Recipes

triple coconut cream pie

I would like to tell you that I made coconut cream pie because after 12 years of requests for it, I submerged my doubts over whether it was my “thing” and finally saw the light. Or that apparently this specific coconut cream pie created by Tom Douglas at Dahlia Bakery in Seattle is so well-known and loved, a previous president would ask for it by name. Or that I made it because I was delighted by the history of coconut in America outlined by Stella Parks in her Bravetart cookbook (which we are already way into), where she explains that the earliest packaged coconut you could get in the US, after the Civil War, was dry and chewy, and not very appealing unless you soaked it in something. That thing became cream for custard, because we have very good tastes. Or that in one of those food holidays I’m a bit dubious of but not above mentioning should the stars/cravings align, apparently May 8th is National Coconut Cream Pie Day, and we might as well begin preparing today.


let's make the pie doughall the buttercoconut crustthin crustthis crust is a (delicious) painready to par-bake, no weights

None of these are true. I actually — in a veritable sad trombone after a build-up like the above — made coconut cream pie because I went so overboard buying coconut for a certain wedding cake I made last summer that I had quite a bit left to use up before its okay-let’s-be-honest-I-blinked-and-missed-it expiration date.

what you'll need for the fillingone-pot custardthickenedready to chill the custard

What I quickly learned, however, is people* have a level of enthusiasm over coconut cream pie that is virtually unparalleled in any other dessert, save, perhaps, banana pudding or chocolate pudding pie. I believe the theme is pudding. Or — perhaps, just perhaps — the mandatory raft of whipped cream on top.

slightly underwhipped creamimperfect crustchilled custardrummaged around for a spoon, found a scooper, ran with ita not-insignificant amount of whipped creamtriple coconut cream pie

I get it, I really do, especially after making this one: a mile high with equal parts gooey, vanilla-flecked, rum-kissed coconut custard and massive pom-poms of whipped cream, topped off with a shower of toasted coconut flakes and curls of white chocolate. It does nothing halfway and neither should we.

triple coconut cream pie

* You know how it can take weeks and weeks to find a single date that works on the calendar for all of your friends? Yet amazingly if you group text “I think I have too much coconut cream pie, who wants to swing by and pick some up?” suddenly, everyone is free, and your family is mad at you for giving all their pie away. I will never underestimate the mere suggestion of homemade coconut cream pie again.

Previously

One year ago: Pistachio Cake
Two years ago: Sheet Pan Chicken Tikka and Perfect Garlic Bread
Three years ago: Artichoke Gratin Toasts, Maple Pudding Cake, and Potato Scallion and Kale Cakes
Four years ago: Avocado Cup Salads, Two Ways and Lamb Meatballs with Feta and Lemon
Five years ago: Ramp Pizza and Yogurt Panna Cotta with Honey and Walnuts
Six years ago: Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe and Classic Ice Cream Sandwiches
Seven years ago: Heavenly Chocolate Cake Roll and Crispy Potato Roast
Eight years ago: Shakshuka, Easy Jam Tart, Classic Cobb Salad
Nine years ago: Simple Potato Gratin and Pickled Grapes with Cinnamon and Black Pepper
Ten years ago: Lemon Yogurt Anything Cake, Fork-Crushed Purple Potatoes and Whole Wheat Apple Muffins
Eleven years ago: Black Bean Confetti Salad and Margarita Cookies

And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Bakery-Style Butter Cookies
1.5 Years Ago: Baked Alaska, Indian-Spiced Cauliflower Soup, and Skillet-Baked Pasta with Five Cheeses
2.5 Years Ago: Cannoli Pound Cake, The Broccoli Roast, and Salted Peanut Butter Cookies
3.5 Years Ago: Better Chocolate Babka, Fall-Toush Salad and Carrot Cake with Cider and Olive Oil
4.5 Years Ago: Frico Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Miso Sweet Potato and Broccoli Bowl, and Purple Plum Torte

Triple Coconut Cream Pie

All parts of this coconut cream pie contain coconut — it’s in the crust, there’s coconut milk and shredded coconut in the coconut filling, and the whipped cream is finished with toasted coconut flakes, setting it apart from coconut cream pies with coconut in merely the filling. This recipe has a lot of processes so it’s best to plan ahead. You will be rewarded for your work. Read to the end for the rest of my notes.

    Coconut crust
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (37 grams) loosely packed** sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, cold, diced
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) very cold water, plus a splash more if needed
  • Coconut pastry cream
  • 3 tablespoons (25 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (125 grams) granulated or vanilla sugar (see note)
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped (see note)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (235 ml) milk, whole or low-fat
  • 1 cup (235 ml) canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 cups (150 grams) sweetened shredded coconut
  • 4 tablespoons (60 grams) unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract (if not using vanilla bean)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons (5 to 10 ml) dark rum (optional)
  • Toppings
  • 2 1/2 cups (590 ml) heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • 2 tablespoons (my preference) and up to 1/3 cup (in original recipe) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened large-flake coconut or 2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • Chunk of white chocolate to white chocolate curls

Make coconut crust in a food processor: Place flour, coconut, sugar, and salt in work bowl of food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add butter and pulse in short bursts until butter and flour are combined and mixture resembles small peas. Drizzle cold water over and pulse a few times, just until the water disappears into the dough. Turn dough and any unmixed bits out onto a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper and mash into a disc. Wrap tightly and chill for at least 1 hour, and up to 1 week.

Make coconut crust by hand: On a cutting board, mince coconut then scrape into a large bowl. Add flour, sugar, and salt and stir to combine. Sprinkle cold butter over and use a pastry blender or your fingertips to work butter into flour until mixture resembles small pies. Drizzle cold water over and stir to combine.

Both methods: Turn dough and any unmixed bits out onto a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper and mash into a disc. Wrap tightly and chill for at least 1 hour, and up to 1 week.

Roll coconut crust: Roll out dough on a well-floured surface into a 12- to 13-inch circle. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan, being careful not to stretch the dough. Trim overhang to 1 inch (save the scraps, you may need them to patch the dough), then fold onto rim and flute with fingers and thumb. Transfer pan to freezer; chill until crust is solid, about 20 minutes.

Heat oven: To 400°F.

Bake crust: Prick cold crust all over with a fork. Lightly coat a piece of foil with butter or nonstick spray and press it tightly against every nook and cranny of the frozen crust. (This allows us to skip pie weights.) Bake for 20 minutes, then gently, carefully, slowly remove foil. If any holes or cracks have appeared, use scraps of leftover pie dough to patch them. Return crust to oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until deeply golden at edges and lightly golden at the bottom. Remove from oven and let cool completely before using.

Toast coconut for garnish: (Since you have the oven on right now.) Reduce heat to 350°F. Spread coconut for topping on a large baking sheet and gently toast coconut until edges are golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes. Watch carefully and stir a few times. Almost everyone who toasts coconut flakes ends up burning them. Let’s beat the odds! [I genuinely want to put up a Days Since Someone Making This Recipe Last Burned a Pan of Coconut Flakes, but I’m going to have to start it at zero because: me.] When they’re the right color, let the fully cool and set aside.

Make coconut pastry cream: Whisk flour, salt, granulated or vanilla sugar, vanilla bean seeds, if using, until combined. Whisk in eggs, then milk and coconut milk, followed by shredded coconut.Place over medium heat on the stove and bring up to a simmer, stirring. Once simmering, stirring, until custard thickens, 4 to 7 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in butter, a few chunks at a time, vanilla extract, if using instead of a vanilla bean, and rum, if using. Scrape into bowl, press plastic wrap against the surface of the custard, and chill in fridge for several hours or overnight until fully cool (and has finished thickening). In a rush? I often set the bowl of custard inside a larger bowl of ice water, stirring occasionally, which can speed up the process.

Make whipped cream topping: Whip cream, sugar (to taste) and vanilla, until firm enough that peaks hold their shape.

At last, assemble your pie: When pastry cream and crusts are fully cooled, fill crust with the coconut pastry cream and smooth the top. Either pipe or decoratively spoon (I used a large cookie scoop) whipped cream topping on top, then garnish with toasted coconut flakes. Use a vegetable peeler to shave chocolate curls all over.

Extended notes:
– I made many minor tweaks I won’t bore you with and a few bigger ones, and I mention this just because it’s such a popular recipe and this version is not a match for the book: I made the crust two times, two ways, and both times found it … pesky; a bit thin, prone to tearing and softness, and a little scant. This would logically be where I tell you just to use your own favorite pie crust (or mine) but the resulting crust is quite delicious if you feel you’re up for it. I use “cheat” method of blind-baking crusts (freezing, foiling, skipping the weights) and suggest this instead below.

– The custard is fantastic but I made it the “quick” (one pot, no tempering) way the second time and it worked just fine, so I’m encouraging you to do the same. The recipe calls for a full vanilla bean and I know they’re wildly expensive right now. If you keep a jar of vanilla sugar around, I vote for using it here instead of granulated along with 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. If you don’t keep vanilla sugar around, promise you will after the next time you use a bean, okay? Vanilla paste will work here as well. Finally, the rum is my addition (Deb is gonna Deb, etc.) but I keep it very low because you will really really taste it if you use more; I find when you use more than a tablespoon in a custard, it becomes a rum custard and nothing else. Again, coconut is the star here.

– The amount of whipped cream on top is borderline staggering to a coconut cream pie newbie and exactly correct to everyone who has eaten it before; it’s a thing, it’s the way it should be. I use less sugar in the whipped cream, the lower end of the range I suggest below.

** A pesky thing about bagged sweetened coconut: I finally got to the bottom of something that’s baffled me too long, which is this idea that if you buy, say, a 7-ounce/198-gram bag of sweetened shredded coconut, it says it holds 2 2/3 cups but it really doesn’t unless you pretty loosely pack, almost just spoon in, the coconut, which is fine, but strange that so few recipes actually mention this (mine too, but now duly noted). I learned this the hard way, when packed the 1/2 cup of coconut down, the weight clocked in twice as high, and the crust went right into the garbage because it absolutely didn’t work. I’m going to file this ingredient onto a long list of things that just work so much better when weighed (see also: dried coconut flakes, sliced almonds, ground nut flours, raspberries with the hollow centers that collapse when ripen, grated cheese, okay I could go on forever)

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146 comments on triple coconut cream pie

  1. Claudia

    It’s amazing the way you talk us through a recipe like this, to get us (me) from Seriously? to Yes I can! I love it! But the Trader Joe’s coconut milk? I didn’t care for it, wouldn’t ever buy it again. I’m used to Thai Kitchen brand. Other opinions on good brands of coconut milk?

    1. Kim

      I only use the Chaokoh brand of coconut milk. I’m Asian, so we are definitely picky about about our coconut milk since we use so much of it!

        1. Dania

          I would not use Chaokoh brand, if look at the list of ingredients, it doesn’t even contain coconut milk! The first ingredient listed is coconut extract. I recommend Native Forest (organic and excellent flavor) or Thai Kitchen (a little cheaper)

          1. amytildazhang

            I believe that’s because coconut milk is made from soaking coconut flesh in water, which produces the coconut milk and the cream. Chaokoh is preferred because it still includes the cream which makes it great for Thai curry (if you let the can settle, the cream will rise to the top and you can scoop it out and reduce it further before mixing with curry paste). That may be why they specify coconut extract rather than just the milk.

      1. leah

        This is also the brand I use. I’m Filipino. Although, of course, there’s nothing like coconut milk extracted with your own bare hands from freshly grated coconut from your tree in the backyard. I believe this is what coconut ‘extract’ meant. Not the same as vanilla extract or almond extract.

  2. Lauren

    Have many chances to try this out on unsuspecting friends this month. I am not usually in Camp Coconut Custard, but this one looks as if it has so many great nuances of flavor that it might be worth trying a bite. It sure is a photogenic beauty!

  3. Susan

    I love coconut pie..coconut anything, really. I have had some dental issues the past couple of years and haven’t been able to eat it because of the texture being chewy and the shreds or flakes being difficult. I’ve taken to successfully grinding the coconut until it’s more like course cornmeal size and used it that way, though I haven’t done that in a custard. Do you suppose it will compromise the texture of the custard too much? Say..”no” Please?

    1. Carolyn

      Yes! I would love to know if grinding the shredded coconut would affect the custard! I absolutely adore the flavor of coconut, but hate the texture of the shredded stuff, so I’ve always stayed away from coconut cream pie. I would totally make this if I knew the texture wouldn’t be so shredded-coconut-y.

  4. Emily M

    Toast your coconut over low to medium heat on your stove! Use a big skillet, Stir it a lot, and you’ll have perfect, unburnt toasted coconut every time.

    1. JP

      You can also toast coconut in your microwave oven. It takes a bit of patience and checking often, but I have never burned it this way and it does come out, eventually, golden.

    1. deb

      I used whatever I had around, it was either a Ghiradelli or Lindt bar, i.e. not the best white chocolate, shouldn’t matter much for curls.

  5. Can’t wait to make! I always hate blind-baking crusts and often skip it but since the filling isn’t baked, this would be a good recipe for me to conquer my fears of blind baking. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Ally

    Yesterday was my 5 year wedding anniversary and I told my husband all I really wanted to do was go to Capital Grille and get the coconut cream pie for dessert (I guess we could have steaks too). We didn’t have a babysitter though, so we opted for a neighborhood spot with our almost 2 year old. This will be my project tonight so I can fulfill my coconut cream pie craving!

  7. sonya

    Yummers, must try. Fun coconut fact: on the corner of Duane St./Hudson in Tribeca is a building once owned by Leopold Schepp. He owned a very successful business in the late 1800s until mid-1920s (when he died) importing and drying/shredding coconuts which literally earned him millions. He was very philanthropic and used part of his vast fortune to start a foundation – which still exists today – that gives out scholarships for higher education. The building, which faces Duane Park, is now residential, but I always think of coconuts when I pass by it.

    1. deb

      Oh this is fantastic. I love tiny bits of NYC history. (I have a funny story about Kalustyan’s in my last cookbook, but I wonder if you can already guess what it is.)

  8. Rachel M

    Deb, you must try the double coconut cream pie from the Loveless Cafe book. Actually, everything from the Loveless Cafe book is a home run but that coconut cream pie makes people weak in the knees. I’ve made it for NYE, Thanksgiving, just because it’s Tuesday, and for Memorial Day; it was a huge hit every.single.time..

    Also, their pound cakes and buttermilk biscuits are worth the make too.

    1. Cynthia

      Rachel M, I have tried to find that double coconut cream pie recipe that you mentioned and it is not listed on the Loveless Cafe site. Can you share this? Love Deb’s recipe and will make this week, however if I can double – WOW!

  9. Kacie

    Oh, at last I may have found the recipe. I have attempted coconut cream pie 3 times, as it is one of my husband’s favorites. The first time was good. The next time should have been phenomenal, but the filling never set. I have not been able to find the recipe I used for the second time. The third time was fine, but not nearly coconutty enough.

    Please, let this be the one. It sure looks like it will be the one. And those blobby clouds of whipped cream…

  10. JP

    I must try your method to bake without pie weights. I have had terrible luck with crusts going in looking perfect and coming out slumped down into the dish…particularly if they are made purely with butter and no shortening. Super frustrating, especially if you have a lot of filling to pour in. I have tried Cook’s Illustrated method (with vodka), filled the crust with pennies and even the Milk Street’s method that promises not to shrink. Don’t believe that propaganda..they do so shrink! I have put pie crusts in frozen but not with the greased foil pressed on carefully. Will keep my fingers crossed because my pies always taste good, but don’t look as pretty as they should. This really works, huh? Thanks!

    1. Jules

      The two most common reasons why pastry slumps in the oven: you overworked it, or you let it get too warm. The easiest way to avoid it is to postpone the trimming stage – roll your pastry out, drape it into the pan, press it into place, and put the whole thing in the oven to blind bake, dangling edges and all. Trim the edges with a really sharp knife when you take the pie out of the oven after baking (while the pastry is still warm). Voila, no slumping!

      1. deb

        I find it so interesting when I watch GBBO that this is the method that all of the pastry wizards use vs. trimming it to size pre-baking and hoping it doesn’t shrink too much. I want someone to explain to me why that is not standard in more recipes, when nobody raises an eye about it on the show. That said, it doesn’t work as well for pie edges like this.

        1. JP

          I have never heard of baking the pie shell with the edges untrimmed…just hanging the pastry over the edge before baking. But I can’t imagine that it looks very nice when the edge is cut after it is baked. Even if you do it when the pastry is warm and the knife is sharp. Do the “pastry wizards” really use this method?

          1. deb

            Every single baker I have ever seen on the show for every instance where they make tart shells does this. It’s amazing to me. I have used this method once on the site before, for this quiche. Which is a Thomas Keller recipe. I think the pastry wizards know things that aren’t making it into the home cooking books.

            1. JP

              But you can’t get anything more than a rustic edge, which in some applications, like your quiche is okay, but on a coconut cream pie? Or any pie where pretty is important on the edge? It also kinda bothers me that all the cut away pastry is wasted (maybe nibbled on by baker, of course, but the guests don’t get much of an edge on their dessert). It continues to be a real quandary because I have not found any pastry recipe (no matter who promises what) that does not shrink. Pie weights or not. I am not sure if my method is wrong (too warm? worked too much?) or the recipe is wrong (all butter? vodka? roux?). But I have not tried your freeze/foil method, so I guess I had better do some pie baking and find out.

              1. Karen Brown

                Never throw away pastry scraps! I stack my scraps, chill, then re-roll. Then cut out random shapes ( I just make rough rectangles etc. with a fluted pastry wheel), brush with any left over egg wash, or just cold water, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or a small dab of jam. Bake at same temp as pie crust. My family calls these scrap biscuits, and when my girls were little, it was always their job to make the scrap biscuits (cookies outside of NZ!). Now they’re adults, they still come looking for scrap biscuits if there’s pie on the bench. Cheers, Karen from the South Seas

        2. Susan

          My Mother in Law taught me to lay the dough into the pie plate with the excess hanging over the rim and decoratively crimp the dough on top of the rim then trim some of the excess hanging over the rim. Once she removed the pie from the oven, while it was still hot, she’d trim the rest of the excess off. She said you still have to take care to not stretch the dough when you place it in the pan or you will get cracks. On double crust pies, she’d baste the rim edge of the bottom crust with a thin slick of the filling to help “glue” the top and bottom together, letting top and bottom excess hang, then crimp the rim of the dough and then trim off all the excess.

  11. MR in NJ

    Since coconut burns so easily, why not reduce the oven temperature to maybe 300 degrees? If it takes a couple of minutes more, so what? I feel the same about toasting nuts.

  12. DJ

    Deb, I wish I had read your comment on adding rum to custards before I made your luxe butterscotch pudding. I went a little heavy handed and it’s purely rum pudding. I sound like i’m complaining. I’M NOT. I used it to stuff cream puffs and I regret nothing.

  13. I’ve had the original Tom Douglas triple coconut pie and it’s astoundingly wonderful. Dahlia Bakery makes a small tart size version that’s big enough for two but I’ve found you don’t have to share if you’re careful about licking up every bit of whipped cream evidence. Deb, thank you for the testing and making the recipe manageable. Your pie looks fabulous.

  14. Deanna

    Is there any reason to not just use all coconut milk in the filling and leave out the plain milk? We’d tend to not go through milk, even in the tiniest of pint sized quantities, before it goes bad, and the thought of using a whole can of coconut is just so appealing.

    1. If Deb says you need the milk, could you consider using reconstituted powdered milk or diluted evaporated? I realize that drinking either of those with your chocolate chip cookies isn’t overly appealing, but having a shelf stable way to get small amounts of milk when you need them might help.

  15. Maggie

    Being a novice in the kitchen I wonder…What type/brand of pie plate do you use? Must it be metal? Mine are pyrex and it seems they would break going from freezer to oven.

    1. Susan

      I use the Pyrex pie plates as well. I put the frozen plate on a cookie sheet before I put it in the oven. It allows the cookie sheet to absorb the heat from the oven rack so the pie plate won’t shatter. Works for me!

      1. Elaine

        Thank you from me, too. EVERYONE now is saying to freeze the crust before baking. I’ve always been afraid to try, assuming my pyrex pie plates would shatter from thermal shock. I think I’ll pick out one pie plate and give it a try with my heaviest baking sheet.

  16. Lisa

    I used to make coconut cream pie for my dad because it was his favorite and just realized I haven’t made it since he died in 2010. Maybe I’ll try this version in his honor. I even have the book. Thanks for the reminder.

    Also, another plug for Bravetart. That book is fantastic. I’ve made 3 different cakes and a few other things and they have all been exactly what I wanted.

  17. Amy

    Hey Deb, since coconut is so dairy free friendly, could I sub the milk for all coconut milk, or a different nut milk? I know I can sub coconut oil for the butter, bc I do that with my lemon curd and it’s heavenly :) Coconut whipped cream will sub just fine here too for the DF people out there!

    1. Lisa F.

      I developed a dairy- and gluten-free coconut cream pie that uses all coconut milk in the filling and it works beautifully. (I blind bake the pastry part way, then bake the filling in the shell; I’m going to try Deb’s more traditional pastry cream method with my recipe to see if it works with my recipe.)

    2. deb

      I bet you could sub all the milk for coconut milk; the worst case scenario is that it will be slightly thinner in the end, but probably not. Let us know how it goes!

  18. francoisestovall

    For Passover this year I made a key lime pie with a coconut macaroon crust, and I am now thinking that technique would be maybe even better in a coconut cream pie?!

  19. Suzanne

    omigosh, i can’t believe all these years i could have been having whipped cream on my coconut cream pie. my whole life my mom has made the entire pie (except for a sprinkle of shredded coconut on top) in the blender, and never served it with whipped cream. it’s this one, which calls for bisquick, vanilla, butter, sugar, eggs and milk https://www.bettycrocker.com/recipes/impossibly-easy-coconut-pie/dca95b46-58a1-4253-81ae-6091f4abf47c#reviewDiv. it always seemed like magic because the bisquick settles to the bottom of the pie pan and bakes into crust, and the butter floats to the top and makes a delicious surface embedded with the shredded coconut. i love this pre-foodie era pie but now i’m excited to try your over-the-top-looking version!

    i know that it’s possible to use them in this, but i’m wondering what stopped you from using coconut oil in the crust and coconut sugar in the filling?

  20. Dolphin

    I am really excited about this recipe! I live in Seattle and have eaten this pie a bunch of times. It is seriously amazing. So now I can actually make it myself at home!

  21. Lovely! When I saw this, I immediately wanted to make it. However, we’re ketogenic (low carb), and I was able to successfully make your recipe replacing the flour with almond / cocoanut flour (which obviously works well here!) and the sugars with erythritol. It really hit the spot! I must admit, however, that I _almost_ burned the toasted cocoanut flakes for the topping, but didn’t!

  22. THANK you for using “real” pictures! It makes me feel much better knowing that each step does not have to look PERFECT. It shows REAL cooking. The Honest picture and I love it. Thanks again!
    Kristen

    1. deb

      As written! Usually with custards you heat the cream or milk with sugar, then whisk the whole eggs or yolks with flour or starch, and then take the cream/milk off the burner and slowly drizzle it into the yolks to temper them, and then you finish cooking it back on the stove and a reader pointed me a few years ago to this easier method (whisk everything, heat once) and it’s been working a-okay for me. And here, most importantly.

  23. Nicoke

    I’ve just made the coconut custard and it’s in the refrigerator. I’ve checked it a few times and I’m worried it’s not going to set up enough. I cooked it till it was thickened and for more than the length of time mentioned. I’m nervous because I’ve nevver used this recipe and I need the pie tonight.😟

  24. Leti

    Anyone have a brand name of an organic sweetened coconut or even one that it just free of preservatives? Trader Joe’s carries an unsweetened flake coconut but I believe the sweetened one ( it was in a pink bag) is no longer available. Thanks!

  25. Audrey

    Can you use plain shredded coconut instead. If so, should you add more sugar. I don’t think we have sweetened here in Australia and I know we did not in South Africa.

    1. deb

      Probably more sugar is needed, but maybe not a ton. The crust will be trickier; it might need another splash or so of water to come together.

  26. strawberryrhubarb

    *sits back, waits for the debate about whether coconut belongs /in/ the custard of a coconut cream pie*

    (My mother would say no. I would say “this looks delicious regardless and I am excited to make it.”)

  27. Miss B

    Did you not find this inordinately greasy? I have tried (and tried to like) this coconut cream pie (I live in Seattle so I can get it from the source), and…it’s just _so_ weirdly greasy, each time I have tried it. (Also, I suppose it’s not my top flavor choice to begin with and I don’t think Tom Douglas pies from the bakery are particularly world-shattering in general, _but_ I would be okay with it if it weren’t like eating an oil slick.) I’m wondering if it’s to do with how they make many-at-a-time in the bakery, or the fact that they sit around in the case all day, or if it’s just how the pie is and it doesn’t bother anyone but me…?

    1. deb

      You mean the crust? Or the custard or topping? I could see the crust being buttery … but of course have never tried this in person.

      1. Miss B

        I’m assuming the greasiness is coming from the crust — it’s not buttery-seeming, it’s like…a slick of oil coating everything. (Because of the coconut?)

  28. I have a mild allergy to coconut, so I wouldn’t indulge here, but I do know someone who would love me forever if I made it and left it on her desk. This looks sublime for the coconut junkie!

  29. Just had this tonight-delicious! Only question is regarding the consistency of the custard. How thick should it be? Cutting slices turned out more like goopy banana pudding. Is this just a matter of not cooking the custard long enough?

    1. Sarah

      yes! pastry cream needs to be cooked longer and harder than seems intuitively right if you are used to making more delicate custards that have no starch. The flour means you really have to boil it and keep it simmering for a while to cook the starch.

  30. This looks fantastic. I’ve made a similar coconut custard for pie, but I put it in a cookie crust made with coconut thins from Trader Joe’s, and I top it with piles of fluffy meringue, as I’m not a huge fan of whipped cream. Also, sometimes, I like to split the custard in half and add coconut to half and then add chopped dark chocolate to half and layer them into the crust, coconut custard, then chocolate custard, then meringue. The layers look so pretty! YUM! I might need to make this for a party this weekend.

  31. Ellen W

    I will bookmark this recipe for Father’s Day as my dad and I are the only people who like coconut cream pie. My mom doesn’t care for cream pies and so never bakes any and my husband/boys don’t share my enthusiasm for coconut.

  32. Carroll

    What is the weight for the coconut used in the topping? Only volume is given but there are weights for the coconut used in other parts of the recipe.

    1. deb

      It’s because dried coconut chips are almost impossible to measure by weight because they’re all different sizes. It should be about 120 grams.

  33. M hooley

    Tom’s pie is to die for! I love to split a slice with another person or at the Dahlia bakery they sell individual squares with a proper crust. It is a small rich piece of heaven.
    I love your blog. Today I made your almond horns. I can’t believe how easy they are. I assumed they were extremely difficult as they taste amazing. I made them in fifteen minutes. I had difficulty with the almonds sticking to the cookie so I reversed your suggestion to keep my hands dry and dipped them in a bowl of water after rolling out the dough and then pressed the dough into the almonds. The cookies came out perfect! I drizzled chocolate over them as it is much easier and I could eat them sooner…….

  34. Maureen

    This looks delish. What do you think would happen if you subbed with unsweetened coconut? I have tons of it and I usually prefer things less sweet.

  35. Harriet

    I ended up shaving white chocolate Kits Kats for the topping (because I never really use white chocolate) which worked well. Also nice to have a snack with the leftovers!

  36. Ani

    I made this and it is extremely delicious & decadent. Used a pint of heavy cream for the topping – a half cup less than what the recipe calls for – and it still felt like a TON of whipped cream (in a good way, this is just to say it was not lacking).

    I had the same issue a few have mentioned about the custard not setting up. I simmered it a bit longer, 8-9 mins, and it thickened up nicely, but after “several hours” chilling as the recipe calls for, it was still much more like pudding when I served it after dinner (with port – omg). However the next morning, after 12 more hours in the fridge, it sliced just perfectly. So my advice is to chill the custard longer than you imagine you need to – maybe make it the day before. It paired just as well with coffee this morning as it did with port last night!

  37. meyerfoodblog

    This was absolutely amazing! Made it yesterday with our 3-year old daughter and it was such great fun – especially the eating part!

  38. Leisa Joan

    Thanks for the recipe Deb. I made this this weekend for my family, and everyone loved it…My sister’s father-in-law wanted to eat the whole thing himself. I especially loved the coconut in the crust. yummy. I think I should’ve let the custard set longer, as it was very loose & hard to cut into pieces. I did add toasted slivered almonds to the top as well…extra yummy.

  39. kemi

    I made this this past weekend. I’ve never had coconut cream pie before. But holy crap, this was sooo good! I did substitute the milk for unsweetened soy milk, but it didn’t seem to impact the flavor or texture at all. The only heartbreaking part is the number of calories per slice. 795 per slice!! I know, I know, this isn’t exactly a “diet” recipe. I’m just so sad that I can’t eat this every day because it’s that good.

  40. Kylie

    I’ve been waiting years for you to share a Coconut Cream Pie recipe, Deb! The wait paid off. This is officially my favorite Coconut Cream Pie (which is saying a lot, as it is perhaps one of my fondest childhood memories), outshining all recipes I’ve tried myself and all I’ve ordered when on the menu. Cheers, and THANK YOU!

  41. this cake is looking super delicious and when i tried to make it it was really tasty and even my brother who usually don’t like sweet food also liked thanks for sharing your recipe

  42. Anna

    Deb, this looks amazing! I’m planning to make this for Mother’s Day as a treat to a few moms. I won’t have a ton of time on Sunday, so if I made everything on Saturday, would you recommend assembling the pie and storing it in the fridge overnight? Or should I store the pie crust (baked or unbaked?) and the custard separately overnight? Obviously I’ll make the whipped cream fresh the day of. It seems like a couple have noted the custard thickens up even more over the course of a day, so maybe it’d be fine to assemble and store, I just don’t want to end up with a soggy pie. What do you think?

    1. Kate W.

      From experience, the crust stays just as delicious after a night in the fridge. I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Your custard will thank you for the extra time to set up in the fridge, too!

  43. Blaine

    Can I use unsweetened shredded coconut and increase the sugar levels? If so, how much of an increase do you recommend?

  44. Amy

    The pastry cream will work without the inclusion of the coconut, right? I am thinking so, but wanted to check with an expert. Thanks, Deb!

  45. Marcia

    Children are alleged to not like coconut, supposedly an adult taste ,but my two loved it in all forms all through their childhoods . Will absolutely make this when they come to visit. I recently made a coconut cake, and used a can of Goya
    Coconut milk,which was all I could find.. it was quite nice… so another option for people.

  46. gobeyondbounds

    My kiddo has never enjoyed eating food items with coconut in it. But the coconut cream pie looks delicious. Am very sure she is going to love it. Thanks for this awesome recipe, can’t wait to try this out this weekend.

  47. Joanne Kunz

    I made this for a gathering of friends. I used unsweetened coconut rather than sweetened and weighted all ingredients. OMG-big hit with everyone. The BEST coconut pie ever!!! Thanks

  48. Jessica

    This Coconut Cream Pie is amazing!!! I must say, I make a lot of Deb’s recipes and they all come out delicious but wow – this one takes the cake (or should I say pie! teehee!). So much so that I have to leave my first comment ever! Couple tips – I second Deb’s suggestion about taking the time to make the coconut pie crust as it is fantastic. I really didn’t have any issues with it and I made it by hand. I froze my butter and grated it into the flour which worked like a charm. The crust has layers, is flaky, crisp and supports the pastry cream well. I also bought an unsweetened fine shred coconut from Natural Grocers and did an equal 50/50 split between that and the sweetened coconut in both the crust and pastry cream. I didn’t add more sugar to the pastry cream and it was just the right amount of sweetness for my tastes. I learned the classical way of making pastry cream in culinary school so I was a bit wary about the 1 pot method but I’m a convert now, so simple! Also, for the pastry cream and those who find it too runny – you’ll need to cook it a bit longer as every stove top can vary in heat and that affects the timing. I kept an eye on it as I was stirring it and would pull out small spoonfuls to cool, allowing me to see how well it would firm up and when it was close to ready. If you look at the photo of the pastry cream, it is thick! I made mini pies and you could take multiple bites without the pastry cream falling out – success! Just for reference, I tripled the recipe and made 1 9in pie plus 30 mini pies (using a cupcake pan for them). And the blind bake method with foil works well. I even made little foil cups for the mini pies and will save them for future uses! I wish I could share a photo as they are gorgeous! Also – I live at high altitude (5700 ft) and didn’t make any adjustments and had no issues. Thank you Deb for putting this recipe out into the world as I’ve been craving a coconut cream pie but nothing pushed me to make it until I saw your version!

  49. Chelsea

    I cannot believe how good this pie was. I’m literally incredulous. I skipped the white chocolate (because I abhor it) in favor of toasted hazelnuts. No way I’ll ever use that much whipped cream, when I enjoy this pie anywhere outside the home I slough the heavy-handed dose of whipped cream right off (I think coconut custard has such a subtle flavor that, as much as I love whipped cream, I think such huge amounts drown the custard right out.)

    My pie wasn’t instagramable at all unlike yours, but it was positively the best coconut cream pie I have ever tasted. Phew.

    PS, I’m also a fan of this pie crust mod. As far as I can tell, we make our crusts in exactly the same fashion. Adding the coconut was, surprisingly to me, just fine.

  50. Hilary

    Hi Deb!
    How long would you say this will this “hold” in the refrigerator without the whipped cream breaking down?
    Thanks!

  51. EB Russell

    I made this! Followed your recipe to the letter, and it was a show-stopper. The crust was worth the extra effort, and thank you Deb, it was my first rolling-out experience that didn’t make me want to cry. My sister was a very happy birthday girl last weekend.

  52. Hi Deb – My husband loves coconut cream pie and your recipe looks amazing- I’m in the process of making it right now and just rolled out the dough but there doesn’t seem to be enough dough…i can just barely make it go up the sides of my pyrex pie pan, nevermind having any extra for patch work and it seems rather thin in areas. Am I doing something wrong? 1c of flour seemed small to me. Part of me is itching to just go buy a premade crust just in case…

    1. deb

      Mine just made it as well (I called it “a bit thin, prone to tearing and softness, and a little scant”). However, it all worked out in the end. Did yours?

  53. People were literally licking their plates and fighting over the last piece. Such a good recipe! I cooled the custard down in ice water and stirred, worked great. I also added the thick, solid cream that is at the top of the coconut milk, to the whipping cream and beat that in there. Yum! Also, let’s take a moment to celebrate that I did not burn the coconut. This time. ❤️

  54. Kelly

    I just made this pie yesterday. I planned to make it over Memorial Day, but we ended up with too much cake at our house. Who knew that was even a thing? Anyway, I just made it as a lead up to the 4th of July holiday. The pie is divine!

    I did not have any trouble with the crust or the filling. My crust rolled out fine with enough for the edge to crimp. I ended up with a couple of small pieces cut off the edge, but I just used those on a skinnier area of the crust. No holes appeared during baking, and the crust shrank a tiny bit after removal of the foil.

    Filling sat up well on the stove. I did increase my heat, then stirred it the entire time. Thickened up after several hours in the fridge. After sitting in the pie crust for a couple more hours, it sliced without any issues. When I looked at it this morning, the filling was staying in the pie from where we tried the first two slices last night.

    Final note – I did not have enough heavy cream, so I just used what I had…a little under 2 cups while leaving the rest of the ingredients the same. Turned out fine. I will say that because of the large amount, I probably should have gotten my Kitchenaid stand mixer out instead of being lazy and using the hand mixer. I think the stand mixer would have fluffed it up a little more. That amount of whipped cream was fine.

  55. Maria Conde

    Hi Deb. I’m making this for my cookbook club. We meet on weeknights (Thursday) so my goal is to make the pie dough and custard tonight. I was wondering how long in advance I could bake the pie dough. I’m not sure I’ll have time the day of, so wondering if I should leave pie outside or cooling in the fridge or whether this would destroy the texture. I’m very new to pie making.

    1. deb

      You can bake it a few days in advance, even, it’s like a cookie. (I actually did this because I ran out of time.) I leave it at room temperature, lightly wrapped. The custard, of course, goes in the fridge.

  56. Maria Conde

    I made this pie this week for a cookbook club. I’m not very experienced in the pie making department, though I cook savory food all the time. Some comments for anyone attempting this:
    1) I had a really hard time handling the dough. It was definitely prone to tearing, as many have noted, and because it was difficult to handle, the crimping didn’t look as nice. I also think 12 minutes back in the oven was just too much. I should’ve removed it at 10 minutes, which is the low end of what Deb recommends. So, slightly overcooked the pie crust.
    2) I cooked the custard for as long as what it said here – at least I thought I did – and that was not enough. It was too liquid-y and I should’ve kept going for longer when it was on the stove. I don’t know if this is because I had low fat milk in the custard. In any case, once I cut it, it went everywhere, like a messy pudding. Keeping it in the freezer helped, but I just wasn’t able to cut slices as shown here. One thing to keep in mind too is that I found the custard too sweet? I think that might just be me but if I make this again, I would cut the sugar amount substantially at least by a 1/3 if not a 1/2.
    3) I used less than 2 cups of heavy cream (added like 2 tbsp of coconut cream – to make it even more coconut-y) and used less toasted coconut flakes. It still worked out well. It didn’t look as pretty as Deb’s though.

  57. Karla

    Given the comments about the crust being scant for a 9-inch pan, could I just use an 8-inch pan? Will make for a thicker filling but I can’t see that being a problem!

  58. rhannah

    I agree with all of Deb’s comment about the crust (scant, prone to cracking, etc). Might up the dough recipe a little to yield more dough or just use Pillsbury or a different from-scratch pie dough recipe. This was my first time making a custard and I had no issues. Used 2% milk but otherwise followed the recipe to a T – stirred til the mixture bubbled and had visibly thickened. Refrigerated overnight and filled the pie in the morning. It was a HUGE hit at my office. This was my last baked good before I changed jobs and everyone loved it – so light and delicious. I’m very proud that I conquered the coconut cream pie! :D

  59. This was incredible. I made it for a party, and it was definitely the favorite dessert. I was nervous making it for friends without having ever tested it out, but everything went smoothly and perfectly with it (the crust didn’t tear, shrink, or droop upon baking it this way at ALL, and I watched the coconut like a hawk). It was utterly delightful, and I’ll be looking for a reason to make it again that doesn’t involve me needing to consume half a pie in one go. Thanks!

  60. Laura W.

    To avoid stressing over the crust shape/construction, I increased the crust recipe by 25% and found that it just fit my 9-inch pie dish with the requisite overhang. Didn’t have to patch it at all, either, after blind-baking, which left me a few scraps to sample. The pie was great! Loved the flavor of the custard, and may consider adding fruit—mango or banana—next time instead of the shredded coconut.

  61. Tone

    Ive had Dahlia’s triple coconut pie bookmarked for YEARS. You finally pushed me to make it. I found the crust to be easy to work with and delicious. The custard was too sweet for me. I’d reduce it by about 3tbs to 1/4 cup. I cooked it for longer than the recipe stated, stirring the whole time and watching for the thickening to occur. It was the perfect consistency.
    I only used a cup of cream because it just seemed like WAY too much. Also, reduced the toasted flakes to about 1.5c. Finally, I didn’t use white chocolate. I’m not a fan. With how sweet the custard was, it would have been overkill.
    Overall, spreading this out over 2 days while 36 wks pregnant (on my birthday!) was perfectly manageable and I can’t believe I waited 4 years ti make this beauty!

  62. dadjmi

    I love how you annotate the recipes with thoughts about burned coconut flakes and the difficulty in measuring bagged coconut. The recipe takes on a dramatic quality because we get to know you as a character struggling with her baking. It’s very adorable and I can see why your site is so popular. (Also, I am making this now for a Labor Day party!)