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Coconut Cream Pie

coconut cream pie

 Cream pies, more than any other, seem to scream “comfort food” – even if you (like me) generally tend to prefer fruit pies, like apple. They’re not merely satisfying, but they’re so indulgent that you have to set aside any concerns about overly decadent desserts to fully enjoy the smooth, rich custard and fluffy whipped cream of the pies. Perhaps it’s comforting to not have – or to ignore – these worries while you eat. Perhaps the pies just taste so good that it doesn’t matter.

In the case of this coconut cream pie, I tend to think it’s the latter reason.

This pie has a rich coconut flavor in a silky smooth custard. The custard is made with a combination of half and half and coconut milk, cooked on the stove and thickened with flour. The coconut milk imparts a mild coconut flavor and a lot of richness. Most of the coconut flavor comes from the shredded coconut in the filling, which I opted to finely chop before adding to maximize the amount of coconut in each bite. Finely chopping the coconut also allowed the pie to be cut into very neat slices because there were no large pieces of coconut to snag the blade of the knife on. If you want to increase the coconut flavor even more, add a bit of coconut extract to the custard along with the vanilla.

If you’re not familiar with making cream pies, I can assure you that this one is very easy to make. The filling cooks up in just a few minutes on the stove and once it has been prepared, all you have to do is wait for it to cool and set before serving. You can use a homemade pie crust, baked in advance and cooled, but a store-bought crust works well here, too. I actually quite like a graham cracker crust with this pie, as the crunchy crumbs add a nice contrast to the creamy filling.

Coconut Cream Pie
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half & half/light cream
1 1/2 cups coconut milk (I used light; regular is fine)
1 1/4 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 9- or 10-inch pie shell, baked and cooled

In a large saucepan, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Whisk in eggs, half & half and coconut milk until very smooth. If mixture is not completely smooth, strain through a mesh sieve before turning on the heat.
Heat mixture over medium heat, whisking frequently, until custard comes to a boil and is thick. Whisking should prevent any lumps from forming in the custard. You should be able to see the impressions from a whisk or spoon briefly hold their shape in the custard when it is done (about 1 minute after custard comes to a boil). Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract and coconut. Pour into prebaked and cooled pie shell and refrigerate until chilled – at least 4 hours, or overnight.
When filling is chilled, prepare sweetened whipped cream and spread on top of pie.

Makes 1 pie; Serves 8-10.

Sweetened Whipped Cream
1 1/4 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup shredded coconut, lightly toasted

To toast coconut, place in a dry skillet and cook on medium-high heat for about 3-5 minutes, until light gold. Cool.
In a medium bowl, beat whipped cream, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla to stiff peaks. Spread onto chilled pie and sprinkle with shredded coconut.
Chill until ready to serve.

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  • JEP
    January 14, 2008

    Coconut cream is probably my all time favorite cream pie. Your recipe does sound rich with the half & half & coconut milk—my usual one is milk & I add butter at the end. Chopping the coconut is a terrific idea & I have never eaten one with a crumb crust, but your suggestion sounds like a winner!

  • suzer
    January 15, 2008

    No pie is a bad pie…

  • Kevin
    January 15, 2008

    This reminds me that I have been wondering what a coconut cream pie is. It sounds really good. I just recently got into coconut and I will have to try a coconut cream pie.

  • Brandy
    January 3, 2009

    This pie was amazing! My father-in-law loves coconut cream pie so I made this for him for Christmas dinner. He could not stop raving about it. I do not even really like coconut cream pie and I could have eaten the entire pie by myself. My father loves coconut cream pie also and I am making one tonight for a family get together. This ones a keeper!!!

  • Lizzie Sparrow
    April 14, 2009

    OH MY GOD!!! I’ve been looking for a recipe for this with cream & coconut milk instead of milk—YEAH!!! Sounds great–I’m going to make it ASAP–this is what I’ve always thought it SHOULD be made like–I mean, it’s COCONUT cream pie–so why not put coconut milk & actual cream in it, right? Thanks so much for putting this recipe in here!!!

  • Michelle
    November 16, 2009

    I have made this pie about 4 times.It is dangerously addictive ,anyone who likes dessert will like this pie , coconut fans or not .I can’t wait to make it next week for thanksgiving.Thanks for all your wonderful recipes and instructions!


  • Mel
    April 5, 2010

    I just made this, and it was absolutely wonderful. Very rich, but oh so good 🙂

  • pariuri live
    April 23, 2010

    Thanks for this recipe! Lots of healthy ingredients, too! This looks great! I’m gonna try it.

  • joymama
    March 22, 2011

    Made this today and it was so yummy! I agree with Lizzie–coconut milk and half/half instead of milk is the way to do it.

  • Joyce
    November 18, 2011

    Im so going to try to make this for thanksgiving this year!

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