C is for coconut: easy coconut cream pie

Pie truly is a beautiful thing.

Pie for breakfast? Absolutely. Lunch or dinner? Oh, yeah, it works.

And pie for dessert? Let me count the ways…

Actually, we’ll get to that at the end of the post. For now let’s just say that the combination of crust, filling, and topping is so versatile it covers a lot of ground. I’ve only ever met one pie I didn’t like and believe you me, I’ve met a lot of pies.

Personally, I adore a good icebox pie. I’m a sucker for cold and creamy desserts, and when our local ice cream stand isn’t open (Ah, Whippi Dip I miss you!) a cream pie very neatly steps in to fit the bill.  It’s even more delightful when the pie comes together in less than 30 minutes, and is ready after just a few hours of chilling.

Seriously, I think it will take longer to read this post than it will to make the pie. That being said, I’ll keep my opening remarks brief and we’ll get to the good stuff faster.

[Ed. note: You spoke – we listened! Some of the Baker’s Catalogue recipes we feature here call for ingredients obtainable only via our catalogue; in the past, this has produced some reader frustration. In order to make these blog recipes as accessible as possible, going forward we’ll offer more common substitutes for niche ingredients. Thus, if you want to make the recipe right away, you can. But if you’re willing to wait until you have all the ingredients on hand and, the reason we suggest you use these specialty ingredients is that they DO make a difference in the final product you can do that, too.]

Bring on the Easy Coconut Cream Pie:

For your graham cracker crust, in a medium-sized bowl  combine:
* 1 1/4 cups finely crushed graham cracker crumbs*
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 5 tablespoons butter, melted
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
*For an easy shortcut, substitute Graham Cracker Crumb Crust Mix, prepared as directed

Stir and mix until the crumbs become evenly moist.

The mixture will look like wet sand, the kind perfect for sand castles.

Empty the crumb mixture into a 9″ pie pan that has been spritzed with cooking spray.

To ensure an even crust, brush the crumbs with your fingers to coat the entire bottom of the pan and up the sides. Don’t press any of the crumbs down yet. First make sure all spots are covered evenly, then get to the pressing. This way you don’t have to pry up an already pressed section to scoop out crumbs to over a bare section.

There now. A nice even coating that has been pressed down into the pan.

If you’re using a metal pan such as our USA pie pan, place the whole pan into the freezer for 15 minutes while the oven preheats to 375°F.  This helps set the butter and keeps your crust from shrinking.

If you’re using a glass pie pan, skip this step. Frozen glass and hot ovens don’t make a good match.

After 15 minutes, remove the pie from the freezer and bake in the hot oven for 8 to 10 minutes. The crust will barely take on color, just a hint of brown on the edges.

While the pie shell is cooling, make the filling. In the bowl of your mixer fitted with the whisk attachment add the filling ingredients:
* 1 cup Pastry Cream Filling mix
* 1 cup cold milk
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1/8 teaspoon coconut flavor or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* pinch of salt, optional

If you don’t happen to have the pastry cream filling mix, substitute one small box of instant vanilla pudding. The heavy cream will elevate it to star status.
You can even make pastry cream from scratch and flavor it with coconut, but that kinda defeats the “easy” part of the recipe.

Whisk on medium-high speed until the filling is thickened.  It will be thicker than regular pudding, closer to thick whipped cream.

Gently fold in 3/4 cup toasted coconut.

Can you use untoasted? Sure thing. Just try to use unsweetened coconut, as the sweetened kind makes the pie a bit cloying.

Spread the rich, thick filling into the baked and cooled crust. It should reach just to the rim of the crust.

While you can absolutely use old-fashioned fresh whipped cream on the pie, or even as we say in our house “squirty-whipped cream,” adding a bit of stabilizer to whipping cream with the sugar gives a nice, thick, fluffy cream to layer on top of the pie.

To make it, whip up:
*1 cup heavy or whipping cream
*2 tablespoons whipped cream stabilizer (or 2 teaspoons Instant Clearjel)
*1 tablespoon sugar
*2 to 3 drops coconut flavor (or ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract)

Pile the cream onto the pie and swirl with the back of a spoon.

Refrigerate the pie for a minimum of 2 hours, or up to overnight. Just before serving, garnish with more toasted coconut, or our large coconut flakes.  Sue used those in the main photo for the recipe, and they’re stunning. You can toast them lightly in a dry skillet to get the golden brown edges for more color.

Crunchy crust, rich custard-like filling, deep coconut flavor, and a hit of whipped cream. What could be better on a warm summer evening?

Remember my quote about “Let me count the ways”? I thought it would be fun for us to list our favorite pies in alphabetical order. So, first commenter, you can begin with a pie starting with the letter A. Commenter # 2, give me a B and so on. Don’t worry if we get out of order, it’s all in good fun. If anyone is daring enough to try to list all 26 in one comment, I think it would be a hoot to share with your fellow bakers!

Please bake, rate, and review our recipe for Easy Coconut Cream Pie.

Print just the recipe.

MaryJane Robbins
About

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...

comments

  1. Patsy

    I made the pie at Christmas. I had to substitute coconut cream instant pudding. It was the pie of all pies! I am going to make another one for just me and my sister. My daughter went to a work holiday party at a high end restaurant in Dallas and a remarkably similar pie was served at the price of “$9.95” a slice. It had a shortbread crust and I am going to try that. Thanks for sharing recipe, Coconut is my favorite.

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins, post author

      Fantastic, thanks so much for sharing your results, Patsy! I feel a good coconut pie must be in my future soon. ~ MJ

  2. bunditoast

    There are a lot of ‘old folks’ out there, or a lot of youngsters who have ‘oldsters’ for parents/grandparents. My o my! What a bunch of pie. wanted to add buttermilk, rhubarb, sour cream apple, pumpkin (my favorite) but all my choices were taken and many, many more. Love to follow your blog. Memories are made in the kitchen.

    Reply
  3. kaf-sub-donnamasters

    This pie looks delicious and coconut is my favorite pie. I will be making it this week sometime for sure. I do have an unrelated question though … I noticed that you keep the various flours in your freezer. What is the purpose of that? I am curious if I need to be doing that well. Thanks for always providing us with your wonderful tested recipes.

    We keep our whole-grain fours in the freezer, to preserve freshness; whole-grain flours have oil from the germ that all-purpose and other non-whole-grain flours don’t. So, no need to freeze flour unless it’s whole grain. PJH

    Reply
  4. gaitedgirl

    Wow. *Claps* for all you folks out there who posted the ABCs of pies. Seriously, someone should use this when kindergarteners are learning their ABCS 😉 However, I’m on a pie kick and this does not help me with current obsession with pies! My husband prefers pies to cakes anyway so he loves pie. I just made two strawberry pies for him from some strawberries we purchased at the farmer’s market Saturday.

    Since everyone seems to be continuing the “C” trend, I’ll throw out my childhood favorite – Cherry Cheese Pie! My godmother and mom have made it ever since I was a child and I still love it (my godmother still makes it for me every year on my birthday and Christmas)!!

    But, one question, why could you have not posted this a month ago??? My best friend adores coconut and this would have been perfect for her birthday surprise! Alas, her birthday was a month ago. Would it be appropriate to celebrate her birthday a month later? 😉 Seriously though, another awesome recipe!
    Totally appropriate to make another pie for her “one month anniversary” of her birthday! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  5. ebmozo

    I just want to say that your decision to give substitutes for KAF products in your recipes shows your great confidence in your products. Bravo!
    Thanks so much. We really do read every comment posted, and take them to heart. Happy baking! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  6. teachingcotton

    Almond Joy Pie
    Buttermilk Pie
    Chocolate Cream Pie
    Dutch Apple Pie
    Empanada
    Frito Pie
    Grasshopper Pie
    Huckleberry Pie
    Italian Ricotta Sweet Pie
    Juneberry Pie
    Key Lime Pie
    Lemon Meringue Pie
    Mincemeat Pie
    Next Best Thing to Robert Redford Pie
    Opie’s Apple Pie
    Peach Cobbler
    Quick as a Cat’s Wink Cherry Pie
    Rhubarb Pie
    Strawberry Pie
    Texas Pecan Pie
    Upside down pineapple pie
    Vinegar Pie
    Waffle Pie
    Xtreme Humble Pie (Never made it, but have eaten it!)
    Yukon Gold Cheesy Potato and Onion Pie
    Zucchini Pie
    Great list! I’d forgotten about Frito Pie! ~ MaryJane

    Reply

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