Old fashioned coconut cream pie has a creamy, homemade custard base and is topped with easy sweetened whipped cream. Use your favorite baked crust or a graham cracker crust.
Coconut is a food item that the kids did not like when they were younger. Matt has always loved it. But as the kids get older, they are loving German chocolate cake and fruit cakes…all with coconut!
Coconut Cream Pie
Although I normally run to baked fruit pies or a richer dessert, coconut cream pies are an old fashioned classic. Coconut cream pie always reminds me of spring for some reason. This pie is great for holidays, but I especially love it around Easter time.
What is a cream pie?
There are different cream pie recipes. Some start with ingredients as simple as instant pudding. These pudding cream pies are no-bake and no cook. They are quick and easy. But the best cream pie is one that starts with a homemade custard like filling that you cook on the stovetop. This thickens up and tastes like a homemade pudding. Refrigerate this custard base, then top with homemade whipped cream. Cream pies are generally light and fluffy and cool.
How do you make coconut cream pie?
Take some time to plan ahead for when you are wanting to make a cream pie. They need to refrigerate overnight for best results. Because of this, it’s a great make-ahead pie.
Use a double boiler to make the custard. This will ensure the milk based mixture won’t scorch.
Heat 1 ¾ cup milk to boiling over medium heat. Don’t add all of the milk…you’ll save ½ cup for the next step.
While the milk is heating, mix together the sugar, salt, cornstarch, and flour. It’s important to not add the cornstarch right into the hot milk. This is what makes clumps. Add the remaining ½ cup of milk and whisk until smooth.
Drizzle the milk/sugar mixture into the hot milk. Drizzle slowly and whisk, whisk, whisk! Don’t stop whisking. 🙂
Cook, stirring constantly until it starts to thicken, then reduce heat to low, cover the pan and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring often.
Place the egg yolks in a small bowl and whisk with a fork or a small whisk them to break up the yolks.
Temper the eggs: Remove 3 tablespoons of hot cream and add it to the eggs, whisking quickly as you add it. This is called tempering the eggs. It heats the eggs a little bit and helps them not to cook too quickly when you add it to the hot mixture. If you don’t want little bits of eggs in your custard base, it is important not to skip this step.
Drizzle the egg mixture into the hot cream. Whisk and cook for an additional 2 minutes or until thick.
Remove the pan from the heat.
Add in the butter, coconut flavor and shredded coconut. Stir well.
Pour the cream into the pie crust. Smooth the top.
Allow it to cool for 10 minutes, then cover the pie and refrigerate until it is completely set. This will take at least 6 hours.
Once the pie is cool, prepare the whipped cream.
Use a high powered hand mixer or stand mixer to beat the cold cream, sugar and coconut flavor until stiff peaks form.
Spread the whipped cream over the cooled pie.
Sprinkle the remaining coconut flakes over the top of the pie. You can also sprinkle the top with chocolate chips or sprinkles!
How can I get my cream pie to set?
So what if your cream pie didn’t set? The best way to prevent this is of course during the cooking stage. Give the custard as long as it needs to thicken in the pan while cooking. It’s hard to put an exact time on this since everyone’s stovetops cook differently.
If you find out after a few hours of the pie being in the fridge that it did not set, there are not too many options. Your best bet is to put the cream mixture back on the stovetop until it thickens more over heat. Your pie won’t look as pretty, that’s for sure, but you’ll be covering it with homemade whipped cream anyway.
Homemade Whipped Cream
When you are making a homemade cream pie, there’s nothing like homemade whipped cream! The key to making homemade whipped cream is to use very cold heavy cream…and you can even refrigerate your metal stand mixer bowl to help the cream stay cold. Beat the cream (using the whisk attachment) with the sugar and extract until soft peaks form. Then spread the cream on the set pie then sprinkle with coconut.
If you want to take a shortcut, use frozen whipped topping.
**Pro Tip: Use a high powered hand mixer instead of a stand mixer for the whipped cream if you’d like. You can also make it by hand! Watch this video to see how.**
Do coconut cream pies need to be refrigerated?
Yes! This is a milk based pie so it must be stored in the refrigerator. Be sure to cover the pie.
How long does coconut pie last in the fridge?
Make sure the pie is covered well. It will last for 3-4 days in the fridge.