Sheet Pan

Coconuttiest Coconut Cream Pie

May  3, 2018
Photo by Ty Mecham
Author Notes

Coconut shortbread crust. Coconut pastry cream. Coconut whipped cream. Coconut crispies on top! One note on assembly: The toasted coconut chips become less toasty and more wilt-y as they sit in the fridge (not cute!). If you’re not planning to eat the whole pie at once (it happens), you can portion accordingly, then individually sprinkle each slice with toasted chips. —Emma Laperruque

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: The Coconuttiest Coconut Cream Pie —The Editors

  • Prep time 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Makes one 9-inch pie
  • Coconut pastry cream and toppings
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk (485 grams)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (99 grams)
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch (37 grams)
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 10 tablespoons coconut cream (142 grams) (one 5.4-ounce can)
  • 10 tablespoons heavy cream (168 grams)
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (14 grams)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut chips (30 grams)
  • Coconut shortbread crust
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (90 grams), plus more for the pan
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (50 grams)
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar (38 grams)
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch (28 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (113 grams), cold, cubed, plus more for the pan
  • 1 large egg yolk
In This Recipe
  1. Make the pastry cream. Heat the coconut milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat until hot and steamy, stirring every so often. Meanwhile, combine the sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks, and salt in a heatproof bowl. Whisk until smooth.
  2. When the coconut milk is hot, add a splash to the sugar mixture and whisk. Add another splash and whisk. Add another splash and whisk. Continue this—you’re slowly tempering the yolks, so they don’t scramble—until you’ve added about half the coconut milk. Now pour this mixture back into the saucepan.
  3. Cook over low heat—whisking slowly but constantly, making sure to get those edges—until the mixture thickens enough for your whisk to leave a distinct trail. This may take 10 minutes or more. It’s important not to rush it with higher heat, which can curdle the pastry cream. Remove from the heat, add the coconut oil, and whisk until combined.
  4. Scrape the mixture into a heatproof bowl and top with plastic film, pressing it against the pastry cream. This prevents a skin from forming. Stick in the fridge. Cool to at least room temperature—or until completely cold—before filling the crust. You can make this a couple days in advance. Just make sure to give it a real good whisk before filling the crust, to make sure everything is smooth.
  5. Make the coconut shortbread crust. Combine the flour, shredded coconut, powdered sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a food processor. Pulse a few times. Sprinkle the butter evenly on top. Pulse until the butter is incorporated and the mixture is crumbly. Add the egg yolk and pulse again until curdy—it shouldn’t form into a cohesive dough, that will come soon. Stick in the fridge or freezer while you ready the pie pan.
  6. Generously grease a 9-inch pie pan (I like glass best) with butter. Add a couple spoonfuls of flour and tap around until it evenly coats the pan, then toss the excess. Dump the shortbread dough into the pan. Use your fingers to pat the dough into a crust, doing your best to make sure it’s even all around and reaches just above the edges. Prick the base here and there with a fork. Stick in the freezer until completely frozen—or else it'll shrink in the oven—so at least 30 minutes, or well-wrapped for up to 1 week.
  7. Bake the crust. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Place the pie pan on a sheet pan and put in the oven. The sheet pan makes rotating a lot easier. Bake for about 28 minutes, until browned, gently pressing down any puffing as needed. Cool completely before filling.
  8. Lower the heat to 350° F and toast the coconut chips. Add the coconut chips to a sheet pan and toast for about 5 minutes until colorful. Cool completely.
  9. Fill the crust with the pastry cream—you’ll use it all. I like to do this with an offset spatula to smooth the top. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour or up to a couple days before topping with the cream. This helps the pastry cream re-set, so slicing is cleaner.
  10. Make the coconut whipped cream. Combine the coconut cream, heavy cream, and powdered sugar in a bowl. Whisk until soft peaks form—it will be thicker and denser than straight-up whipped cream.
  11. When you’re ready to eat, sprinkle the coconut chips on top.

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Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.