Coconut Cream Pie

20170418_110650When I think of no-bake pies, coconut cream is hands down my favorite (lemon being a close second). I have fond memories of the sprawling collection of pies my grandparents would serve at every holiday. Whether it be Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter we would always have a banana cream, pumpkin, chocolate ambrosia, mincemeat, and coconut cream pie. The pies would always be ordered from a local buffet called Bishop’s. Unfortunately, Bishop’s has long been closed and I have not had a coconut cream pie quite the same since. When the craving would call there is always a variety in the supermarket freezer section but they are never the same as freshly made.

20170418_110205I recall when I was a pre-teen (about 17 years ago), I attempted to make a coconut cream pie from scratch. I remember the taste being off and I never attempted to make it again since I could always count on the holidays to quench my craving. Since moving away from my hometown and the closure of Bishop’s I decided to make another attempt as an adult and serve this pie for Easter.

20170418_110216I believe my mistake all those years ago was from using coconut extract to flavor the filling. This time I decided to steep coconut in a blend of half-and-half and milk as my base for the filling. I strained out the raw coconut with cheesecloth, resulting in a smooth, flavorful custard that harbors a bit fewer calories and saturated fat. Add a homemade whipped cream topping and you have a dreamy mile-high coconut cream pie worth every second spent in the kitchen!

Coconut Cream Pie


  • 1 frozen (9 in.) Deep-Dish Pie Crust
  • 2 cups 1% Milk
  • 1 cup Half & Half
  • 1½ cups flaked Sweetened Coconut
  • 2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract; divided
  • 2/3 cup plus ¼ cup Sugar; divided
  • 1/3 cup Cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. Sea Salt
  • 4 Large Egg Yolks
  • 2 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • ¼ cup flaked Sweetened Coconut; toasted


  1. Preheat oven according to the pie crust package directions for a chilled/no-bake pie. Bake the pie according to the package directions. Cool crust completely on a wire rack.
  2. Meanwhile, combine milk and half & half in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Add 1½ cups of the sweetened coconut and 1 tsp. of vanilla. Bring milk mixture to a simmer then immediately remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Strain mixture through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a bowl. Gather the edges of the cheesecloth and squeeze over the bowl to release any extra moisture. Discard the coconut solids.
  3. Whisk together 2/3 cup of sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks in a large bowl. Gradually add the milk mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pan and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and add the butter. Stir until smooth. Place the pan in a large bowl filled with ice for 6 minutes, stirring to cool. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour to set.
  4. While the pie chills, prepare the whipped topping. Chill a large metal bowl and beaters of a hand or stand mixer in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Whip the heavy cream in the chilled bowl with a hand or stand mixer until soft peaks form. Add the remaining ¼ cup sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla. Continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Be sure not to over mix! Place in the refrigerator and chill until the pie filling is set.
  5. To assemble the pie, spread the whipped cream topping over the set custard filling. Sprinkle with the toasted coconut flakes just before serving.