the result remains the same—a delicious product that has many uses beyond a sweet topping for pancakes and waffles. Try substituting  maple syrup in marinades and dressings (like balsamic vinaigrette) that call for a small amount of sugar to add an extra depth of flavor. It’s also a great ingredient for experimenting with cocktails.

The key to making a good tapioca pudding is to cook the pearls until they’re just cooked—not crunchy, but also not mushy and falling apart. Soaking the pearls in water before cooking helps to achieve the perfect texture, and it shortens the cooking time.

 (makes 4-6 servings)

2          medium           Apples—tart and crisp (Gala or Granny Smith work well)

2          Tblspn             Butter


½         cup                  Maple Syrup

½         cup                  Tapioca

¾         cup                  Water

1 ½      cup                  Milk

1          large                Egg – lightly beaten

½         tspn                 Cinnamon

  • Place tapioca and water in medium sized heavy bottomed pan. Let tapioca soak for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, peel and core apples and cut into small dice.
  • Melt butter in sauté pan over medium heat. Add ¼ cup syrup and bring to a simmer. Add  apples and toss to coat. Cook for about 5 minutes or until syrup has thickened a bit and apples are just beginning to soften.
  • Add milk and egg to tapioca, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a low simmer and cook until tapioca pearls are completely opaque and have lost all of their crunch, but still hold their shape.
  • Add apples, remaining ¼ cup syrup and cinnamon and stir to combine. If too thick, add a bit more milk or water.
  • Serve warm, at room temperature or cooled.