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31 March 2011

How to Make Buko Pie, by Mona Simpson, from her novel My Hollywood

From her website:

She worked ten years on My Hollywood. “It’s the book that took me too long because it meant so much to me,” she says.

Claire, a composer and a new mother, comes to L.A. so her husband can follow his dream of writing TV comedy. Suddenly, the marriage changes. Paul works long hours, leaving Claire with a baby, William, whom she adores but has no idea how to care for. Enter Lola—a 52-year-old mother of five, who comes to America to find work to pay for her own children’s higher education back in the Philippines. Lola stabilizes Claire’s rocky household, and soon other parents try to lure her away. What she sacrifices to stay with Claire and William remains her own closely guarded secret. In a novel, at turns satirical and heartbreaking, where mothers’ modern ideas are given practical overhauls by nannies, we meet Lola’s vast network of fellow caregivers, each with her own story to tell. We see the upstairs competition for the best nanny and the downstairs competition for the best deal, and are forced to ask whether it’s possible to buy love for our children and what that transaction costs. We see the endangerment of a modern marriage despite the best of intentions. This tender, witty, and resonant novel provides the profound pleasures readers have come to expect from Mona Simpson, here writing at the height of her powers.

For an excerpt, reviews, an outtake, and video of Mona Simpson reading from the novel, please click here. 

Here's the buko pie recipe:


For the wedding of Lucy and Tony ---

Buko Pie


                                                         3 cups flour
                                                         2 1/2 tbsp. sugar
                                                         3/4 tsp. salt
                                                         3/4 cup vegetable shortening
                                                         3 egg yolks
                                                         1/2 cup ice water

                                                         2 cups young coconut, shredded
                                                         1/2 cup young coconut juice
                                                         1/2 cup condensed milk
                                                         2/3 cup 1% milk
                                                         4 tbsp. sugar
                                                         1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
                                                         1/2 cup cornstarch
                                                         1/2 cup cold milk

To make the pastry, combine flour, sugar, and salt in a bowl.  Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly.  Combine egg yolks and ice water and blend into flour mixture until it turns into dough.  Add a little more water if dough is still crumbly.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  With a  rolling pin, roll dough thinly, about 1/4 inch thick, on a lightly floured board.  Bake the piecrust, set aside, and cool.  Combine pie filling ingredients except cornstarch in a deep saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.  When boiling gently, add cornstarch, stirring fast, until combined mixture has thickened.  Pour mixture evenly into prepared piecrust.  Let cool, then refrigerate until firm.

For Lettie, this was the recipe for wealth at home.

Notes:  Mona didn't state the baking temperature and baking time for the piecrust.  The piecrust recipe is enough for a 9 inch deep dish pie pan.  15 minutes or so in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven should be enough to bake it.  Also, instead of just adding the cornstarch on its own as the last step for the filling, mix it with some of the cold milk before pouring into the saucepan.  Pictures of the pie I made last night below:


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