Lorie’s Ultimate Coconut Cream Pie

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I’m not going to say much about this recipe.  It’s my baby and was created simply because I never had real success with any of the coconut pie recipes I had made.  (Anyone ever make a pourable coconut pie before, or is that just me?)  It’s one of my all time favorite pies and I worked really hard to get it just the way I wanted.  So even if no one else in the world loves it…I love it. 

Here are some notes:

-This makes a lot of filling.  I find my 9 1/2 inch glass pie plate is filled to the very top when I make it, but when I use a foil pie plate, I cannot fit all of the filling in.  No worries there.  I just put the excess in a small bowl, let it set up for a while in the fridge and eat it with a spoon.

*Update 10-4-11:  Yesterday, I tripled my filling and got four 9-inch foil pie plates filled to the rim, plus a small bowl leftover.  Once the filling in the pies and the bowl set up in the refrigerator for several hours, I was able to spoon the extra filling in the bowl back onto the pies to make them even thicker without them flowing over.  Just a thought.  Also, a reader commented that she did not use the full amount of crust in her pie, so she lined a mason jar with the remainder, baked it, then added the leftover filling.  How cute would that be? I personally use all my crust even when making the smaller foil pie plates because one of my favorite parts of the pie is the crust.

-It has gelatin, cornstarch, and eggs to thicken it.  It does not, however, taste like gelatin, cornstarch or eggs.

-Four kinds of coconut:  real coconut milk, cream of coconut, coconut extract and shredded coconut.

-The crust has both butter and shortening and I really like it that way.  I know some people prefer all butter, but I think shortening gives it a nice, flaky texture.

-The vinegar in the crust helps to make it tender.

-My son-in-law thinks this would be great in a graham cracker crust.  Something to think about.

-I am dying to add pineapple to this pie one day.  I think that would be lovely.  Maybe with a little rum extract?

-One day I will make this with a fresh coconut.  I’ll let you know how it turns out. Or you let me know if you do it first.

This recipe was a winner in the pie category in the Perfect Three contest sponsored by The Cooking Channel.  Recipe here.  Video here.  I am putting the recipe on my blog because sponsors often remove links and I want this pie to live on forever. :)

Lorie's Ultimate Coconut Cream Pie
 
Author:
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
Crust:
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • ¼ cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons ice cold water
Filling:
  • 1½ cups whole milk, divided
  • 1 envelope (about 2½ teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can pure coconut milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 large whole egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cream of coconut
  • 2½ cups shredded, flaked coconut, divided (sweetened, flaked coconut from the baking aisle)
Topping:
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in shortening and ¼ cup cold cubed butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the vinegar and 2 tablespoons water, until mixture forms a ball, adding more water if necessary. Pat into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Roll dough out to fit a 9½-10 inch glass pie plate. Place crust in pie plate and trim and crimp edges.  Place the dish on a baking sheet for easier handling.  Prick the bottom and sides of the crust well with a fork.  Line the inside of the crust with a piece of foil, allowing edges to extend several inches beyond the perimeter.  Place 2 cups of dried beans in the crust to weight it down during baking and prevent shrinkage.  Bake for 15 minutes or until crust is no longer raw on bottom.  Remove the foil and beans by carefully lifting the foil out by the overhang.  Bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until light golden brown.  Remove from oven and cool completely.
  3. Place ½ cup cold milk in a mixing bowl (preferably with a pouring spout) and sprinkle with the gelatin. Set aside to soften for about 5 minutes.
  4. Bring the remaining milk and coconut milk to nearly a boil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat.
  5. When the gelatin is soft, add the sugar, cornstarch, egg and egg yolks and whisk until very well blended. Gradually whisk about a ¼ cup of the hot milk mixture into the gelatin mixture; repeat this process once or twice using about ¾ cup of the hot milk mixture. Pour the warmed gelatin mixture into the saucepan with the hot milk and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook for about 2 minutes or until mixture is very thick.
  6. Strain the pastry cream through a fine wire strainer into a large clean bowl; whisk in the butter, coconut extract, and cream of coconut until smooth. Stir in 2 cups shredded coconut.  Pour into the cooled the pie shell and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.


To make the topping, beat the heavy cream in a large bowl on high speed until foamy.  Add the powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat until soft to medium stiff peaks form.  Spread over the pie.  Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup coconut.   Keep refrigerated.
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Comments

  1. says

    I grew up in Mississippi with my mama making coconut pies especially for my brother. They were his favorite. I could take ‘em or leave ‘em. My husband decided a few weeks ago that “we” should make pies for our pastors for Pastor Appreciation Month. My senior pastor’s wife said any kind of cream pie is his favorite, so I decided on coconut. I’m not my mama’s child when it comes to pie-making. Honestly, never made a pie crust in my life, so when I read that it’s ok to use a graham cracker crust, I was sold on this recipe. Lorie, dear girl, you are my hero!! This thing is RIDICULOUS! So delish, I can hardly stand it. So here I am in Seattle, feeding my pastor & his wife this incredible Mississippi dish & they are head over heels. They have gushed & gushed about it. Best they’ve ever had. Even said I should open my own pie cafe. HA! Thank you. This recipe will be used again & again.

  2. says

    Lorie, thank you so much for all the hard work and dollars you spent on perfecting this pie! And thank you so much for sharing it with the rest of us coconut lovers! I made this pie last night strictly by recipe and topped it this morning with a mountain of whipped cream and coconut, then my wife and I enjoyed a slice for breakfast. Yes, this stuff is indeed the breakfast of champions.

    The filling indeed thickened to what seemed fairly thick but since I’d never made it before I still wasn’t convinced it would “set up” and slice out perfectly like yours. So I put it in the fridge at 11 last night and at 8 this morning it had performed it’s magic in the privacy of the fridge and it sliced out picture perfect indeed! No gelatin taste or texture, no eggy taste, just pure, intense coconut nirvana!

    This was my first coconut creme pie and I have no reason to look any further. I’m just a man who loves to bake when I have the time. And I know this pie will be one of the most requested. It’s a little work but it’s oh-so-worth-it! People, this pie is in a league of it’s own. Again, you are a pie genius! Thanks for giving us this recipe!

  3. Anonymous says

    Making this for my mom for mothers day. She loves coconut cream pie. I am hopeful fron the comments that it will be good!

  4. Doreen Beer says

    Here you go, Lori. There’s several five-star recipes online to make. After reading several of them, I decided on yours. My husband wants me to make him coconut cream pie for his Christmas dessert. Yours sounds the best. I’ll ask my husband to write you a note after he has it. Wish me luck!

  5. Anonymous says

    Lorie, I think I may have messed up and not cooked the mixture long enough. Do you think it will still set up? It has been in the fridge for about hour and it does not look like it is going to set up. I am hoping that by morning it will. I tasted the filing though and it is absolutely amazing!

    • says

      I think there is a good chance it will set up just fine, Anonymous, if you refrigerate it overnight. It does have 3 different thickening agents in it. Let me know how it turns out!

  6. says

    I have never made this type of pie before, but it’s my favorite & your recipe sounds better than anything else I’ve found. Have you ever made the filling & topping ahead of time (about 20 – 24 hrs ahead), then put it all together later? I was thinking I could do that & then just put it all together after I get to my destination (driving out of town with it, and we’ll be in the car for a few hours). Thank you!

    • says

      Clovelady–I am sorry I am just now answering you, but yes, I think that would probably work although I have not tried it my self yet. Let us know!

  7. Anonymous says

    Hi,
    Awhile back, I wrote, and asked what kind of coconut you used.Afterwards,I made the pie . We had it last year for Thanksgiving . I want you to know that I think this recipe is nothing short of “genius” ! You should be so proud of yourself ! I too,like you, have been waiting for a pie with more pronounced coconut flavor.People,this is it ! I just made another one as a trial run before Thanksgiving. We love it,once again ! THANKYOU So Much for all the labor that you put into making such a perfectly executed dream of a dream pie !

  8. says

    This was the birthday treat for my mom this year – YUM! Changes I made to the recipe: I only used 1/4 c sucanat (unrefined sugar) and unsweetened coconut. It was plenty sweet for my family.

  9. says

    I make a double crust lemon fruit pie my grown son adores, but it has now been replaced with your coconut cream pie. I actually got two 9 inch pies out of it. they were filled to the top and with extra whipped cream nobody noticed the stretch. Everyone loved it and my granddaughter and daughter-in-law finished it for breakfast the next morning.

  10. Bob Murray says

    Lorie, I want to thank you for your ultimate coconut cream pie recipe. I have long wanted what I remembered from my childhood as a really good and rich coconut cream pie. My wife of almost 49 years explained many times to me that you make this pie with vanilla pudding, and I never did believe her. I found your recipe, printed it for her and she finally made it today. This is the pie I have wanted for so long. I don’t know that it’s exactly like my mother used to make. I do know it’s absolutely delicious, and it is just exactly what I pictured. I’m going to try my best now to persuade my wife to read your blog and try more of your recipes.

  11. Anonymous says

    Hi Lorie,

    What is a can cream of coconut? I have used a can of coconut milk, but not the other & is it easy to find.
    Thanks,
    Peaches

  12. Anonymous says

    I made this today-was looking for a homemade recipe with more than just vanilla & shredded coconut for flavor-it was wonderful-light, smooth, very ”coconutty”-a pleasure to the senses. I made indivdual ramekins with graham crusts bottoms.Only other change/addition i made was to use vanilla bean along w/ coconut extract-richer taste(i had vanilla bean pods on hand-always try to slip it in recipes).Thank you for the recipe post & pix-this is a treasure

  13. Anonymous says

    I used your recipe because I couldn’t find my Mom’s coconut cream pie recipe. Yours was better! So delicious. Everyone loved it. Thank you.

  14. Anonymous says

    Making this pie today. Should the coconut be toasted or at least some of it..or can it be as I have browsed some recipes that say it should?

  15. Arnie says

    Just made this today because my wife wanted a coconut cream pie for her birthday. It turned out awesome and was very easy to make. Plenty of coconut flavor and nice and firm and not runny. I used a premade graham cracker pie crust. THUMBS UP!!!

  16. Anonymous says

    Most Wonderful! My husband and I just finished our first two slices of this really good pie. Looking forward to eating the rest of the pie. Sure Hope no one stops by! Thank you, for sharing. Karen

  17. Anonymous says

    I wanted to point out that not all cream of coconut brands are the same. I used Coco Real and compared it’s ingredients to Coco Lopez. Coco Real has an extra 4g sugar per ounce. that’s an extra 60g of sugar for the pie.

  18. says

    Anonymous–Yes, to be clear, I usually use the Coco Lopez brand, although I have used other brands as well. And if you have a brand that is not exactly 15 ounces, but maybe 14 or 16, I don’t think that would make a huge difference in the recipe. :)

  19. Anonymous says

    Your recipe calls for a 15 oz can of cream of coconut. Just to be clear, are you using something like Coco-Lopez? The stuff I typically use for a Pina Colada?

    Thanks, can’t wait to try this recipe. Your photos are awesome!

  20. Anonymous says

    Lori, thank you so much for being willing to share this recipe. I have been looking for a great Coconut Cream pie recipe for over a year now. I will try this with great pleasure!! Thank you again for thinking of us ladies and giving out your recipes. Happy Thanksgiving!!!! You just made mine happy.
    Emma Steiger Johnston

  21. says

    OMG! Your pictures literally made my mouth water!! If that was your intention you succeeded!! lol I can’t wait to try this I love coconut cream pie!!

  22. says

    Anonymous-Yes, I used sweetened flaked coconut from a bag in the baking aisle. I have also used the frozen shredded coconut. Either one will do. :) I hope you enjoy it!

  23. Anonymous says

    Hi, I really think this coconut pie sounds good and I want to make it for Thanksgiving. I would like to know if the coconut is sweetened or unsweetened. Thankyou and I hope you have a great day!

  24. says

    This pie is amazing! I made two for our law school bake sale and had enough crust/filling left over to make mason jar lid mini pies for my husband and me. So good, thank you for sharing!

  25. Anonymous says

    I made this pie for our Sunday dinner yesterday and it was amazing!!! The only thing I did different was use a Marie Callendar frozen pie crust cause I did not have time to wait for the homemade one to chill for 4 hours. This pie was gone by the end of the day. It is a keeper. I will never use another coconut cream pie recipe EVER. LOVE LOVE LOVED IT!!!! Thanks for such a great recipe. =)

    Vanessa

  26. says

    Oh my goodness! I haven’t made a coconut cream pie in forever and this sounds like just the inspiration I need to get my butt in my kitchen and make one!

  27. Anonymous says

    Wow this looks amazing!! I’ve wanted to make a coconut pie for a long while now its on my list of “things to bake” this will definitely need to be the recipe I use. To the person wanting to substitute eggs I would say maybe use silken tofu instead of the eggs. It has the creamy texture but not enough taste to it that it would get in the way of the original taste and it should set up fine too. Its a common substitute in a lot of vegan or eggless pie recipes.

  28. says

    shweta-Wow, I don’t really know what you could substitute for the eggs. I think they are pretty important to the overall richness of the custard. Since it also has cornstarch and gelatin in it, it may set up without the eggs, but I think it will definitely change the taste quite a bit. I have never used egg substitutes, but that may be an idea.

  29. says

    Ive been wanting to make a coconut pie for a lonnggg time but your write up about this lovely looking recipe elevated this one above all the others ive seen! It looks and sounds absolutely stunning, just wonderful :)

    • says

      Dear shweta Sylvia jani,
      I found Lorie’s page while I was researching to see if anyone else had mastered coconut cream pie like I have. Here is my nearly-all-coconut southern style cream pie:

      Allow two cans of regular coconut milk to settle for a few days.
      Place cans in the freezer without disturbing them.
      Remove cans from the freezer and run water over them to loosen the edges.
      Open the cans and cut the frozen block in half producing two half cans of cream and two half cans coconut water.

      For the meringue:
      After the cream thaws enough to cut it, chip it into bits and place the bits in a standing mixer with a whisk attachment.
      Whip the frozen bits of cream on low until the frozen bits have turned into a smooth cream.
      Turn mixer to high and add 1/2 tsp cream of tartar and add 15 T powdered sugar.
      If you followed along so far you should now have the most delicious whip cream you have ever tasted.

      For the custard layer:
      Toast one bag of sweetened coconut flakes.
      Melt the frozen coconut water in a sauce pan.
      Add yellow food coloring or very little crumbled up saffron to provide the color that the egg yokes provide.
      Sweeten to taste.
      Thicken with tapioca or corn starch (arrowroot powder makes it a little to sticky and elastic)
      Add vanilla extract to taste (I imagine coconut extract would work as well but I haven’t tried it and it will still be plenty coconutty with the vanilla.
      Stir in as much toasted sweetened coconut flakes as you like.
      If the custard becomes too thick it can easily have coconut milk added to it.

      Bake a 9-inch pie crust until it is done. It doesn’t need to be brown and just like Lorie’s crust vinegar is highly recommended for the sake of flakiness. I use 2 T per double crust dough after not being able to detect the difference made by a tsp.

      Add the custard into the baked crust, top with coconut whipped cream, and sprinkle toasted sweetened coconut flakes on top.

      This is the best recipe I have ever developed. I know have a coconut cream pie in the fridge at all times.

      Enjoy!

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