C is for coconut: easy coconut cream pie

CoconutCreamPie

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. shoshoneethorpe

    “B” is for berry pie as in my favorite, strawberry pie!
    As for the coconut cream pie, when I saw the name I thought it would be made with coconut milk or cream. I thought finally a creamy pie that I can actually eat as I’m extremely lactose intolerant. I was wrong tho. Could I substitute coconut products for the milk ingredients? Could you consider a few recipes that aren’t so heavily milk based or give substitution ideas? It would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for your many great recipes and excellent step by step instructions.
    Hi Shoshonee,
    I think you could use coconut milk easily in this pie. The filling won’t get as thick without the heavy cream but if you use a little gelatin that should help. I’ll definitely add more lactose friendly recipes to our wish list. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  2. Elaine

    C is for Chicken Pot Pie. I thought I’d throw a savory pie out there. :-)

    I’m new to this site and received my first King Arthur catalog a few days ago. Everything looks so wonderful! I have had lots of fun checking out some of the recipes and blog entries here and feel like I’ve only scratched the surface. Thanks for such a great baking resource!

    Reply
  3. juthurst

    C is for Chocolate Chess Pie or Chocolate Cream Pie
    D is for Dutch Apple Pie
    I’m told somewhere there is an Elvis pie (peanut butter banana perhaps?) or ESKIMO pie- a childhood favorite ;)
    F is for Fried pies or Fudge pie
    G is for Gooseberry pie or Grasshopper pie
    H is for … maybe Huckleberry pie?
    I is for I can’t think of any more…lol
    J is for just gotta eat more pies. ;) ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  4. bevnap

    Thank you for including substitutions! I love KAF special ingredients (and they do make a difference) but sometimes you just can’t wait! Great looking pie! One of my hubbies favorites!

    Reply
  5. Mary

    Apple
    Banana Cream
    Coconut Cream
    Derby Pie
    Egg Custard Pie
    Fish Pie – sounds weird, but yes – a dinner pie
    Gelato & Biscotti Freezer Pie
    Heavenly Hash
    Ice Cream Pie
    Jello Cream Pie
    Kirsch & Chocolate Pie
    Lemon Meringue Pie
    Mincemeat Pie
    NutterButter Peanut Butter Pie
    Orange Chiffon Refrigerator Pie
    Pineapple Lemonade Frozen Pie
    Quince Paste and Cream cheese Pie
    Raisin Pie
    Strawberry Crumb Pie
    Turtle Topper Pie
    Upside-down Carmel Crunch Pie
    Velvet Chocolate Cream Pie
    Walnut Crumble Pie
    X-actly what kind of pie begins with “X”?!!!
    Yam Pie (well… sweet potato pie, for all practical purposes)
    Zabaglione & Strawberry Pie
    SWEEEEEET, and savory, and X-actly perfect. ;) ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  6. mom244evermom

    I support KAF as much as I can. I love your company, your blog, your helpline, your products. Thank you so much. I have had to choose not to make something right away because I didn’t have an ingredient. Once again, you prove how awesome you are.

    Reply
  7. estrellas

    Mmmmmm, sounds deeee-lish! This recipe would be an awesome candidate for us Gluten-Free’ers, as flour doesn’t show up in the ingredient list :-) There are a couple of brands of GF graham crackers available if you know where to look.

    Reply
  8. cheryl stone

    Apple
    Blueberry
    Coconut
    Derby
    Eggnog
    Fudge
    Grape
    Hamburger
    Ice Cream
    Jelly
    Key Lime
    Lemon Meringue
    Mississippi Mud
    Nutty Caramel
    Oreo Cream
    Pumpkin
    Quiche Lorraine
    Razzleberry
    Shepherd’s Pie
    Turkey Pot Pie
    Upside Down Chili Pie
    Vanilla Cream
    White Chocolate Peppermint
    X marks the spot pies
    Yogurt Pie
    Zucchini

    Reply
  9. gaelmm

    B is for Blueberry – the u-picks are at their peak right now in central Florida. I have at least four fields within less than three miles of me. The fresher the better. I know where I’ll be going
    in a few minutes. Better pick enough for several pies.
    Color me green with jealousy! The blueberry bushes in our back yard just have buds, no berries yet. Have fun!
    ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  10. gypsybaker

    “C” is also for Cherry Pie…wow, do I love a tart yet sweet cherry pie!!! Do you have a recipe using your cherry juice product? Yes, it’s frustrating if recipes call for a few unique to KAF products, but it’s also fun to see how you use them & after all, you are in biz to sell your quality items!! Thanks for the blog!
    We have a few recipes on our website. Check out this link:
    http://search.kingarthurflour.com/search.jsp?N=0&rt=r&Ntt=cherry+concentrate&x=0&y=0
    ~Amy

    I’m working on a tart cherry ice cream using the cherry concentrate too, due out in the middle of June, so stay tuned. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  11. Bridgid

    ok, here were my rules: I had to have made or liked the pie & it had to be dessert. Here goes:
    A: Apple
    B: Blueberry, Butterscotch pudding
    C: Cherry, Coconut, Chocolate Pecan, Chocolate silk
    D: Dutch Apple
    E: Easy Pistachio Pudding Pie
    F: Frozen lemonaid
    G: Grasshopper
    H: Heath bar mousse
    I: Ice cream Pie
    J: Juicy apple caramel
    K: Key lime, Kentuckt Derby
    L: Lemon Meringue, Linzertorte
    M: Margarita
    N: New York Cheesecake
    O: Orange Creamsicle Cheesecake
    P: Pecan, Pumpkin
    Q: Quick chocolate cream
    R: Raisin
    S: Shoofly, Sweet Potato
    T: Tarte Tatin
    U: Unbelievable Cramberry Apple
    V: Vermont Apple (cheddar crust)
    W: Walnut with chocolate and coconut
    X: Xtraorindary Peanut Butter
    Y: Yummy Pina Colada
    Z: Zesty Lemon Chiffon
    TOTALLY AWESOME!!!!! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  12. celaco

    C is for cherry pie – one of my favorites!

    Thank you so much for linking to the pastry cream recipe – I try to not used processed foods in my cooking, so making pastry cream for this pie is exactly what I will be doing. You guys are awesome! :)

    Reply
  13. KAPP

    Mary Jane, I tried to come up with a complete list…but it was difficult! here is what I have…

    Apple pie
    Banana cream pie
    Cherry pie
    Double Crusted pie
    Enchilada pie
    Fried pies
    Grasshopper pie
    Homemade pie
    Icebox
    Jam pie
    Key lime
    Lemon
    Mincemeat
    National Pie Day-January 23
    Orange dream pie (Creamsicle pie)
    Peach melba pie
    Quince pie
    ricotta pie
    spanakopita
    tomato pie
    unicorn pie
    vegetable pot pie
    whoppie pies
    xtra piece of pie :)
    (frozen) yogurt pie
    Zebra pie
    Unicorn and xtra piece of pie is BRILLIANT! Great way to remember savory with spanikopita too. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  14. milkwithknives

    C for Caramel Pie! Basically a giant blob of dulce de leche in a crust. Mmmm.

    Also, I’ve never considered making a coconut cream pie before because for some reason I thought it was really hard or fussy or something. But this looks easy and WONDERFUL. Definitely on the list for this summer. Thanks!

    Reply
  15. martharusso

    For Bridgid: loved your list but Cheesecake is not really pie!
    Well, I said I only met one pie I didn’t like, but I’ve never met a cheesecake I didn’t like, so we’ll give them honorary pie status today. ;) ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  16. Teresa

    What a beautiful pie! Thanks for making the effort to make the recipe accessible with alternatives to KA products. If I were to make pastry cream from scratch, how much of it should be used in the recipe? Thanks!
    Depending on how full you want to fill your crust, I’d say you’ll use at least 3 cups. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  17. jlwheaton

    R—my absolute favorite pie Rhubarb. My grandmother made a fabulous raisin pie but Rhubarb is tops for me ever since my first job while in high school …working in a pie shop and a customer told me I had to try it!

    Reply
  18. eleyana

    This looks super completely and totally awesome! And thanks, we really do appreciate having the options for ingredients – in my case I have no choice but to make things the hard way because my daughter is allergic to the two most common additives in the specialty stuff – soy and corn derivatives like dextrose. Otherwise I’d be all over them!

    And here’s my attempt at alphabet pie. (There are so many yummy options, it’s impossible to include them all.)

    Apple, Bumbleberry (one of my favorites, but can’t leave out Black bottom pie), Cherry, Derby pie, Eggnog chiffon (YUM), Flan custard pie, Grasshopper pie, Hazelnut maple pie/tart, Ice cream pie (I go for peppermint), Jello pie (color tailored for the occasion), Key lime pie, Lemon chiffon pie (another favorite), Marionberry pie, Nesselrode pie (which you can’t get anymore), Orange meringue pie (good for those who don’t like it so tart as lemon), Pumpkin and Pecan pies, Quebec sugar pie (maple version), Raisin pie, Strawberry chiffon and Shaker lemon pies (can’t decide which is better), Transparent pie, Upside down pie (gotta be apple for me), Vinegar pie, Walnut pie (I don’t suppose whoopie pies count?), well I’m stumped on ‘X’ unless I change languages or use a cheat word; Yam pie (a sweet potato by any other name would taste as creamy), Zucchini pie (tastes just like apple)!
    Hi Eleyana,
    Tell me more about Transparent Pie, I’ve never heard of it.? ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  19. ericrx

    If I make the Pastry Cream using the KAF Recipe that you linked to (which yields 5 cups) how much of it do I need to use for the pie?
    Depending on how full you want to fill your crust, I’d say you’ll use at least 3 cups. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  20. sugarbuzz

    Xylocarp cream pie… a xylocarp is a fruit with a woody outer shell, such as a coconut!
    Awesome! I love learning new things, and I’m going to work this into some conversions over the weekend to show off my new smarts. :) ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  21. lucyprice

    I just want to say a huge THANK YOU!!! Perfect timing. I have been trying to copy the pie made at Marie Callendar’s restaurant here in San Diego, but will make yours right away. Just love the combo with the TOASTED coconut and the ease of a graham crust. Thank you for all the wonderful blogs. It takes so long to make pastry cream from scratch for those of us who work long days at jobs we find difficult. Can I please open a King Arthur Store and classroom in San Diego?
    Hope you have a wonderful weekend and rollicking Friday the 13th.
    Glad we could help out, Lucy. Quick and easy sometimes fits the bill just beautifully. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  22. DrewsLita

    “D” Divine Dream Pie! When I was small my grandmother would make it for me because I thought it was soooo coool to make a recipe off a box! I have not had that in 30 years. One day I saw it in the store and bought a box. Reminds me that it is still in the pantry!
    Have a Divine time making it. ;) ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  23. Bridgid

    Martha: I consider cheesecake a pie because it has a crust & a filling. Glad you liked my list, even with its typos. How about
    N: No-bake butterscotch
    O: Orange Chiffon

    Reply
  24. eleyana

    Transparent pie is a very rich, very sweet southern dessert that is kind of a cross between a custard and a pecan pie filling without the nuts. Butter, sugar, eggs, a little cream and flour. Some people add a touch of vinegar or lemon juice to cut the sweetness and some put a brown sugar meringue on top. (I happen to LOVE brown sugar meringue!) Depending on the family, the sugar ranges from white to brown to molasses or maple and sometimes the cream is left out. Highly dependent on family preference and tradition. But sinfully rich and good. ;)
    I’m all for sinful, so this goes on my list. Thanks for filling me in. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  25. "John VN"

    It went together as advertised. It took me a bit longer as I had to toast the coconut. It is definitely a wonderful creamy pie. Love it Thanks my waist line will not be the same.

    Reply
  26. mkasten

    I wanted to chime in with a couple of “P” pies. The Sunglow restaurant in Southern Utah is famous for their unusual pies. They serve Pickle Pie (tastes like tart apple) and Pinto Bean Pie (tastes, um, good). The Pickle Pie was my personal favorite. Yes, it really is made with pickles and no, they won’t give out the recipe! ;-)
    I’ll have to make your Coconut Cream Pie soon since it’s my oldest son’s favorite kind. I have everything except the unsweetened coconut. Drat! Thanks for the recipe and the blog!

    Reply
  27. "Linda S"

    MMMMM….you always manage to keep our mouths watering! Pretty soon I’ll have to put a plastic cover over my keyboard!

    Also want to chime in my thanks for your decision to include alternative ingredients….just goes to show how great the KAF folks are to listen to us!

    I sometimes use Cream of Coconut in cake recipes and have some leftover, usually about 1/2 to 3/4 of a cup. Is there a way I can use this in pastry cream? If so, how would I add this?

    Thanks as always for all your wonderful products and blogs!

    You may use the surplus cream of coconut to replace part of the milk amount. I suggest beginning with a 25% replacement to see how the fat content of the cream of coconut effects the final pastry cream. Give it a try. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  28. cwcdesign

    G is for Girdle Buster Pie!

    I’m hoping to make this for Saturday night with vanilla pudding & store bought graham crackers. Thanks for the substitutions :-)

    Reply
  29. spitzmaus

    Must add two of favorite seasonal pies to the list:

    O is for olallieberry. The berries will be available at our favorite U-pick ranch mid-June through July. Sooo good.

    P is for persimmon. An old-fashioned persimmon pie has become a Thanksgiving tradition in our family, and folks are always intrigued when it makes an appearance at the dessert table.

    Reply
  30. cartvl219

    Just a word of caution. Use fresh graham crackers or purchased GC crumbs. Last year my niece made her mother’s cheesecake and used old purchased crumbs. The taste was really off – ruined everything. And when she confessed that she’d used old crumbs that were in the pantry it explained the weird taste. A big disappointment because that’s the best cheesecake I have ever had or made. I think it was a BH&G recipe.
    Carolyn

    Reply
  31. juliethrelfall

    I’ve never heard of Derby Pie (ok, Yankee here…) so I looked it up. Sounds wonderful. Traditionally chocolate, pecan and bourbon? I saw several recipes but this one seems to be the original, according to Wikipedia. Anyone have any tips to share before I give it a go? Thanks!

    Hi Julie, It looks like the link did not come through. Generally you will follow the same technique and method as for Pecan Pie. You’ll want to pay special attention that the pie does not over bake and souffle. An aluminum foil tent may be helpful towards the end of baking to prevent over browning. Frank @ KAF.

    Julie, I know that the “original” Derby Pie recipe is unavailable to the public; the bakery that makes these pies for the Derby has never been willing to share it, and is quite alert to those trying to pass off their “Derby Pie” as the “original.” Our Chocolate Chunk Pecan Pie doesn’t claim to be Derby… but add a splash of your favorite liquor, and it’s a worthy clone. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  32. cwcdesign

    My coconut loving husband thought this was great! One question, though. When you use the ClearJel in the whipped cream, is there a way to add it so it doesn’t clump?
    I am happy he enjoyed the pie! Follow these instructions to avoid clumping. Chill the heavy cream. Mix the clear jel with the sugar and sprinkle over chilled cream, beat cream as usual. Elisabeth

    Reply
  33. 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
  34. 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
  35. 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
  36. 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
  37. 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

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