Perfect Coconut Cream Pie

By • May 21, 2012 • 34 Comments

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Author Notes: Coconut cream pie is one of my all-time favorite desserts. The small Louisiana town in which I grew up had a real cafeteria, one of those old-fashioned joints where you grab a tray and head down the line, picking up pre-plated dishes as you go. I often got the "sides" plate -- smothered greens, fried okra, mac & cheese -- and a wedge of coconut cream pie or, when they had it, caramel custard in a cup (another favorite). My mom, sister, grandma and I spent so many happy lunches at that cafeteria, and even though it's not quite as good as it used to be, and caramel custard in a cup days are still too rare, I love the nostalgia of the dining-in experience, and I go back each time I visit home.

Recently, I thought about how long it'd been since I'd had coconut cream pie, especially a really good, homemade one that's ethereally light and a full-on tribute to the delicate, unique flavor that is coconut. What can one do in that instance but get busy making one?

Extremely long story short, I used my family pie crust recipe (which cannot be beat), made homemade sweetened, shredded coconut (a recipe I found on the Livestrong site) to avoid the chemicals sometimes found in commercially processed sweetened coconut, and adapted pastry cream and topping recipes from Epicurious. The result was perfection, and my hubby and I wiped the pie out in two days flat! This pie definitely wants a night in the fridge to set and let the flavors deepen, so make it a day in advance if you can.
em-i-lis

Food52 Review: This coconut cream pie is full of natural goodness. I love how it is full of coconut flavor, yet not too sweet, and the pie is really easy to make. Next time, I will cut the salt in the crust to perhaps 1/2 teaspoon only. The pie is delicious and has a great coconut flavor due to the canned coconut milk and the homemade sweetened coconut. I will definitely make this again!Robin Burton Fenner

Makes 1 pie

For the pie crust and sweetened coconut

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 cups shredded, unsweetened, dried coconut
  • 4 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
  • 6 teaspoons canola oil
  • 8 teaspoons water
  1. Preheat the oven to 350. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the sifted flour and salt. Pour in the oil and milk, and using a fork, stir to combine. When the dough comes together, roll it out between two sheets of waxed paper, peel off the top sheet, and invert the crust over and into a deep-dish pie plate. Press the crust in and all the way up the sides, and trim off the excess.
  2. Fill with pie weights or line with foil topped with dried beans, and bake until golden and set, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely.
  3. While the pie crust is cooking and cooling, make the sweetened coconut: In a medium mixing bowl, toss together the shredded coconut and the sifted powdered sugar until well combined. In a separate small bowl, stir together the oil and water until well combined and then pour over the sugared coconut. Stir gently to coat the coconut completely. Let sit for about 10 minutes, stirring and fluffing occasionally. The original amount will expand slightly in size. Refrigerate the sweetened coconut until you need it.

For the pastry cream and topping

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk, divided
  • One batch sweetened coconut, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chilled whipping cream
  1. Toast 2/3 cups of your sweetened coconut in a small, heavy skillet over medium heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Let cool completely while you make the pastry cream.
  2. Whisk together 1/2 cup of sugar, the eggs, egg yolk, and flour in a medium bowl and set aside (but near the stove). In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, bring 1 1/2 cups of coconut milk and 1 1/2 cups of your sweetened coconut to a simmer. Gradually add this hot milk mixture to your egg mixture, whisking constantly.
  3. Return everything to the same saucepan; cook until pastry cream thickens and boils, stirring constantly, about 4 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat. Mix in the vanilla extract. Transfer pastry cream to a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface to prevent formation of skin. Chill until cold, at least 2 hours.
  5. When cold, transfer the filling to your prebaked, now-cool crust. Cover and chill while you make the topping.
  6. Using an electric hand mixer, beat the cream, the remaining 1/4 cup coconut milk, and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar in a medium bowl until peaks form. Spread whipped cream all over the top of pastry cream filling. Sprinkle evenly with cooled toasted coconut. Cover and refrigerate at least four hours, but preferably overnight.
Jump to Comments (34)

Tags: classic desserts, coconut, dessert, make-ahead, pie

Comments (34) Questions (1)

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7 months ago catalinalacruz

Why not use coconut oil in the pastry mix instead of canola oil, and have more coconut flavor?

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7 months ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

why not?! go for it.

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12 months ago luvcookbooks

Meg is a trusted home cook.

Made this w my daughter to take to a Thanksgiving dinner and it was divine!!

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12 months ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh, awesome, Meg! Thanks for letting me know! I do love that recipe!!

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about 1 year ago Ceege

I made this yesterday and it was simply divine. Thanks for a wonderful recipe. BTW, to make things easier, 6 tsps. equal 2 TBLS, so easier to measure it that way for the coconut mixture.

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about 1 year ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much, Ceege. I'm thrilled you enjoyed the pie so much, and yes, good shorthand for the coconut mixture!!!

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over 1 year ago catalinalacruz

Oil pie crust is awesome when it is made with coconut oil -- the only way I make pie crusts now. As this is a coconut cream pie, try using coconut oil for an extra coconut flavor.

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about 1 year ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Sounds like a great thing to try!

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over 1 year ago Muse

Have been looking for a recipe for the perfect coconut creme pie....can't wait to make this! Yummy, yum, yum! Peace, Light and Love.

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over 1 year ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much, Muse! I hope you love it like we do!! Let me know. Best, Emily

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over 1 year ago monacake

when a co-worker asked for coconut cream pie for her birthday this week, i knew right where to go. i trusted that this would be the perfect recipe and it did not fail. better than the dozens that have come before it. everything about it is perfect - thank you!

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over 1 year ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Hi monacake, thank you so much for this lovely note! I'm thrilled the pie was such a birthday treat! And I appreciate you letting me know! All the best, Emily

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over 1 year ago J Mansfield

What am I doing wrong? I click on the Save button but when I look at my recipe box I see no recipes. I am signed in.

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over 1 year ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

have you tried logging out or shutting your browser and then logging back in? i sometimes have delayed responses on F52 too but generally the saves and edits ultimately are there...

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over 1 year ago claude roper

check your account on the top right

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over 1 year ago JanetFL

Yum, Emily! Somehow I missed this recipe. I definitely am trying this - thank you!

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over 1 year ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Hi Janet, It's so lovely to hear from you and I'm glad you plan to try this!! Let me know what you think. :)

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over 1 year ago Sugartoast

I'm going to make this soon, it looks amazing :). Thanks for another great recipe!

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over 1 year ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

thank you so much, sugartoast! i hope you love it!! :)

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over 1 year ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much for highlighting my pie, F52! I made one a few days back and we all gobbled it up!

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over 1 year ago Trena

I love coconut cream pie and this recipe looks delicious! Thanks for sharing, I cannot wait to try this.

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over 1 year ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I hope you love it! Thanks, trena!

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over 1 year ago Almyra Pangestu

Hi! Can anyone pls tell me about the metric measurement for the coconut milk. I live where coconut is very abundant and there's nobody selling coconut milk by the can. Thanks

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over 1 year ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

In total, you'll need about 14 ounces, or roughly 400 grams.

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over 1 year ago christinalm

Can you sub coconut oil for the canola?

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over 1 year ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

i've never tried that in my pie crust but it's certainly worth a go! i would stick with canola for the coconut sweetening!

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over 1 year ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Perfection!

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over 1 year ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

thank you, cyn! it's one of our very favorites!

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over 1 year ago Bevi

Congrats on the CP!!

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over 1 year ago lapadia

"Ditto"

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over 1 year ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

thank you, bevi!!

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over 1 year ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

and linda!

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over 1 year ago lapadia

I love your story and that you sweetened your coconut! Delicious...

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over 1 year ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you, L!!!