Monday, March 7, 2011

Coconut Cream Pie

Usually it takes me a little longer to process my recipes for a post, but I can't wait any longer to share this recipe with you. I finally made a pie. That's right a PIE. From scratch. And, it was a good one too. Granted it was only a 1-crust pie, but baby steps... I'll get a double-crusted pie under my belt soon enough.  

My husband talked me into making this beauty as soon as he saw it in the March issue of Cooking Light. I think it's really just because he loves all things coconut. However in reality, I've set a goal for myself to make 5 recipes from each of my cooking magazines each month, so he claims he was just helping me towards my goal. The recipe calls for a store-bought pie crust, but I wanted to make my own. I decided that if I was going to make a pie that I was just going to jump in and make all aspects of it.  I settled on using a recipe that I'll print below that I found saved in my email. I have had it saved for awhile and no longer know to whom it belongs, so if it's yours, let me know and I'll give you credit. I'm not totally happy with it, but I think it may be more user error that the recipe. I think the crust ended up being a little bit "too wet," and it strangely grew bubbles in places when I baked it. Any more experienced pie bakers out there know why this happened? You can kind of see the areas that bubbled below. With the exception of the bubbling issue, the crust tasted great!
The Cooking Light coconut cream pie is different in that there is not actually any shredded coconut in the finished pie (if you leave off the garnished toasted coconut on top). You seep the coconut and a vanilla bean with some milk and half-and-half and then strain the coconut pieces out to save on total fat and calorie content. The picture of the milk-coconut mixture is above. I think this is a great idea because the filling still ends up tasting wonderfully like coconut, and you may be able to sneak it by those who don't like coconut solely due to the texture. Since we're both coconut lovers here, I'm guessing we may be seeing this pie again sometime in our future. Maybe Easter dessert? Enjoy!

I'm linking this to Sweets for Saturday. Check out all the goodies there!
(Printable Recipe)

Coconut Cream Pie
Adapted from Cooking Light, March 2011

Pie Crust:
2 c. all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 c. cake flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1/2 c. vegetable shortening, cold and cubed
6 Tbsp. very cold water
1-1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar (to keep the crust flaky)

2 c. 1% low-fat milk
1 c. half-and-half
1-1/2 c. flaked sweetened coconut
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
4 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp. butter

Italian Meringue:
3 large egg whites, room temperature
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
1/4 c. flaked sweetened coconut, toasted

Place flours, salt, and sugar into the food processor. Pulse 2 times to incorporate the dry ingredients. Add butter and pulse 4 times. Add shortening and pulse 3 times. Add cider vinegar and start to pulse as you slowly pour in the water (you may not need it all). Continue pulsing until ingredients are just incorporated. Do not over mix. Turn the ingredients onto a hard surface that has been lightly dusted with flour. Flatten gently with the balm of your hand and shape the dough into a circle. Using a knife, cut the dough into 2 pieces. Wrap one in plastic wrap and chill until firm (at least 30 minutes). Wrap the other tightly in plastic wrap and place in a freezer-style ziploc bag. Freeze for another use.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll out dough and place into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Fold edges under; flute. Line dough with foil; arrange pie weights or dried beans on foil. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove weights and foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until golden. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Combine milk and half-and-half in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add 1-1/2 c. coconut. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean; stir seeds and pod into milk mixture. Bring milk mixture to a simmer; immediately remove from heat. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve squeezing down on the coconut to release all the liquid. Discard solids. Combine 2/3 c. sugar, cornstarch, salt, and egg yolks in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add milk mixture to egg yolk mixture stirring constantly. Return milk mixture to pan; bring to a boil, whisking constantly (it will start to thicken before it boils). Remove from heat. Add butter; whisk until smooth. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl for 6 minutes, stirring to cool. Pour into prepared crust. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. 

Place 3 egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Combine 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of water in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reaches 250 degrees F. Pour hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over egg whites, beating at high speed until thick. Spread meringue over pie. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. 

Before serving, place 1/4 cup coconut in a small skillet and cook over medium heat to desired brownness. Cool and sprinkle over the pie. 


  1. Your pie looks delicious! I can't seem to master pie crust. I keep trying, one of these days!

  2. Your cake looks fantastic. Looking forward to making this one. Keep up the good work.

  3. Love Pie!! And this one looks delish. I'll have to give this recipe a try very soon!

  4. I attempted a coconut cream pie once a few years ago and it was a disaster and I haven't tried one since, but I think your pictures have convinced me to give this recipe a try!


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