The BEST Coconut Cream Pie Recipe

April 3, 2019
As great as a cream pie is from a restaurant, believe me - they're even better when you make them from scratch at home.  And in the case of this Coconut Cream Pie?  Making it at home is more than worth the effort!  This truly is the BEST Coconut Cream Pie recipe, with fabulous coconut flavor and melt in your mouth creaminess that is downright fantastic.
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Slice of Coconut Cream Pie Image

I'm a total sucker for a cream pie.

Just ask my husband or my Mom.  If I order dessert when we're out to eat somewhere, inevitably I gravitate toward a creamy, comforting, melt in your mouth cream pie of some kind.  Don't get me wrong, I love a good cake or baked kind of pie too, but cream pies sure get me every time.

As great as a cream pie is from a restaurant, believe me ... they're even better when you make them from scratch at home.

While cream pies do indeed involve a few steps, they're not inherently difficult steps -

  1. Make a crust, whether that's a graham cracker crust or a regular pie crust.
  2. Make a from-scratch custard filling.
  3. Whip up freshly made homemade whipped cream for the top.
  4. And, garnish to match the flavor of the cream pie.

In the case of this Coconut Cream Pie? Tackling those cream pie steps is more than worth the effort!  This truly is the BEST Coconut Cream Pie recipe.

If you break them down, each one of these steps is relatively simple and manageable ... making the creation of a fabulous cream pie at home much more doable than some people think.

And in the case of this Coconut Cream Pie from scratch?

Tackling those cream pie steps is more than worth the effort!  This truly is the BEST Coconut Cream Pie recipe, and the coconut flavor and melt in your mouth creaminess is downright fantastic.  To quote my husband, "It's damn good."

The custard filling is made from a combination of coconut milk and whole milk, with sweetened flaked coconut cooked right into the custard, too.  The pie is then topped with a generous amount of toasted coconut on top of the creamy whipped cream.  Which means great coconut flavor is infused into each and every bite.

Coconut Cream Pie Topped with Toasted Coconut Image

So how do you make a coconut cream pie from scratch?

Let's break down the steps and take a look.


Step 1:  Make a Crust

How to Make a Graham Cracker Crust Image

In the case of this coconut cream pie recipe, the crust is a basic homemade graham cracker crust.

Simply process some graham crackers in a food processor to make fine crumbs.  Whirl in some melted butter and a bit of sugar, and press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a pie plate.  Using the bottom of a measuring cup or a flat-bottomed drinking glass makes this really easy.

Then, bake the crust for a little bit ... and it's done!  Set the crust aside to cool completely while you prepare the custard filling.


Step 2:  Make the Custard Filling

Whisking Eggs and Cornstarch Image

A combination of coconut milk and regular whole milk form the base of this Coconut Cream Pie custard filling.  Sweetened flaked coconut is simmered in the milk, too, to bring even more coconut flavor.

To make the filling, bring the milks, coconut, and some sugar to a simmer in a saucepan.

While the coconut milk mixture comes to a simmer, whisk together egg yolks and cornstarch with a little sugar.

Tempering Egg Yolks Image

Next, slowly whisk some of the simmering liquid into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs.  Tempering prevents the egg yolks from just becoming a bunch of scrambled egg-like lumps in the custard - which wouldn't be good at all.  

Then, slowly whisk the tempered egg yolk mixture back into the simmering pot of coconut milk.

How to Make Coconut Custard Image

Reduce the heat a bit and cook the mixture, whisking vigorously the whole time, for about 30 seconds until it's thickened.

The custard will cling to the whisk and then run off pretty readily.  It will continue to thicken up as it cools.

Remove the pot from the heat and stir in some vanilla extract and a little bit of butter to finish the custard.

Homemade Coconut Custard Pie Filling Image

Let the custard mixture cool for 5 minutes, and then pour the warm filling into your prepared (and cooled) graham cracker crust.

Covering Custard Pie to Prevent Formation of a Skin Image

When exposed to air, homemade custards will form a skin on the top - which is basically just a super-thickened layer or "shell" on them.

To prevent this skin from forming on the pie, lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the coconut custard.  I use my fingers to gently press the plastic wrap onto the surface to make sure the custard is fully covered.

Refrigerate the filled pie for at least four hours (or overnight) to allow the coconut custard filling to set completely.


Step 3:  Whip Up Homemade Whipped Cream

How to Make Coconut Cream Pie Image

The topping for the Coconut Cream Pie is a simple freshly-made homemade whipped cream.

Just place heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract in a bowl and whip with an electric mixer on medium-low speed for about a minute until it's frothy. Then increase the speed to high and continue to whip until soft peaks form.

When making whipped cream, use a chilled bowl, chilled beaters, and cold heavy cream to get the best results.

When making whipped cream, use a chilled bowl, chilled beaters, and cold heavy cream to get the best results - having everything cold helps the cream whip more quickly and easily.  

Finally, spread that beautiful whipped cream in a big old heap over the top of the pie.


Step 4:  Garnish the Pie

How to Toast Coconut Image

When making a cream pie, you want to add a garnish that matches and, therefore, also enhances the flavor of the pie.

In the case of this Coconut Cream Pie from scratch, that garnish is toasted coconut.

The toasted coconut adds another level of fabulous coconut flavor to the pie, as well as gives a little texture to each bite.

To toast the coconut, melt a little bit of butter in a skillet or saucepan.  Then add the coconut and cook, stirring very frequently, until the coconut is a light golden brown.

Once it gets going, the coconut toasts pretty quickly - so keep it moving and keep a close eye on it so it doesn't burn on you.

Topping Coconut Cream Pie with Toasted Coconut Image

Let the coconut cool and sprinkle it evenly over the top of the whipped cream.

Then, get ready to cut a slice and dig in to one very tasty piece of Coconut Cream Pie!  Because once topped, this beauty can be served up immediately.  Or, refrigerate it for later if you'd like.

But whether you dig right in or save it for serving later, I think after just one bite you'll agree - this is one of the BEST Coconut Cream Pie recipes around.  And totally worth the effort.

Enjoy!

Piece of Homemade Coconut Cream Pie Image
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coconut cream pie, coconut cream pie recipe, best coconut cream pie
Desserts
Yield: 8 servings
Author:

The BEST Coconut Cream Pie

As great as a cream pie is from a restaurant, believe me - they're even better when you make them from scratch at home. And in the case of this Coconut Cream Pie? Making it at home is more than worth the effort! This truly is the BEST Coconut Cream Pie recipe, with fabulous coconut flavor and melt in your mouth creaminess that is downright fantastic.
prep time: 4 H & 20 Mcook time: 30 Mtotal time: 4 H & 50 M

ingredients:

For the Graham Cracker Crust:
  • 9 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces
  • 5 T. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 3 T. granulated sugar
For the Coconut Custard Filling:
  • 1 (13.5 or 14 oz.) can coconut milk
  • 1 c. whole milk
  • 2/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch
  • 2 T. unsalted butter, cut in a few pieces
  • 1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract
For the Topping:
  • 2 c. cold heavy cream
  • 2 T. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 T. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 c. sweetened flaked coconut

instructions:

How to cook The BEST Coconut Cream Pie

Make the Graham Cracker Crust:
  1. In a food processor, process graham cracker pieces into fine crumbs, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle in sugar and melted butter. Pulse to incorporate into crumbs, about 4 to 6 pulses.
  2. Place crumb mixture in a 9-inch pie plate. Using the bottom of a measuring cup or flat-bottomed drinking glass, press crumbs into an even layer in the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate.
  3. Bake at 325℉ for 15 – 18 minutes until the crust is just beginning to brown slightly. Remove from oven, place on a cooling rack, and set aside to cool completely.
Prepare the Coconut Custard Filling:
  1. Place coconut milk, whole milk, 1/3 cup of the sugar, flaked coconut, and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. While the coconut milk mixture comes to a simmer, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining 1/3 cup sugar until smooth.
  3. Once the coconut milk mixture begins to simmer, gradually whisk 1 cup of the simmering liquid into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs. Then, slowly whisk the tempered egg yolk mixture back into the simmering pot of coconut milk.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and cook about 30 seconds until thickened, whisking vigorously the entire time. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla.
  5. Let cool for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Pour warm filling into the cooled pie crust. Cover with plastic wrap, placing the plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard filling to prevent a skin from forming on the top. Refrigerate until filling is chilled and set, about 4 hours or overnight.
Prepare the Topping:
  1. Once the coconut filling is chilled, melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add flaked coconut and cook, stirring constantly, until coconut is light golden brown. Set the toasted coconut aside to cool while you make the whipped cream.*
  2. Place heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip the cream mixture on medium-low speed for about 1 minute until frothy. Increase speed to high and continue to whip until soft peaks form, about 1 -3 minutes. Spread whipped cream evenly over the top of the pie. Sprinkle the top with the toasted coconut.
  3. Serve immediately. Or, if you need to refrigerate for later, place a few toothpicks into the whipped cream of the pie. Drape plastic wrap over the toothpicks to cover, and refrigerate until serving time.
TRACEY'S NOTES
  1. The toasted coconut could also be prepared in advance. Store in a covered container or zip-top baggie until needed.
Created using The Recipes Generator
You might also like these other tasty pie favorites:






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4 comments

  1. Tracey, I think of my dad every time I make a coconut cream pie or see another good one like this! It was his favorite, and I love it too. Love how you don't skimp on the whipped cream!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, my sister would go 'gaga' over this recipe. That toasted topping! Yum! Thanks for joining us at Homestyle Gathering! Hope to see you tomorrow!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello! Sorry: I'm french and I need a translation for "1 T unsalted butter". What's "T" here? Is it a stick of butter? Thanks anyway for your recipes!

    ReplyDelete

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