Coconut is king at Charlotte's Eats and Sweets | Rock Candy

Friday, January 3, 2014

Coconut is king at Charlotte's Eats and Sweets

Posted By on Fri, Jan 3, 2014 at 12:22 AM

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There’s this new dessert all the kids are talking about…something called “pie.” Here’s the deal—there’s this stuff called “crust” that sits in a plate and then gets stuffed with just about anything you can imagine. That’s it…a pie is born. It’s magical.

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Of course, we all know Arkansas is completely batty for pie. Just bonkers for the stuff. Heck, you may have absolutely no desire to read one more word about pie. Hey, I get it, pie hater. Perhaps everything that needs to be said about Arkansas pie has already been said. Perhaps not. If you’d like to hear about a very special pie, a pie that certainly shines in a state so saturated with pie, come with me to Keo, Arkansas—to a small shop known as Charlotte’s Eats & Sweets.

Charlotte’s is not exactly a secret to most Arkansans. Glance over their ancient walls—you’ll notice dozens of mentions in highly reputable publications. Pie lovers have been singing its praises for decades.

I think Charlotte’s has non-pie items on their menu. I believe there was something mentioned about burgers, salads, and sandwiches. Honestly, I can’t remember. I was so focused on that pie, everything else is a haze in my mind.

When I first set eyes on Charlotte’s coconut cream pie, I think my heart skipped 3 beats. I almost called my cardiologist. It was one of the sexiest desserts I’ve ever beheld—a sugary centerfold I knew I must have.

That coconut cream pie. She stands tall, the pure white meringue (seemingly) at least a foot tall, gently toasted and golden brown on top. The meringue to cream ratio is impressive, at least 3:1. The coconut cream is visibly chocked full of shredded coconut. The crust is thin, but perfectly baked.

Then you taste—the world slows down for about a minute. It’s sheer bliss. The meringue is so light, you’ll be surprised the pie doesn’t float right off the plate. As my dining companion astutely notes, “That pie was 80% air.” There’s a thin, slightly sticky, caramelized layer of meringue on the top of the pie that adds another delightful textural layer to the pie. The cream portion is a mix of smooth custard and chewy, toothsome shredded coconut.

We tried the other pies—chocolate, caramel. I understand they have their supporters. But for us, there was no question. Charlotte’s coconut pie was head and shoulders above the rest.

Keo is a tiny town just outside of Little Rock. It’s a short drive away, a very small sacrifice for such special pie.

Charlotte’s Eats and Sweets is located at 290 Main St., Keo, AR

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