If you’re looking for the perfect coconut cream pie than look no further. This recipe is a classic – a buttery flaky pie crust, a creamy, coconut-ty filling, and a light, airy meringue topping, piled high! And don’t forget more coconut scattered overtop and browned to perfection!
The filling is a coconut cream custard made with egg yolks, milk, and coconut. You can make the coconut cream ahead of time, making this a great make-ahead dessert recipe. The pastry is done by blind baking which means you can also make the crust ahead of time too. On the day, all you have to do is whip up your meringue topping and bake for 15-20 minutes to brown and cook the meringue. Be warned though, you have to let the pie come back down to room temperature before cutting into it, or else your filling will spill out.
I suggest putting the pie together (and baking the last stage) in the morning so by dinner your pie will have set perfectly!
Meringue Topping Tips
- Don’t use egg whites straight from the fridge. It’s best to use eggs at room temperature as cold egg whites will reduce meringue volume.
- If a yolk breaks into your egg whites, toss it out and start again (or use it for scrambled eggs). If there is yolk in your egg whites they will not fluff up.
- Avoid using plastic bowls as they can retain film from fats which will result in a deflated meringue. Always use a clean bowl and utensils because the smallest hint of fat will prevent the egg whites from stiffening up.
- Add your sugar slowly and gradually. By adding sugar slowly you will ensure that it gets absorbed into the egg whites properly as well as avoiding a gritty, sugary texture.
- Store meringue pies in a cake dome when refrigerating, this will avoid the top from getting crushed.
How to make a Mile High Meringue topping
The recipe below makes an average-sized meringue topping. But sometimes it’s fun to go all out and make a topping that’s a show stopper or maybe you just love meringue! In this case, you’ll want to up your egg whites and sugar. Simply follow the recipe below but make it 6 egg whites and 3/4 cup of sugar.
Don’t like meringue? Switch out the meringue for a whipped cream topping instead. First, make sure to use fresh whipping cream not the cream from the can. Use 2 cups of fresh whipping cream and add 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.
What to do if your coconut cream filling doesn’t set
It happens to all of us, you patiently wait for your custard to thicken in the fridge only to discover that it hasn’t set. But not to worry, you can save it! It’s simple actually, all you have to do is reboil the coconut cream filling. To be safe you can add an extra tablespoon of cornstarch as well. In a small bowl add 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1/4 cup milk, and whisk together until smooth. Add the mixture to your coconut cream filling, whisk together and continue to cook until the mixture boils and starts to thicken. Then transfer to a bowl, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Coconut Cream Pie
This coconut cream pie recipe is a classic – a buttery flaky pie crust, a creamy, coconut-ty filling and a light, airy meringue topping, piled high! And don’t forget more coconut scattered overtop and browned to perfection! A favourite recipe by many!
- Prep Time: 3 hours
- Cook Time: 35 mins
- Total Time: 3 hours 35 mins
- Yield: 6
- Category: Dessert
- Cuisine: American
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
- 1/2 cup Crisco, cold and cubed
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup ice-cold water
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 1/2 cups full milk, at room temperature
- 3 egg yolks (save the whites)
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut
- 4 egg whites
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
- Make your pastry.
- In a food processor add flour and salt, blend until incorporated.
- Add cold butter cubes and pulse until butter resembles little crumbs.
- Add chunks of the Crisco and pulse until the mixture resembles little crumbs (don’t over pulse).
- Slowly add your cold water and pulse until the dough forms into a ball, or gently shape into a ball by hand (you may not need all the water, once the dough starts to come together stop adding water, you don’t want the dough to be wet).
- Flatten dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight until ready to use.
- Meanwhile, make your coconut cream.
- In a large saucepan mix sugar, cornstarch and salt until combined. Whisk milk into dry ingredients on medium heat. Slowly heat mixture until warm, do not boil!
- In a separate bowl whisk egg yolks. Add 1/2 cup of your warm milk mixture to the eggs and mix well. Now transfer the yolk mixture to the saucepan and whisk, this is to ensure you won’t cook the eggs. Bring to a boil, whisking consistently. Once the mixture has come to a boil, lower heat and mix for another 1 – 2 minutes or until the mixture is a pudding-like consistency. Careful not to burn the mixture.
- Remove from heat and add butter, vanilla, and coconut. Stir to combine.
- Place your coconut cream in a glass bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; pressing the plastic on top of the coconut cream creating a seal, so no air can get through. Refrigerate for approx. 2 hours or until set.
- Blind bake your pie.
- Preheat oven to 425˚F. Set out a large pie dish and set it aside.
- On a prepared work surface lightly floured, roll out dough approx. 1 -2 inches larger than your pie plate. Gently place the dough into a pie dish and using your fingers gently press into place. Trim edges and shape as desired. Using a fork prick the bottom of the pastry a few times.
- Place parchment paper over the pie to cover the base of the pastry. Add pie weights or dry beans/rice over the paper to weight the pastry down. Place in the oven and bake blind for 15 minutes. Then remove the paper and beans/rice and continue to bake for an additional 5 minutes until light brown and baked all the way through. Watch pastry carefully as baking times will vary. Set aside to cool.
- Once your custard has thickened and your pastry is at room temperature, you can start your meringue topping.
- Preheat oven to 325˚F.
- Using a stand mixer, add egg whites, cream of tartar and salt together. Beat on low to medium speed until mixture is frothy.
- Slowly add your sugar one tablespoon at a time, raise your speed and continue to beat until glossy and stiff peaks form, this can take up to 8 minutes.
- Add vanilla and mix to combine.
- Build your pie.
- Add coconut cream custard to your pie crust, spreading out to all the edges. Gently dollop meringue topping on top. Make sure the meringue touches the pastry/pie edges to seal the pie and avoid shrinkage.
- Sprinkle 1/4 cup coconut on top of the meringue and bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes. If you need to brown the top more, broil the top, watching carefully not to burn. If you have a cooking torch you can brown the top by torching spots as well.
- Let pie come to room temperature before serving.
See blog notes for tips and tricks.
If you don’t let the pie come to room temperature before serving the coconut cream filling will not have set and will be runny.
- Serving Size: 1 slice out of 12
- Calories: 423
- Sugar: 18.7g
- Sodium: 276mg
- Fat: 25.6g
- Saturated Fat: 14.3g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 38.6g
- Fiber: 1.3g
- Protein: 10.9g
- Cholesterol: 86mg
Keywords: Coconut Cream, Pie, Pastry, Dessert
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