Cauliflower-Coconut Custard Pie

As a professional recipe developer, I taste a lot of my recipes as I am creating them, and at times my taste buds go numb. However, there is one recipe that makes my mouth water every time I write about it or see a photo of it. That recipe is my Cauliflower-Coconut Custard Pie!! I know you are probably squirming when I said the words “cauliflower” and “pie” in the same sentence, but you are going to have to trust me on this one!

First of all, the inspiration for this recipe came to me during the holidays when the sight of flaked coconut in the grocery store baking aisle conjured up memories of my Aunt Bonnie’s homemade coconut cake shaped in the form of a festive snowman. As kids, we would also beg our mom to buy those pre-made coconut ice cream snowballs to have on Christmas Eve. These vintage frozen holiday treats were decorated with a small red candle set in royal icing that resembled a sprig of holly. As a five year old, I don’t think I ever saw a more beautiful and elegant holiday dessert!

Being a child born in the 60’s, I also remember baked custard pies made with eggnog instead of cream.  My mom would bake the custard pies in the oven until the egg-based cream would no longer jiggle and then she let the pies cool on the counter until she slipped the pies into the refrigerator. The next day, the cold custard would cut into perfectly chilled wedges of silky smooth decadence.  I could have easily eaten the entire pie! 

As a recipe developer, I am known for my Cauliflower Lemon Cupcakes, so I decided to try my luck on adding cooked cauliflower to the eggnog custard and throw in a handful of flaked coconut. Little did I know that ALL the cherished smells and tastes of my childhood would come flooding back as this pie baked in the oven and my fork led me to the first bite of heaven. I’m not the only one who thinks this. My friends at Ocean Mist Farms had an opportunity to sample this unique pie. They too became believers of this unique combination of pie ingredients! The Cauliflower adds lightness to the rich cream while the coconut co-mingles its flavor and texture to literally mask any trace of cauliflower, which might give away “the” secret ingredient!  I never tell folks what “that” ingredient is until they are on their second or third piece of pie and then the truth may come out!

Never the less, this pie will stay in your memory long after the holiday season and lucky for us, Ocean Mist Farm’s cauliflower is available all year!   

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Adrienne Saldivar-Meier
Adrienne Saldivar-Meier is a professional home cook and professional recipe developer for America’s top agricultural growers, including Ocean Mist Farms. She has written hundreds of recipes for the home cook and has won the Marketing Excellence Award from Produce Business for her creation of Ocean Mist Farm’s artichoke recipe, “Chokes & Chili”. Adrienne conducts cooking classes in her coastal home along the Monterey Bay of California and offers cooking retreats in her Pacific Northwest Log Lodge outside of Spokane, Washington.
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