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½ cup sweetened flaked coconut, divided

1½ cups water

3 tablespoons cornstarch

¼ teaspoon salt

1 (14-ounce) can
sweetened condensed milk

3 egg yolks

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon coconut extract


3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut

3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

2 tablespoons melted butter


3 egg whites

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

3 tablespoons sugar

Toast 1/2 the coconut over low flame until lightly golden brown; set aside.

Combine water, cornstarch and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Add condensed milk and egg yolks and whisk until smooth. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened enough to mound on a spoon, about 10 minutes.

Stir in butter, vanilla and coconut extract, then the untoasted coconut. Set aside to cool slightly.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine crust ingredients (through melted butter) in a bowl with a fork, mixing until it begins to clump together. With fingers, press into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Spoon filling into the crust.

To make the topping, whip egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form, then add sugar slowly with mixer running until meringue forms stiff peaks. Over the still slightly warm filling spread meringue, being sure to go completely to the edges of the pie plate all around. Make decorative peaks and ridges in the meringue with the back of a spoon or the tines of a fork.

Sprinkle with the toasted coconut and place into oven until top browns, about 6 minutes.

Judith Dunbar Hines

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