Unusual recipes

Our site's Best Coconut Cream Pie

Our site's Best Coconut Cream Pie

Think of this like a Samoa cookie in pie form. It's perfect with whipped cream on top, but if you want to use up the extra egg whites, make a marshmallow topping. This is part of Our site's Best, a collection of our essential recipes.


Coconut Graham Crust

  • 1¼ cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut
  • 4 ounces graham crackers (about 7), lightly crushed
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled

Coconut Caramel

  • 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, melted

Coconut Custard and Assembly

  • 3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, room temperature
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 13.5-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk, shaken
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Toasted coconut flakes (for serving)

Special Equipment

  • A 9-inch deep pie dish; a candy thermometer

Recipe Preparation

Coconut Graham Crust

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Arrange coconut in a thin, even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake, stirring halfway through, until golden brown, 5–8 minutes; let cool. Set aside ½ cup toasted coconut for the coconut caramel.

  • Pulse graham crackers, sugar, salt, and remaining ¾ cup toasted coconut in a food processor until crackers are coarsely ground. With the motor running, stream in butter, followed by yolk. Do not overprocess; you should have fine crumbs that are the texture of wet sand.

  • Transfer mixture to pie dish and press firmly and evenly up sides and across the bottom. Place pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until crust is set and edges are brown, 12–18 minutes. Let cool.

  • Do Ahead: Crust can be baked 1 day ahead. Let cool, wrap in plastic, and store at room temperature, or freeze up to 2 weeks.

Coconut Caramel

  • Sprinkle a thin, even layer of sugar into a small heavy saucepan. Cook, undisturbed, over medium heat until mostly melted, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle another layer of sugar over and cook, stirring to incorporate granular sugar into melted sugar with a heatproof spatula, until melted, another minute or so. Repeat until you’ve used all sugar. Continue to cook, swirling saucepan (do not stir), until caramel is dark amber, about 30 seconds longer. Remove from heat and carefully pour in cream, stirring to combine (caramel will sputter and seize up, but don’t worry).

  • Return saucepan to low heat and cook, stirring, until any hardened bits of caramel are dissolved. Stir in oil until mixture is smooth, then fold in salt and reserved ½ cup toasted coconut. Let caramel cool in pan, then scrape into cooled crust and use an offset spatula to spread in an even layer. Cover with plastic and chill.

  • Do Ahead: Caramel can be made 4 days ahead. Transfer to an airtight container and chill. Rewarm over low heat before pouring into pie crust.

Coconut Custard and Assembly

  • Place oil in a medium bowl and set a fine-mesh sieve over top; set aside. Scrape vanilla seeds into a heavy medium saucepan. Add vanilla pod and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until coconut milk is reduced to about 1 cup, 10–15 minutes. Add half-and-half and bring to a gentle simmer.

  • Meanwhile, briskly whisk egg, yolks, cornstarch, salt, and ½ cup sugar in another medium bowl until pale and thick, about 1 minute. Whisking constantly, slowly pour about ½ cup hot milk mixture into egg mixture. Go back to whisking milk mixture in saucepan, then slowly pour tempered egg mixture into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until foam has subsided and custard holds the marks of the whisk, about 2 minutes.

  • Immediately scrape custard into sieve and use a spatula to press mixture into bowl with oil; pluck out vanilla pod. Whisk strained custard until oil is incorporated and mixture is glossy and smooth.

  • Set bowl inside another large bowl of ice water. Whisk occasionally until custard is cool, about 3 minutes. Scrape custard into chilled pie crust and smooth top. Press a piece of plastic directly onto surface of custard to prevent a skin from forming, and chill until set, at least 3 hours.

  • Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Whisk in remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar.

  • Remove plastic from surface of pie and dollop cream over set custard. Top with coconut flakes.

  • Do Ahead: Pie can be filled with custard 1 day ahead. Wrap in plastic and chill. Top with whipped cream and toasted coconut just before serving.

Related Video

Our site's Best Coconut Cream Pie

Reviews SectionAmazing. I added a layer of coconut chocolate ganache on top of the caramel (recipe from Epicurious).AnonymousRichmond, Virginia07/05/20This is literally the best pie I've ever had. I made this for my family and they won't stop raving about it! The only change I made to the recipe is that I used brown butter for the pie crust, but I don't think it made much of a difference.This recipe is BOMB. And I would like to address some of the older comments about people failing at making the caramel. I had the same issues, and I tried 3 different times. The last time worked well all because I had a heavy bottom pot that held more heat and allowed the cream to incorporate into the caramel. It has to stay warm! Or it will turn to hard candy caramel and REALLY seize up!AnonymousLas Vegas11/28/19I never liked coconut cream pie until this recipe. I love coconut but felt most coconut cream pies were bland with little coconut flavor. I love how this recipe packs coconut into everything from the crust to the caramel to the filling. After reading the reviews, I did add a teaspoon of coconut extract to the filling which I thought was a welcome addition. Every time I’ve made it, I’ve found the coconut toasts fairly quickly (around 4 minutes). I initially burnt a few batches of coconut flakes. The crust was also on the lower end of the 12-18 for me - would just keep a close eye out. This is a fairly involved recipe and fairly time consuming. I think it’s best to make it a day ahead and keep in the fridge overnight. Best to give the filling plenty of time to set. I have made this recipe multiple times and will keep it as a standby!i love Claire's Coconut Cream Pie recipe so much, i pinned it twice! i'd add more coconut to both crust and custard, but i love the simple whipped cream topping. less sweet and more creamy than the meringue i thought she was going to make, what with all those egg whites just sitting around! Claire -- you are a baking genius! -- so much knowledge and experience; just a great teacher! (psst -- whenever there are leftover egg whites, ... MERINGUE COOKIES!)hollis5Vero Beach, FL02/23/19Yum! This was simply amazing! Everyone who ate it said it was the best coconut pie they've ever had. I personally don't like coconut cream pie, but I loved this. Just a couple things I would mention. First I would beat the egg yolk then stream it into the food processor. Next the caramel. Like the recipe says it will seize up, don't worry just keep stirring. I wouldn't serve this straight from the fridge or the caramel might be a bit chewy. Just set it out for an hour or so and it's wonderful.The pie was delish! My complain would be like most, the caramel layer. It was hard and super chewy. I would adjust that for sure. Other than that the pie was delicious. Flavor was there. Coconut-y but not overpowering.AnonymousMinnesota08/20/18Oh Claire the things you do to me. I have made very few pies in my life. This pie was so good, even better the day after. Her caramel method didn’t work for me (which I came to accept after 2 tries) so I went with the wet caramel method and added 1/4 cup water to 1/3 cup sugar and let that caramelize which was perfect. All in all a crowd pleaser. Subtle coconut flavour but definitely there, and not too sweet. I did actually omit a bit of sugar from the custard which I could’ve eaten all of straight out of the bowl.miratethepirateWinnipeg, MB, Canada08/16/18Made this for Father’s Day and oh my lord if this isn’t the best thing I have ever tasted in ma life! Everyone gobbled their first piece. Then immediately asked for a second piece. The whole pie was almost gone between three people!Couple of pointers: don’t let the caramel cool; pour into the graham cracker shell while still warm/easily spreadable. The caramel hardens up as it cools so make sure to sit the pie out for a little while before serving (nowhere to warm due to pastry cream & whipped cream)I found that even though the recipe used coconut in multiple forms, it still wasn’t as coconut flavored as I’d like. I added a small amount of coconut extract to the whipped cream that really helped out.I also sprinkled the top with both toasted shredded and shaved coconut.TO DIE FOR. At the end everyone immediately asked if there was more pie hidden somewhere and if not, can I make more.Anonymous Pittsburgh,PA 06/17/18I'm not a fan of cream pies, nor am I much of a baker but I decided to give this recipe a try for my mom's birthday. I burned the coconut and the caramel on my first try of each, but I mostly attribute that to my 40+ year old gas oven and stove. On my second try they both came out perfect. I was nervous about the custard, but it set beautifully and the finished product was a flavor showstopper! I love the subtle coconut flavor with the decadence of the real vanilla. The combination of the graham cracker crust and caramel is heavenly. I will definitely make it again! If I didn't already know before, any recipe developed by Claire is worth its weight in gold.cathclemSouth Carolina04/22/18Tastes amazing but recipe needs a bit of adjusting. I'm not the best at making caramel when dry (without water). My first batch of caramel came out a tad overcooked, and it had enough of a slight burnt taste that I scrapped it. I was overly cautious on my second attempt, and the sugar wasn't hot enough to incorporate the cream, and it seized horribly. I was able to whisk it back into a caramel sauce, but by then a lot of the moisture from the heavy cream evaporated, so that when my caramel was cooled, it was more of a chewy caramel candy than a caramel fudgy layer. Next time, I'll find another recipe that uses water + sugar to make the caramel, as I find it easier (and more accurate) to use a candy thermometer. The coconut flavoring is subtle in the pastry cream, as others have noted, and I added about 1/2 tsp of coconut extract to the pastry cream-- that did the trick. Otherwise, loved the various usages of coconut in this recipe. Next time, I think I will substitute the coconut oil for butter. Not sure how much coconut flavoring the oil adds.AnonymousSan Francisco03/21/18So this is a 5 star recipe. The different textures and coconut flavor is amazing. Based on a previous review, I added coconut 1/2 cup of sweetened toasted coconut to the pastry cream based off the complaint it didn't have enough coconut character. I also doubled the coconut in the the crust and the caramel. It was for certain the best pie I have ever had. Delicious recipe. Compliments to the chef!I'll start by saying I'm a avid baker and this isn't my first pie. Everything was fine until I started making the carmel. I followed the recipe to a T and watched the video a few times before I started and the carmel never worked for me, and I tried 3 times. Every time I added the coconut oil it wouldn't incorporate. My third and last try I though I had it, I added the coconut and let it cool and it was as hard as a rock! After I wasted all those ingriedients I skipped the carmel and went for the custard. The custard is ok. There is no coconut flavor in the custard at all. All and all I'm pretty disappointed.Made this for Thanksgiving. Absolutely amazing. Did everything but the whipped cream the night before so I could be out of the kitchen on the day of and it worked perfectly. The only change I made was to add some coconut flavoring to the whipped cream, which turned out quite nicely.

Watch the video: Foolproof Coconut Cream Pie - Kitchen Conundrums with Thomas Joseph - Martha Stewart