Saturday, January 25, 2014

50 Chefs for 50 Years and Gilligan's Island

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I could survive on this if I was ship wrecked!

I need a food styling class....delicious, but not pretty! 
The Professor, Gilligan and Mary Ann...1994
 What?  Didn't you say this was 50 Chefs (or cooks)?  What the heck is Gilligan doing here?  For you young readers, check out the Gilligan's Island Wikipedia, and let me explain.  When I grew up, way back in the 70's, we had 3 channels.  Every day after school, we would watch Gilligan's Island (best theme song ever!) and the Brady Bunch.  Then, we would head to the big woods in my yard and we would play on the fallen trees, building forts and making our own little Gilligan's Island.  We always fought over who got to be Mary Ann.  Neither me, nor my friends, were Gingers.

Mary Ann and Christina who is just 7 months old!

So fast forward to January, 1994.  I was visiting my parents with my little children, (they were 4 and 1) and The Hurricane, a restaurant on Passe-A-Grille, was having a shipwreck party.  I was so excited!  I met Gilligan, Mary Ann and the Professor.  Sadly Gilligan passed away about 9 years ago, and the professor, Russell Johnson passed away last week.  They were the nicest people and they so understand what an important part of many childhoods they were.  Gilligan even wore the hat!  But it is crazy when you think that the show aired prime time in 1964-1967 (I was born in 64),  but was a daily standard throughout most of the early 70's.  All reruns.

A fun keepsake of my 70's childhood.

Mary Ann

The Professor

Since my childhood friends would be turning 30 in 1994,  I bought the Gilligan's Island Cookbook for a few of them, and had them signed.  Of course I bought one for me too!  The book is a funny read.  It has lots of photos and quips from the TV series.  There are little bios on the characters (not on the actors who played them) and then lots of recipes.  The book is compiled by Mary Ann, aka Dawn Wells.  And the recipes aren't terrible, but they all have these goofy names to them that incorporate many of the characters who visited the castaways, and never seemed to help them get off!  What I love about the book is that there is 11 recipes for coconut cream pie.  Ha!  Guess what we are making?  The show may not have been an influence in my cooking, but I don't care.  It is signed and part of my collection.  So yea, Thomas Keller is coming, but today is all about MaryAnn.   It is my childhood, and I have never made a coconut cream pie until now!  The big dilemma was which recipe?  Mary Ann's?  Skipper's?  Mrs. Howell's?  Well of course Gilligan's.  So, just sit right back....

Gilligan's Favorite Coconut Cream Pie

1 1/3 cups half and half
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup flour
3 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups shredded coconut
1 9" baked pie shell
3 T sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Pre bake the pie shell according to directions on the package.  I used a roll out shell from a nice organic market.  I baked it with pie weights, and then finished it off without to brown the crust.  Cool.

Delicious custard!
In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, scald the half and half.  Add sugar, salt and flour and whisk until smooth.  Cover and cook for 15 minutes.  I found my custard quite thick after 5 minutes.  Keep an eye on it.  Separate the eggs and beat the yolks.  Remove the pan from the boiler, and slowly whisk in the egg yolks.  Return pan to the water and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring.  Remove from heat and add vanilla and coconut.  3 cups of coconut is a lot, and my filling turned into dough very quickly.  I added more half and half to try and loosen it up a little, but still I had to press it into the pie shell when it was cooled.  It was not custardy at all.  It was like the inside of a Mounds Bar, although my coconut was unsweetened, I felt the sweetness balance was perfect.  I think a sweetened coconut would have been too sweet.  I also think a graham cracker crust would be pretty tasty!

Beat the egg whites with remaining sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.  Spread over the pie and toast in the oven (or with a torch) until browned.  Makes 6 servings. (Huge servings!)

No sugar coating on here.
Super fine shreds of coconut.

If you missed any of my previous 50 Chefs for 50 Years posts, here's an easy way to catch up!

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