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Coconut Cream Pie

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Serves six to eight.

Yields 1 9-inch pie.

  • by Lisa Schroeder from Mother's Best

Even people who say they don’t like coconut love this pie, excerpted from the cookbook Mother's Best. What sets it apart is the chocolate cookie crust and the coconut rum. If you don’t already stock coconut-flavored rum in your home bar, get a bottle if only for this recipe. It really takes the flavor to another level.

For the crust:
  • 6 oz. Nabisco® Famous Chocolate Wafers (about 30 cookies) 
  • 5 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
  • 1-1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1-1/2 cups sweetened, shredded coconut, toasted, plus more for garnish
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. coconut rum, such as Malibu
For the topping:
  • 1-1/2 cups cold heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
To make the crust:

Heat the oven to 350°F and place a rack in the middle of the oven. Place the chocolate wafers in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse until ground into evenly sized crumbs. Or place them in zip-top bag and pulverize them with a rolling pin or meat mallet until finely crushed. You should have about 1-1/2 cups of crumbs.

Place the crumbs in a medium mixing bowl. Drizzle in the melted butter and mix with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened (if using a food processor, drizzle the butter through the feed tube while pulsing). 

Transfer the buttered crumbs to a 9-inch pie plate, and use your fingertips or the back of a spoon to press the mixture evenly into the pie plate, spreading it up the sides but not over the rim. (I find the back of a spoon works best for pressing the crumbs into place and scraping away the thicker areas where the bottom meets the sides to even out the crumbs.)

Bake for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the sides of the crust feel firm to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.

To make the filling:

Place the milk, cream, and vanilla bean in a large (4-quart) saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until almost about to simmer. (The surface will start to look foamy. This is called scalding. Do not let it boil.) Remove from the heat and let the vanilla bean steep in the milk for 15 minutes.

Place the egg yolks, sugar, salt, and cornstarch in a medium mixing bowl and beat with a whisk until well blended, about 1 minute.

Remove the vanilla bean from milk. Use a knife to scrape out as many seeds as possible and add them to the milk. Swirl the pod in the milk to remove any remaining seeds. Discard the pod or save for another use. Add the toasted coconut and place the pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, then remove from the heat.

Ladle out about 1/2 cup of the hot milk and whisk it into the egg mixture. (This is called “tempering,” which allows the eggs to warm up so they don’t get shocked into curdling when you pour them into the hot milk.) Slowly pour the egg mixture into the pot of milk, whisking steadily to keep the eggs from curdling.

Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly but not furiously. (You must stir constantly so you don’t get scrambled eggs, but don’t stir too vigorously either). Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook while whisking constantly (make sure to get the sides and edges) until the mixture is very thick, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the butter and stir until melted, then stir in the coconut rum.

Let the filling cool to lukewarm (about 15 minutes), then pour into the cooled pie shell. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface (to keep a skin from forming). Refrigerate the pie for at least 4 hours before serving.

To make the topping:

Just before serving, make the whipped cream topping: Place the cream and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or, if using a whisk or hand-held mixer, put it in a deep mixing bowl). Beat on medium speed until frothy. Sprinkle in the confectioners’ sugar and beat on medium-high until stiff peaks form (when the whisk is lifted the cream will form a point that doesn’t droop).

Mound the whipped cream in the center of the chilled pie. Use the back of a large spoon or an offset metal spatula to spread it out to the edge and give it a few decorative swirls. If desired, fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip with half of the whipped cream and pipe a border around the outside of the pie (pipe a ring of the letter “s,” starting a new “s” inside the bottom part of the previous “s” so they interlock). Sprinkle with toasted coconut and serve.

Make Ahead Tips

The crust can be made up to 1 day ahead; wrap in plastic and store at room temperature.

Photo: Ellen Silverman

Wow. An amazing recipe. Beautiful, delicious and a show stopper. I think there is a a little "Secret Society of Coconut Cream Pie Lovers". When I've made this people either say that they haven't had it and are curious to try or they say they love this pie but never get to have it. And everyone just loves this. You will be everyone's favorite baker if you do. Also, one of my pie plates is slightly larger, so now I double the filling and the whipped cream and it is truly spectacular!

So very very good! I made the crust and filling the day before the party. And whipped the cream about 2 hours before serving. The leftovers (which I only have because there was also a giant birthday cake served) have held up nicely for 2 days.

I've often sought out good coconut cream pies in restaurants. This was the first I've made myself... And I'm never going back. Truly the best I have ever tasted. It was an amazingly simple recipe. I couldn't find the chocolate wafers, so substituted chocolate graham crackers (10). Now a family favorite, this will be an oft repeated item at our house!

I have used all unsweetened coconut and a mix of both unsweetened and sweetened, either way tastes great. To mix it up a bit, I have also added two bananas to the filling. I keep frozen ones on the freezer, when they defrost they are nice and mushy. We love this pie!

I have used all unsweetened coconut and a mix of both unsweetened and sweetened, either way tastes great. To mix it up a bit, I have also added two bananas to the filling. I keep frozen ones on the freezer, when they defrost they are nice and mushy. We love this pie!

this pie is totally totally amazing.... highly recommended and as mentioned in an earlier post this pie went over well with even those who don't eat coconut cream pie :)

I was skeptical, but this pie was a huge hit at Thanksgiving this year. The coconut lovers gave it a big thumbs up and said it was a keeper. I asked for their honest opinion because I'm not a huge coconut fan, but even I liked it a lot. The chocolate crust wasn't overwhelming and complemented the custard perfectly. The cream topping held up well in the refrigerator and still looked beautiful even the next day.

I just made this; it was delicious. My husband liked and we all thought that it was particularly good coconut cream pie. Definitely will make again soon.

Made this as a birthday present for a dear friend and it was absolutely delicious!! Everyone loved it-well worth the effort. stitchms

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