I have a lot of eggs and milk that I need to use up today, so Coconut Cream Pie is on the menu! This is one of my favorite pies next to Chocolate Cream Pie.
The great thing is that if you can make one, you can make both along with many other desserts, including banana pudding.
Cream pies all feature a custard base. Traditionally, custards are made with only cream and eggs. In that way, this is really the perfect farmhouse recipe – if you’re keeping chickens and cows, then you probably have a steady supply of the primary ingredients.
Before we get to the full recipe below, let’s tackle the custard base of this coconut cream pie.
As I’ve said, if you can get the base of this pie down, then it just enables you to make so many other dessert recipes along with it!
Making the Custard Base
To start on the custard base, whisk together your egg yolks with milk. At the same time, you’ll be preparing a sugar and cornstarch mixture in a stockpot.
Once you’ve got that egg and milk mixture whisked together all nice and smooth, slowly add it into the stockpot with the sugar and cornstarch.
Continually whisk over medium high heat for about 8 minutes or until it begins to thicken.
Since I added cornstarch to the eggs and milk, I am actually making a pastry cream. Anytime you thicken with flour or cornstarch, it becomes a pastry cream.
You technically don’t have to add the cornstarch to this recipe, but it’s an extra step I usually take to ensure my pie will set, plus the starch prevents my eggs from curdling.
I don’t add it when I am making a quiche or savory custard tart with meat or vegetables in it (those recipes also use this same custard base).
Just about every culture features a staple custard recipe.
Custard pies were very popular in the Middle Ages and were served in crusts, just like the one I plan to use to serve this pie.
Click here for my no-fail homemade pie crust recipe.
Okay, now that it is thick to my liking, I’m going to add the butter with a pinch of salt and vanilla. The butter will give your coconut cream pie a nice silky, shiny texture. Add the butter one tablespoon at a time, making sure each one melts before adding the next.
Making the Coconut Cream Pie
Next, add the coconut. We’re trying to make a Coconut Cream Pie, after all.
Transfer the custard to a bowl and place plastic wrap over it, making sure it touches the custard so that a film doesn’t form on the top.
Place it in the refrigerator until it’s completely cool.
Once it’s chilled, I can pour it into my pie shell. When you’re ready to serve, cover it in homemade whipped cream and sprinkle coconut over the top.
I like to double this recipe for the custard base.
You can use the extra to make a chocolate pie or banana cream pie from the same recipe.
At the step you would put the coconut into the custard, you could put melted chocolate or add banana flavoring and place over vanilla wafers with sliced bananas!
There you go! One method of preparation for 3 different recipes. I hope you’re ready for some pies!
Coconut Cream Pie
For the Coconut Cream Pie
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 3 cups milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut divided
- 1 prepared pie crust
- whipped cream (see instructions below)
For the Whipped Cream
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 6 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Coconut Cream Pie
- In a medium-size heavy saucepan, whisk together sugar and cornstarch. In a large bowl, whisk milk and egg yolks. Begin to slowly whisk milk and egg mixture into the saucepan with the dry ingredients. Bring mixture almost to a boil (medium heat) and whisk continuously until thickened, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add butter, one tablespoon at a time, allowing each one to melt completely before adding the next, while continually stirring. Add the extract, salt, and 1 3/4 cups coconut, until combined. Save the rest of the coconut to sprinkle on top. Pour custard into baked pie shell. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure the wrap is touching the custard, and cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes. Place in the refrigerator until set.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a sheet pan, place the remaining coconut and bake for 5 to 6 minutes or until the coconut is lightly toasted. Turn pan and stir once during the cooking cycle.
- Remove pie from refrigerator and spread whipped cream all over the pie. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.
For the Whipped Cream
- In a stand mixer or electric mixer, whip cream at a high speed until it's foamy and has increased in volume. Add vanilla and then slowly add sugar until soft peaks form.