Black-Bottom Coconut Cream Pie
- Prep time 6 hours 30 minutes
- Cook time 45 minutes
- makes One 9-inch pie
Coconut cream pie was my gateway pie: the first slice that showed me just how wonderful pie can be. It's creamy coconut filling nestled inside a crispy, flaky crust. Any true pie lover can attest that the contrasting textures of crust and filling combined is one of best parts about any slice.
This recipe celebrates those contrasts, The filling gets coconut flavor both from coconut milk in the custard base, and plenty of coconut folded in. You can use either sweetened coconut (which will have a chewier texture in the final pie), or unsweetened (which will be a bit crisper inside instead). Then, we'll add an additional layer for your consideration—a milk chocolate “black bottom” base. If you’re more of a dark chocolate lover, you can substitute it for the black bottom base instead; just increase the cream by 2 tablespoons (30 grams). Either way, this ganache layer nudges this pie into sliceable candy bar territory.
Want my best tip for nailing the perfect slice? Use a sharp serrated knife to take a small “sacrifice slice.” Once you’ve removed this first piece, it’s a lot easier to get beautiful slices out of the rest of the pie. But matter what your slices look like, you'll find that this pie is so craveable, so killer…it’s the stuff of mashup dreams. —Erin Jeanne McDowell
- All-Buttah Pie Crust (Extra-Flaky Edition)
1 1/4 cups
(150 grams) all-purpose flour
fine sea salt
(113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch / 13 mm cubes
(60 grams) ice water, plus more as needed
- Filling & Topping
(140 grams) chopped milk chocolate
(78 grams) heavy cream
1 1/2 cups
(365 grams) canned full-fat coconut milk
(230 grams) whole milk
(66 grams) granulated sugar
(28 grams) cornstarch
fine sea salt
large eggs (170 grams)
(28 grams) unsalted butter
(5 grams) pure vanilla extract or ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
(50 grams) shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened—see headnote), lightly toasted
Whipped cream, for finishing (optional)
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the cubed butter, tossing the cubes through the flour until each individual piece is well coated. ‘Cut’ the butter into the flour by pressing the pieces between your fingers, flattening the cubes into big shards. As you work, continue to toss the butter through the flour, recoating the shingled pieces. Continue cutting the butter into the flour just until the largest pieces of butter are about the size of walnut halves.
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add the amount of ice water listed in the recipe to the well, but have more on hand. Use a tossing motion with your hands to start to mix the two together (this begins to combine them without creating too much gluten). As it begins to become hydrated, you can start to use more of a kneading motion. Add more water about 1 tablespoon (15 g) at a time until the dough is properly hydrated: it should be uniformly combined and hold together easily, but it won’t look totally smooth. Dough that is too dry may have sort of a “dusty” appearance, or pockets of un-hydrated flour. It will not hold together and will appear crumbly. Dough that is too wet will feel sticky or tacky to the touch.
- Form the dough into an even disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 days.
- Add folds to the pie dough to make it extra flaky: on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to ½ in/1 cm thick. Don’t worry about the exact size or shape of the dough, just focus on the thickness. Fold the dough in quarters. If the dough feels at all sticky or soft, wrap it tightly, and refrigerate it for 30 minutes before proceeding.
- Repeat the folding process: rolling out the dough to ½ in/1 cm thick, and folding in quarters. This time, tuck the edges of the dough under itself to help the folded dough packet become round in shape again. Wrap tightly, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.
- Lightly dust a work surface with flour, and lightly dust a rolling pin, if desired. Roll out the dough to about ¼-inch/6-mm thick, rotating it as you work to help prevent it from sticking. To transfer the dough to the pan, gently roll it up, wrapping it around the pin, then unfurl it into the pie plate.
- Use scissors to trim away the excess dough, leaving about ½ in/1 cm excess all the way around the outside edge of the pie plate. Tuck this excess dough under, pressing gently to make it flush with the edge of the pie plate. Crimp or decorate the edges as desired, and dock the base and sides of the crust all over with a fork. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, and preferably 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C with the oven rack in the center. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. To blind-bake the crust, cut a square of parchment paper slightly larger than the diameter of a pie plate, and press it into the base of the pie plate. Fill with pie weights to the top inner rim of the pie plate. Bake until the edges begin to lightly brown, 17 to 20 minutes. Remove the parchment paper and pie weights, dock the crust a few more times with a fork or the tip of a paring knife, and return to the oven until the edges are evenly golden brown and the base appears dry and set, 10 to 12 minutes more. Cool completely.
- Make the black-bottom base: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium heat-safe bowl. Heat the cream in a small pot over medium heat until it comes to a simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, and let rest for 15 seconds undisturbed. Begin to stir the ganache from the center, then widen your stirring radius as you mix until the mixture is smooth. (If the chocolate doesn’t melt completely, place the whole bowl over a medium pot of simmering water and stir until the chocolate is melted before proceeding.)
- Pour the ganache into the cooled pie crust, and spread into an even layer in the base. If desired, you can also use a small offset spatula to draw some of the ganache slightly up the sides of the pie crust, as well.
- Make the coconut cream filling: in a medium pot, heat the coconut milk and milk to a simmer over medium heat. In a medium, heat-safe bowl, whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together to combine. Then, add the eggs and whisk well to combine.
- Temper the egg mixture with about ¼ of the hot milk mixture, and whisk well to combine. Return this mixture to the pot, whisking well to combine. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture starts to thicken, and fat bubbles break the surface of the custard, 3 to 5 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat, and stir in the butter, vanilla, and coconut to combine. Pour the custard into the prepared pie crust, spread into an even layer, and cover directly with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface.
- Transfer to the refrigerator to chill until cooled and set, at least 4 hours. Just before serving, top the whole pie with whipped cream, or serve slices with whipped cream on the side.
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