One of my most memorable dates with my then-future husband was a picnic in the park. I wanted to display my cooking talents to my new beau, so I planned to make everything myself: fried chicken, coleslaw, baked beans, and coconut cream pie. I had helped my mom in the kitchen my whole life, so none of this was daunting for me-except the elusive piecrust.
I spent an hour trying to roll out the pie dough, but had failed miserably each and every time. I was ready to quit when my mother walked into the kitchen after a long day at work. She saw my despair and patiently taught me the art of pie baking.The pie was delicious, the picnic a success, and we were engaged a few short years later.
To this day, my husband claims he was ready to ask me to marry him at our first picnic, because I made such a delicious pie. Oh, the power of pie.

Sweetie-licious Cream Cheese Crust
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
11/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt

1. Mix the butter and cream cheese in a stand mixer using the paddle attachment on medium speed until well blended. Add the flour, sugar, and salt; mix just until blended.
2. Pat into a disk, wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
3. Roll out on a floured surface until the dough is round and 11-12 inches wide. Place into a 9-inch pan. Shape and crimp the crust.
4. Freeze.
Johnny's Creamy Coconut Cream Pie Filling
1 (15-ounce) can cream of coconut (the kind used as an alcoholic drink mixer)
2 cups whole milk
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
Dash of salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1. Mix the coconut, milk, egg yolks, cornstarch, and salt in a medium pan.
2. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly until thick.
3. Remove from the heat and add the butter, coconut, and vanilla and almond extracts.
4. Pour the filling into a piecrust and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

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