Coconut cream pie has it all: a flaky crust, creamy coconut custard, mountains of whipped cream, and crunchy flakes of toasted coconut. I’ve always had a soft spot for this light-as-air pie, and I honestly feel it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Can we all agree it’s time to bring back this classic dessert?
For the crust:
1 1/2 cups cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
ice water, plus more as needed
For the filling:
1 1/2 cups full-fat coconut milk
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
5 large egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
For the topping:
1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
3 cups cold heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Food processor (optional)
Stand mixer or electric hand mixer
9-inch pie plate (not deep dish)
Aluminum foil or parchment paper
Pie weights or dried beans
Medium frying pan
1. Heat the oven. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 375°F.
2. Make the pie dough. Place 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. (Alternatively, use a large bowl and pastry cutter or fork.) Pulse a few times to combine. Cut 1 stick cold unsalted butter into 1/2-inch cubes and scatter over the flour mixture. Pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal, about 10 pulses. Add 2 tablespoons ice water and pulse until the dough forms a cohesive mass, 10 to 15 pulses. If the dough is too dry and does not come together, pulse in an additional tablespoon ice water.
3. Line the pie plate with the dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, gather into one piece, and press into a rough disk. Roll out to a 12-inch wide round using a rolling pin. Transfer the crust to a standard 9-inch pie plate (not deep dish). Press the dough into the plate, then roll the excess dough under itself on the edges of the plate. Crimp the crust with your fingers or a fork.
4. Blind bake the crust. Place a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment paper onto the crust and fill with pie weights, dry beans, or granulated sugar for blind baking. Bake until golden-brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Using the parchment paper as a sling, remove the pie weights and let the crust cool while you prepare the filling.
5. Make the filling. Place 1 1/2 cups full-fat coconut milk, 1 1/2 cups half-and-half, 5 large egg yolks, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup cornstarch, 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract in a medium saucepan and whisk until no streaks of yolk remain and sugar is completely dissolved. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until simmering, 7 to 9 minutes. Simmer, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 4 minutes.
6. Strain and chill the filling. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer set over a large bowl. Add 1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut and stir to combine. Pour into the pie shell. Cover the top with plastic wrap, gently pressing it against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours and up to overnight. Meanwhile, toast the coconut for the topping.
7. Toast the coconut. Place 1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut in a medium frying pan and toast over medium heat, stirring frequently, until light golden-brown and very fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
8. Make the topping. When ready to serve, place 3 cups cold heavy cream, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. (Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer and large bowl.) Whip on low speed until the mixture begins to thicken, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip until soft peaks form.
9. Assemble the pie. Uncover the pie. Add the whipped cream to the center of the pie and use a spoon to push it to cover the filling from edge to edge. Sprinkle with the toasted coconut and serve immediately.
Make ahead: The crust can be filled up to 1 day in advance. The coconut can be toasted up to 1 day ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature. Top with the whipped cream and coconut before serving.
Storage: Leftover pie can be loosely wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated up to 3 days.