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Coconut Cream Pie

by on December 9, 2009 · 24 comments

Yesterday I read about a coconut pie served at a New Jersey restaurant called The Claremont Diner. It was a favorite of the cookbook author Richard Sax, who says in his book “Classic Home Desserts” that the Claremont’s pies were “showy”, but also made from scratch and with top quality ingredients. After looking over the recipe posted in Sax’s book (it’s also posted on The Hungry Browser), I ran to the store, bought all the ingredients and baked it that afternoon.

Slice of Coconut Cream Pie

We love just about all coconut cream pies, but this one was special in that it was similar to a Bavarian Cream. That is, it had just enough gelatin to make stiff enough to hold its shape, while still being light and creamy. In the original recipe, Richard Sax includes a note saying the diner put a topping of whipped cream over the pie and gives alternate directions should you wish to do that as well. I did, so I went ahead and re-wrote the recipe with the added whipped cream. Due to time constraints and not wanting to mess up more dishes, I used a store-bought pie crust. The filling was so good it didn’t matter much, but next time I’ll take the time to bake my own crust. At any rate, it’s a great pie and much lighter than a lot of other coconut pies. It’s not too “coconutty” either. It’s more like a vanilla cream pie with coconut on it.



Coconut Cream Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
One of my favorite coconut cream pie recipes
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 envelope (about 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 large whole egg
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon vanilla pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, well chilled
  • 4 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 1/2 ounces sweetened shredded coconut (about 1 1/2 cups), toasted**
  • 1 baked pie shell
  1. Place 1/2 cup cold milk in a mixing bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin, stirring once or twice to moisten. Set aside to soften for about 5 minutes.
  2. Bring the remaining 2 1/2 cups milk nearly to nearly a boil in a heavy non-reactive saucepan over medium heat.
  3. When the gelatin is soft, add the sugar, cornstarch, egg and egg yolks and whisk until very well blended. Gradually whisk a little of the hot milk into the gelatin mixture; repeat this process once or twice using about 3/4 cup of the hot milk total. Pour the warmed gelatin mixture into the saucepan with the hot milk and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking. Boil, whisking constantly, for about 2 minutes. Strain the pastry cream into a clean bowl; whisk in the butter and vanilla until smooth. Place a sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream and refrigerate.
  4. Whip the 1 ½ cups cream until nearly stiff. Stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Gently fold a little over half of it into the pastry cream.
  5. Sprinkle a big handful of the coconut in the bottom of the baked pie shell. Pour the filling into the cooled baked pie shell, mounding the filling in the center. Chill for about 30 minutes. Spread reserved whipped cream over Bavarian cream and sprinkle top with remaining toasted coconut. Chill for a few hours or until set.
** To toast coconut, spread coconut on a foil or parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently to keep it from burning.



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Published on December 9, 2009

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica @ How Sweet It Is December 9, 2009 at 2:20 pm

This is my ALL time favorite pie!

Cheryl December 9, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Looks and I’m sure tastes amazing!

Louise December 9, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Now I feel a need for coconut. I love this pie too, but I really love Coconut Custard Pie. The diner pies in New Jersey are usually 6″ high and have their own revolving case. The late Richard Sax had some fantastic recipes. “The Cookie Lover’s Cookie Book” from 1986 is worth searching for in used books if only for the recipe for Date Chewies with Sour Cream.

Emily December 9, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Look at that! That pie looks perfect! It’s huge. Coconut cream pie is my favorite kind.

Anna December 9, 2009 at 3:35 pm

I want to try it again with a graham cracker crust.

Natalie December 9, 2009 at 4:09 pm

oh this surely looks delicious. I go mad for coconut :)

Sue December 9, 2009 at 5:31 pm

My husband would be thrilled if I made this pie for him. He loves coconut cream and banana cream and the poor man never gets either one!

Lorie December 9, 2009 at 5:50 pm

This looks delicious and may be just what I’m looking for. It’s really thick, too, and I like that.

Patti December 9, 2009 at 6:20 pm

Did I miss something? I’m trying to figure out why you put ** after “toasted.” I’m probably just overlooking it, but…?
I’ve got to try this pie soon! I love coconut – anything and everything!

Missy December 9, 2009 at 6:40 pm

Oh, yum. Can you hear my stomach growling?

Randi December 9, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Once again, I gotta sing the praises of CI’s CCpie, its amazing.

Mimi December 9, 2009 at 11:22 pm

Coconut pie is my son’s favorite he would be in hog heaven if I made this for him.

yael December 9, 2009 at 11:56 pm

Yum, that looks luscious!

Lisa Ernst December 10, 2009 at 6:26 am

This looks good enough to dig into, right on the screen. LOL I have a spare pie crust in the freezer and have been toying with making a coconut cream pie with it. I think your photo and recipe seals the deal. However, I will challenge myself to make it vegan. (I’m not vegan, but love desserts so much that I’m always seeking ways to make them a bit healthier while not sacrificing flavor. Wish me luck.

dawn December 10, 2009 at 10:11 am

coconut & banana cream pie, if done right are my downfall–I will eat the whole thing. I think your idea of using a graham cracker crust is perfect.

Chris Mower December 10, 2009 at 10:54 am

Mmmmm! I’m going to have to make this one for my pops. After cherry pie, coconut cream is his 2nd favorite.

Judy December 11, 2009 at 8:58 am

This really looks interesting, and I’m putting it on my baking list. This is much easier than the coconut pie I’ve always made from fresh coconut. Just opening those things is a chore!

Blake December 11, 2009 at 5:34 pm

That is the most gorgeous pie! I’m drooling.

Debbi December 11, 2009 at 7:08 pm

My husband loves coconut cream pie. I’m for sure going to have to make this for him. Thanks for another great recipe!

Bev December 11, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Patti, if you scroll down to the end of the recipe/instructions, you will see the two
**. Anna explains how to toast coconut.

kitty62 December 18, 2009 at 10:43 am

Made this yesterday and yes, ……it is the best!!!! Try it …you will love it.

kitty62 December 28, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Have to make just one more comment about this recipe……Since my last comment, i have had a few more pieces of coconut cream pie made by other people and im glad to report…..mine is still the best. Make this recipe and you will be glad you did, others just dont come close. Enjoy!

Laura December 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm

Yum! I made this for Christmas, and it was a hit. Thanks so much! : )

Gail Sherman April 7, 2012 at 4:10 am

I am from NJ and am so excited to find the original recipe from the Claremont Diner for coconut cream pie. I can’t wait to try it. I dream of the wonderful pies and food at the Claremont. Those kinds of places just don’t exist anymore. Great memories, thanks.

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