Coconut custard pie was always a favorite in my family, but it was also a pie that we rarely ate because it was deemed difficult to make. It was many years before I ever made a coconut custard pie from scratch and when I did, I found that it was much less difficult than I had been led to believe. It was more likely that the pie just wasn’t my grandmother’s favorite type of pie, so she preferred to make things like lemon and pumpkin instead. Coconut custard pie is a little bit less common than coconut cream pie, but you might find that you like it even more than the cream pie version if you’re anything like me. Coconut cream pie has a softer, more pudding-like texture, where coconut custard pie is a little bit firmer and eggier.
This Coconut Custard Pie is a recipe that is easy to make and virtually foolproof, so it is a great place to start if you have never had or baked a coconut custard pie before. The filling separates into two layers during baking: a top layer that is both crispy and chewy, like a coconut macaroon, and an eggy, custardy bottom layer. You get a great coconut flavor throughout the filling, and I particularly like the way that you get coconut in a few different textures in each bite. You can bake the pie in a par-baked pastry crust, or you can use a graham cracker or shortbread pre-made crust if you want to streamline the pie baking process a bit.
The coconut flavor in the pie all comes from sweetened, shredded coconut. You can use unsweetened coconut, but I prefer using the sweetened variety for this recipe because the filling isn’t too sweet on its own. The coconut infuses the custard with a hint of coconut flavor before it floats to the top of the filling to bake into that deliciously toasted top layer. I typically use whole milk to ensure that my custard is rich and tender, though you could use coconut milk for an extra dose of coconut flavor or low fat milk if you are looking for a lighter version of the recipe. The pie is best served chilled, with a dollop of whipped cream finishing it off before serving.
Easy Coconut Custard Pie
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup milk (pref. whole)
1 1/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut
9-inch pie crust (par-baked pastry crust or prebaked graham cracker/shortbread crust)
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, melted butter, and vanilla extract eggs until very smooth. Whisk in half of the milk, followed by the flour mixture. Mix vigorously until no lumps remain and batter is very smooth. Whisk in remaining milk, then stir in the shredded coconut and pour the mixture into the prepared pie crust .
Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until pie is set.
Allow pie to cool completely, then refrigerate the pie until well-chilled, about 3-4 hours, before slicing.