The ULTIMATE homemade coconut cream pie! A silky smooth coconut cream filling in an easy, chocolate coated gluten free crust. Topped with a generous dose of homemade whipped cream. This isn't your old-fashioned pie!
Hello friends! How are you holding up these days?
I have really wrestled with what to write and publish in these uncertain and unprecedented times. In all honesty, it feels kind of wrong to be filling your inbox with a bunch of sweet treats. On the other hand, I have been hearing from so many of you that you are finding joy and comfort in being in your kitchens.
Personally, the kitchen is my happy place. When I am baking and creating all my anxieties and stresses seem to fall to the background. Baking (and eating the results) brings happiness to so many. For the sense of keeping myself grounded and feeling somewhat normal I am going to keep creating and sharing with you.
Now onto this ultimate coconut cream pie....
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Coconut. It's one of those controversial ingredients. Some people love it, some people hate it. Me? I definitely fall in the L.O.V.E. it category. I often find there is a third category though; those that love the flavor, but don't care for the texture.
When I originally set out to create this homemade coconut cream pie recipe, it was with that third group in mind. So the coconut pastry cream is full of coconut flavor, but has an absolutely smooth texture. Then I went and paired it with an easy coconut-full crust. Whoops!
That coconut crust though (I'm swooning a little here!) The easiest from scratch pie crust you are ever going to make!!! I've been day-dreaming of all the fillings that can go inside this one. It's a safe bet that this won't be the only time you see this crust on this blog!
what makes this the ultimate coconut cream pie recipe?
- Coconut pie crust, made from scratch with just coconut and butter.
- A thin layer of dark chocolate painted over the crust.
- A silky and completely smooth coconut pastry cream filling.
- A thick and generous dose of homemade whipped cream.
let's make this coconut cream pie!
Start by making the coconut pastry cream. I prefer to do this step first as the pastry cream needs to cool and thicken before adding it to the pie crust.
Coconut milk powder is the secret to getting lots of coconut flavor in the pastry cream while keeping the super smooth texture. My local market carries coconut milk powder in the bulk section, which isn't really an option right now. I've also gotten it from Sprouts Farmers Market in the baking section and I ordered the bag you see pictured above from Amazon. I use coconut milk powder in chocolate coconut bites, strawberry coconut chocolate bars and coconut Swiss meringue buttercream.
Whisk the sugar, coconut milk powder, cornstarch, all-purpose flour and salt in a medium to large sauce pan until well combined. Then whisk in the egg yolks, milk and coconut milk. Bring to a low boil over medium heat, stirring frequently, this takes about 8-10 minutes.
Once at a low boil, continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes until the pastry cream is thick and holds a line when you run a spatula through the middle (shown in the middle photo above). Another way to check the pastry cream is to drizzle it over the top of the mixture and see if the pattern stays visible for 5-10 seconds.
Pour the warm pastry cream into a bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream (to prevent a skin from forming). Chill in the refrigerator while you make the coconut crust.
how to make an all coconut crust
Seriously, this is the easiest pie crust you will ever make! Start with ¼ cup of room temperature butter, cut in small chunks, and 12 ounces of sweetened shredded coconut.
Next, use your clean fingers to work the butter into the coconut until the butter is well distributed throughout the coconut. Then press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Do your best to keep the crust in an even layer.
Bake the crust at 350°F for around 15 minutes, until the crust has lightly browned. Cover the edges with pie shields or aluminum foil if the edges are browning faster than the bottom. Allow the crust to cool before coating with melted chocolate (this step is optional, but highly recommended). Also let the chocolate harden before adding the coconut pastry cream. (You can add the chocolate coated crust to the refrigerator to speed this process if necessary.)
Isn't this the prettiest pie pan from Jefferson Street Ceramics? You can buy it online here.
how to make homemade whipped cream
A generous dose of homemade whipped cream is a necessity on coconut cream pie! A hand-held mixer or stand mixer with the whisk attachment are the quickest ways to whip the cream. You can also make homemade whipped cream with a whisk, but it definitely takes some good arm strength. If making the whipped cream with a whisk, I find it helpful to chill the bowl and whisk before starting.
Use heavy whipping cream and beat on medium-high for about 4 minutes, until stiff peaks form. You can scoop the whipped cream on top or pipe it like I did. I used a Wilton 1M to pipe the whipped cream rosettes and topped with toasted coconut and shaved chocolate.
What if I like the flavor of coconut, but not the texture?
Okay, so back to the original idea for this recipe. If an all coconut pie crust has you running for the hills, you can use my perfect all butter pie crust in it's place. Or use a pre-made crust if that's more your speed! I have notes in the recipe card on how to blind bake a traditional crust or follow the instructions on the pre-made crust you buy. Skip garnishing the whipped cream with toasted coconut as well.
can I make coconut cream pie ahead of time?
Yes. The coconut pastry cream and coconut crust can both be prepared a day ahead. Just store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use. I prefer to make the homemade whipped cream just before assembling the pie.
You can serve the pie immediately or chill it (uncovered) for a few hours prior to serving.
While this isn't your old-fashioned coconut cream pie, it is hands down my family's favorite. If you can get your hands on the ingredients, I highly recommend making it for your Easter celebration.
In the meantime, please know I am staying home, baking up a storm and praying for all of you. Be well my friends! xoxo
more coconut recipes to try
- Coconut Jam Thumbprint Cookies
- Coconut Pecan Tart
- Perfect Coconut Cake
- Strawberry Coconut Chocolate Bars
- Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
To pin this recipe, you can use the button on the recipe card or the share buttons on the side or bottom of the page. Remember to snap a picture and tag me @twosugarbugs on Instagram if you make this ultimate homemade coconut cream pie! It warms my heart to see you bring these recipes to life! Thank you for being here and happy baking!
Coconut Pastry Cream
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar
- ⅓ cup coconut milk powder
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ salt
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 ½ cups milk
- 1 13.5 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in small chunks
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 12 ounces sweetened flaked coconut (plus more for garnish, if desired)
- ¼ cup butter, room temperature, cut in small chunks
- 2 ounces dark chocolate (can be skipped, if preferred)
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons granulated OR powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- For the coconut pastry cream: Whisk the sugar, coconut milk powder, cornstarch, all-purpose flour and salt in a medium to large sauce pan until well combined. Then whisk in the egg yolks, milk and coconut milk. Bring to a low boil over medium heat, stirring frequently, this takes about 8-10 minutes. Once at a low boil, continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes until the pastry cream is thick and holds a line when you run a spatula through the middle. (See above photo).
- Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla. Pour into a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap pressed on the surface of the coconut pastry cream and chill in the refrigerator until cool, approximately 2 hours.
- While the coconut pastry cream is cooling, make the coconut crust.
- For the coconut crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Place 12 ounces of sweetened flaked coconut in a medium bowl and work in the ¼ cup butter with your fingers until the butter is well distributed throughout the mixture. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan.
- Bake the crust for about 15 minutes until the crust has lightly browned. Cover the edges with pie shields if the edges are browning faster than the bottom. Allow the crust to cool before coating with chocolate.
- Melt 2 ounces of chocolate and use a pastry brush to coat the bottom and sides of the crust with the chocolate. Allow to harden before adding the filling.
- Spoon the cool or chilled coconut pastry cream into the coconut crust.
- For the whipped cream: Using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream and sugar on medium-high until stiff peaks form, about 4 minutes. Pipe or spread the whipped cream on top. I used a Wilton 1M. Garnish with toasted coconut and shaved chocolate if desired.
- Serve immediately or chill uncovered until serving.
The coconut pastry cream can be made up to a day ahead. Store covered in the refrigerator.
Use full fat unsweetened coconut milk. Canned coconut milk is a cooking ingredient and is usually found near the Thai food products in the grocery store.
The crust can be made and coated with chocolate up to a day ahead of time. Store covered in the refrigerator.
If you prefer no texture in your coconut cream pie, use my Perfect All Butter Pie Crust or a store bought crust. To blind bake; once the crust is in your pie plate, freeze for 30 minutes. Then line the crust with aluminum foil and pie weights and bake at 350°F for about 60 minutes, until the crust is fully baked. Cover the edges partway through baking if they are browning too quickly.
To toast the coconut garnish; place coconut on a baking sheet and bake in a 300°F oven for 5-8 minutes or until browned to your liking.
Cover leftovers and store in the refrigerator for up to five days.