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This week, in celebration of the James Beard Foundation finally honoring Tom Douglas as the nation's most outstanding restaurateur , we're working our way through

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100 Favorite Dishes: Coconut Cream Pie at Dahlia Lounge

coconuttcpie.jpg
This week, in celebration of the James Beard Foundation finally honoring Tom Douglas as the nation's most outstanding restaurateur, we're working our way through the Douglas portion of our favorite dishes list.

I hadn't planned to include Dahlia's triple coconut cream pie on the favorite dish list. Not because there's anything wrong with the pie, but because the pie has starred in big Hollywood blockbusters and cozied up to the president. How much more attention does a pile of milk, sugar and eggs really need?

Plenty, Voracious contributors assured me. When I polled them as to which Tom Douglas dish I shouldn't leave out of this week's retrospective, I was pummeled by five pro-pie e-mails over the span of 10 minutes.

Leslie Kelly, who briefly worked in Douglas' pastry kitchen, offered her unique perspective on the dish:

"It was stunning to me to see all the people who were involved in making those bites of creamy goodness," Kelly writes. "There's a woman strictly dedicated to creating the crust (which has coconut flakes in it.) Patric Gabre-Kidan, who was pastry chef for TD way back when, adjusted the original custard recipe to use coconut milk, to make it more coconutty. Even the dishwasher shaved the white chocolate."

According to Kelly, there isn't any one person who's responsible for the richness of the filling or the flakiness of the crust. The pie that now serves as the centerpiece of so many first dates, weddings and anniversaries is a sweet symbol of what happens when disparate ideas, talents and skills are joined.

"It's such a team effort, and that's speaks to the TD world," Kelly says. "The 800 people now working for him deserve a slice of that award, too!"

Here's guessing they might want that slice with coconut cream on top.

Follow Voracious on Facebook & Twitter. Follow me at @hannaraskin

 
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