Strange as it sounds, coconut cream pie has always been one of those recipes I have struggled with. Robb loves coconut cream pie, and will frequently order it at restaurants. Which makes me feel like I just need to get this one right.
I have tried several recipes over the years, and none of them have quite met my standards, except one glorious recipe which promptly disappeared from the internet, never to be seen again. Here are my parameters for success:
- Not too runny. Most of those I tried required a bowl and looked like a pile of goo.
- Has enough coconut. I was shocked at how many were thin on coconut content. They were more like vanilla pudding with a little coconut mixed in.
- Uses both sweetened and unsweetened coconut. The unsweetened, fine shredded stuff is great for flavor and texture, but many don’t use it.
- Maybe this goes without saying, but it has to taste good. I’m shooting for a nice, heavy, rich coconut flavor.
I ended up creating my own version, which takes the pieces I like from all the recipes I tried.
I felt like I really perfected this recipe some time ago, but for whatever reason, I was unable to photograph it, and therefore unable to blog it. But I didn’t want to forget it, so I wrote it on a white board calendar in my hallway, where it has remained for many months.
You might think I have a more organized way to keep my recipes. But I don’t.
This pie uses 5 egg yolks. Yes, FIVE. I know it’s indulgent, but this is, after all, my husband’s favorite dessert. If you’re wondering what to do with the leftover whites, you could try these fun meringue cookies. They’re actually pretty easy to make.
Let’s talk about where to spend your time on this pie. I chose not to use a boxed pudding mix, but to make this one from scratch, so if you’re looking for some time savers, I can suggest two.
- Frozen pie crust
- Cool whip
You can do the homemade crust if you want, and if you have patience. I have a recipe for a good one here. You only need a bottom crust for this one, and whether you use frozen or fresh crust, you do have to blind bake it. I recommend baking at 400F for 11-14 minutes, until it’s just starting to turn brown.
You can do real cream too, if you’re going all out. I’m a fan of real cream, but I’m also a fan of not spending my entire freaking day baking pie. Which is why I chose the frozen whipped topping for this recipe.
Of course, if you use real cream you can add a little coconut extract to it for flavor. Or you could use coconut milk to make the cream, if you’re really ambitious.
I can’t wait to share of piece of this with Robb!
Coconut Cream Pie
- 5 egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 package unflavored gelatin
- 3 cups half and half
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
- 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut finely shredded
- 1 cup sweetened coconut, + 1/4 cup for garnish
- 1 pie crust
- whipped cream, to garnish
- Blind bake pie crust at 400F for 11-14 minutes. (For detailed instructions, read here: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-blind-bake-a-pie-crust-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-197553 )
- Place yolks in saucepan. Mix lightly. Add sugar, cornstarch, gelatin and half and half. Whisk ingredients together. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a boil.
- Let boil, stirring constantly, for one minute. Remove from heat and add butter and extract.
- Stir in unsweetened and sweetened coconut. Mix to incorporate. Pour completed filling into baked pie crust, and let cool.
- Place 1/4 cup coconut on a piece of foil or a small baking sheet and bake at 400F for about 5 minutes, checking frequently, until it reaches a brown color.
- Top cooled pie with whipped cream and toasted coconut. Serves 6.