Coconut Cream Pie — Basic

A pie crust from made from scratch is a beautiful thing, and when done properly it beats store bought crusts hands down. The problem with homemade pie crust is that making it is so intimidating people shy away from making pie altogether. Or maybe it’s just people from a different generation. Most of my friends wouldn’t think twice about buying a roll & bake crust, but there are people my mom’s age to who like to bake, but have told me they just can’t make a good crust and let someone else do the pies. This is sad, because although there is an art to making good crust, not everyone judges pie by the crust but rather what’s in it. So make a pie and don’t worry about the crust unless you feel like worrying about the crust. Buy a crust and have fun!

This recipe is a combination of multiple recipes. In this case, I did make the crust from scratch and used a crust recipe from Greg Patent. The filling is adapted from Southern Living. It’s a very basic coconut cream pie, and since it’s my first, I expect it will be my yardstick as to how all coconut cream pies are measured.

Basic Coconut Cream Pie
Basic Coconut Cream Pie

1 9 inch deep dish baked pie crust (store-bought or recipe below)

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt (rounded)
3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
3 cups milk
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut plus an extra 1/2 cup for toasting

1 cup heavy cream
2-3 tablespoons powdered sugar
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Have your baked pie crust ready. Prepare filling.

In a heavy non-reactive saucepan, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the milk. Whisk the egg yolk mixture into the cornstarch mixture.

Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook until mixture begins to boil, whisking often. When mixture boils, boil and whisk constantly for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter, vanilla and coconut.
Immediately pour the filling into the baked pie crust, press a piece of waxed paper or plastic wrap onto the surface and let cool for 20 minutes at room temperature. Place in refrigerator to chill for 3 hours or more. At some point, toast the extra coconut (see note at bottom)

When the pie has chilled, prepare whipped cream topping.In a large bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla beat until peaks are stiff. Spread over top of pie. Sprinkle with toasted, cooled coconut.

To toast coconut, lay it on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for about 5 minutes or until edges turn brown. Stir every 2 minutes or so.

Crust recipe:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cake flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut-up
1/4 cup ice water
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

In bowl of food processor, combine flour, cake flour and salt. Pulse to mix.
In a separate bowl, stir together ice water, egg yolk and vinegar.

Pulse flour mixture four or five times or until mixture appears chunky. Pour the egg yolk mixture in a thin stream through the feed tube, pulsing constantly, until mixture forms several large chunks and almost gathers into a ball.

Spread a large sheet of plastic wrap on the counter. Empty mixture onto the plastic wrap and press into a 1 inch thick disc. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for one hour.

Unwrap the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll dough into a 12 inch circle. Fold the circle in half, then fold in half again, and place the point in the center of a 9 inch Pyrex pie plate. Carefully unfold the dough and fit it into the pan by nudging it gently into the pan without stretching it. Trim the excess pastry to a ½ inch overhang. Fold the edge back under itself toward the side of the pan, and pinch the double thickness to make a high-standing rim. Flute it by pinching it at ½ inch intervals to make a zigzag pattern. Chill the lined pie plate for another hour.

Adjust oven rack to center position. Preheat to 400 degrees F.

Place a large square of foil (Release foil is great for this) over unbaked pie crust and press gently over the bottom and sides. Fill the shell with dried beans or set pie weights in center. Bake for 20 minutes, until the edges of the pastry just begin to brown. Remove from the oven and carefully lift out the foil and weights. Prick the bottom of the pastry evenly with a fork, return to the oven and continue baking until golden brown and cooked through – 10 to 15 minutes more. Cool completely before filling.

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  1. says

    I could never make a decent pie crust til i used a recipe like the one you posted. i still have major pie issues, but that’s for my blog, not yours LOL

  2. says

    The recipe above always works very well for me. It isn’t the easiest dough to handle (though it’s not terrible), but the resulting crust is always flakey and light without being greasy.

    Last night I got an email recommending Dorie Greenspan’s crust. I’m going to definitely give that one a try.

  3. says

    Anna, that is a beautiful pie. My most favorite pie is coconut. I like the cream topping better than meringue too. The crust looks awesome — good job!

  4. Debbi says

    I made this pie this afternoon and just came home from seeing Ratatouille with the kids and had the coconut creme pie for dessert. It is very good. If there is such thing as coconut extract, I think that I would use some of that and less real coconut as it was very chewy with coconut. I used the Pillsbury roll out crust and it turned out fine. I think that I will use a graham cracker crust if I make it again. My husbands favorite is coconut creme he likes it so I’ll most likely be making it again.

  5. Debbi says

    Ok, the coconut chewiness wasn’t as bad the next day. In fact, this tasted way, way better the next day (as many desserts do). I changed my mind. I wouldn’t change a thing. Super delicious!

  6. Total Roef says


    My girlfriend has been asking me for years, but I finally could give her a good creampie! The filling turned out realy good!

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