This coconut cream pie features my favorite homemade flaky pie crust and a thick and creamy coconut cream filling. I use both coconut milk and coconut flakes in this coconut pie recipe to give it extra coconut flavor.
Coconut Cream Pie is a classic dessert for anyone who loves the flavor of coconut. It’s similar to my Banana Cream Pie recipe but uses coconut milk and dried coconut in the pastry cream filling to give it a refreshing burst of coconut flavor. If you love pies with flaky crusts, thick and creamy fillings and a fluffy whipped cream topping then this easy coconut cream pie is just for you!
Homemade Pie Crust
The key to any good pie is in the base: a buttery, crisp and flaky pie crust. This coconut cream pie recipe uses my favorite pie crust recipe. For many people, the crust is the most daunting part of the pie-making process. My easy all-butter recipe, also known as a pate brisee, can easily be made in the food processor (you can also use a pastry cutter).
I’ve made this recipe many times, and have picked up a few tricks along the way. It’s important to use very cold butter and water in the dough so the dough will be easy to work with. You want to pulse the mixture until it resembles a coarse meal (the butter pieces may not all be the same size). Your final dough will be quite crumbly, but don’t worry since you will be using your hands to form it into a ball. Let the dough rest for at least an hour and up to 3 days before rolling it out.
Preparing The Crust
Since this coconut cream pie has a filling that does not get baked you will need to fully bake your pie crust before assembling. You do this in two steps in what is called a blind bake – first with weights/dried beans/uncooked rice to prevent the crust from losing its shape and then with the weights removed to get an even golden color.
To prevent shrinking it’s important to chill your rolled out dough 30 minutes before baking. This cools the butter and helps the pie crust keep its shape as it bakes. Once baked and fully cooled, this crispy, flaky pie shell is ready for your creamy coconut cream filling (you can also fully bake it a few days in advance).
Coconut Cream Pie Filling
To give my coconut cream pie plenty of flavor I like to add both coconut milk and dried coconut flakes to my pastry cream, along with a splash of rum. I used to make this coconut pie without the rum but these two teaspoons make all the difference in the world! It’s optional but it really enhances the coconut flavor in the coconut custard pie.
To make the coconut filling I use my favorite pastry cream recipe, but switch out some of the milk for coconut milk and add in a cup of dried coconut. I use unsweetened coconut but you can use sweetened flakes and just decrease the sugar a bit to make up for the added sweetness.
Pastry crème, or crème patisserie, is a basic component in so many classic desserts. If you’ve ever enjoyed a cream puff, éclair, or fruit tart then you’ve tasted this thick and creamy custard. It’s very simple to make and is the base for my coconut cream pie.
To start, you whisk together your egg mixture until it’s thick and creamy. Set this aside and heat up your milk mixture just to a boil, slowly pouring it into the egg mixture while simultaneously whisking constantly until smooth. You want to make sure the eggs don’t get cooked by the hot milk as this creates a curdled, lumpy custard.
Pour all of this back into the saucepan and cook everything over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and bubbles start appearing on the surface. This all happens fairly quickly so be sure to keep an eye on it and just keep whisking! Once thick and boiling, cook for another 30 seconds before removing from the heat. Add in the butter, vanilla, rum (if using) and salt and strain through a fine-mesh strainer. Allow to cool slightly before pouring into your fully baked pie shell.
Whipped Cream Topping
The final step to my easy coconut cream pie is a simple whipped cream topping. This light and fluffy topping is the perfect contrast to the thick and creamy coconut filling. I like to sprinkle my whipped cream with toasted coconut to add some texture and even more coconut flavor to your coconut pie.
This coconut cream pie needs to chill for at least 5 hours or overnight to ensure the filling is properly set. In my family this pie doesn’t last for more than one day, but it can be stored in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
This coconut cream pie recipe is a great way to practice some basic pie-making skills. From a homemade flaky pastry to a luscious custard filling, you can take these techniques and make some of my other favorite desserts like my Banana Cream Pie or Boston Cream Pie. These are the perfect refreshing treat to summer’s hot weather.
More Coconut Recipes:
- Super Fudgy Chocolate Coconut Brownies
- My Favorite Coconut Cake
- Coconut Tapioca
- Chocolate Coconut Cups
- White Chocolate Coconut Truffles
- 9- inch Single Crust Pie Dough
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (35g) cornstarch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk or heavy cream
- 1 1/4 cups (300 ml) unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter , cut into pieces
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons rum , optional
- 1 cup dried coconut (I use unsweetened, shredded or flaked)
- 1 cup (240 ml) cold heavy cream
- 1/4 cup (30g) powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- toasted coconut , for garnish, optional
Roll out the dough for the crust: Take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for a few minutes to soften slightly for easy rolling. On a floured surface, roll dough out into a 12-inch (30cm) circle, then place gently into a 9-inch pie pan; you can do this by flouring a rolling pin and rolling the dough loosely around it, then unrolling it into the pan. With a sharp knife, trim the edges of the pastry to fit the pie pan. Use a fork to create a decorative border or crimp the edges using your fingers. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before baking.
Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C and place a rack in the center of the oven.
Bake the crust: Press parchment paper or aluminum foil tightly against the crust, covering the edges to prevent them from burning. Fill with pie weights/dried beans/uncooked rice. Bake crust for about 20 minutes until the foil no longer sticks to the crust. Transfer crust to a wire rack and remove weights and foil. Bake crust for about 10 minutes longer until golden brown and the bottom feels dry to the touch. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
Make the coconut cream filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until combined, then whisk in cornstarch and salt. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, heat milk (or heavy cream) and coconut milk on medium heat just to a boil. Remove from heat and gradually pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture while simultaneously whisking constantly until smooth (this will prevent the eggs from being cooked by the heat). Transfer mixture back into saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly and vigorously so that the eggs won’t curdle, until mixture thickens and bubbles burst on the surface. Remove from heat and whisk in butter, vanilla, and rum. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Mix in dried coconut. Cover with plastic wrap directly on top of the filling to prevent a skin from forming. Allow to cool slightly, then spread over the crust. Refrigerate until chilled.
Make the whipped cream: Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla on medium-low speed for several seconds. Increase speed to high and whisk until stiff peaks form and whipped cream is thick and spreadable. Spread the whipped cream on top the coconut cream filling. You can make swirls using the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with toasted coconut if you like. Refrigerate for at least 5 hours or overnight to ensure that the filling is completely set. You can make the pie 1 day ahead of serving.