In honor of this past pie day (3/14) I decided to make my favorite, coconut cream pie. I go nuts for coconuts 🌴 , so this dessert could not have been more delightful. A pie shell is filled with a rich and creamy coconut custard then topped off with melt in your mouth meringue. These flavors blend so beautifully, you will have a dessert that can make anyone a fan of coconuts!
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold butter, diced
1/8 teaspoon fine salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
*You can make your own pie crust or just use the store bought pie crust*
3 large egg yolks
1 cup whole milk
1 cup half & half
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut *if you only have unsweetened, add 1/4 cup warm water and 4 tsps. sugar to coconut then mix until sugar is dissolved*
3 large white egg whites
1/2 tsp. lemon 🍋 juice or 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of Kosher salt
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted
For the pie crust:
Pulse the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor fitted with the metal blade until combined. Add butter and pulse about 10 times. Next add the egg and pulse 4 to 5 times until the dough forms a ball. Add up to a tablespoon cold water if the dough is very dry. You can mix these by hand but it is easier to use a food processor.
Transfer the dough to a work surface. Form the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Roll the dough on a lightly-floured surface into a 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a pie pan and trim edges if necessary, leaving about an extra inch hanging over the edge. Tuck the overhanging dough underneath itself to form a thick edge that is even with the rim. Flute the edge as desired. I like to take my pointer finger and middle finger on top of the pie crust, place my thumb in between these two at the bottom of the crust, then pinch.
Freeze the pie shell for 30 minutes.
Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees Fº. Lightly brush egg wash onto the pie shell (optional) and bake until the dough is set, about 30 minutes. The pie shell will be a golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
For the filling:
Whisk together the egg yolks, 1/4 cup of the milk, and the cornstarch in a medium bowl until smooth.
Stir in the remaining 3/4 cup milk, half & half, sugar and salt in a large saucepan. Heat over medium heat until barely simmering
Slowly pour the hot milk and cream into the egg yolks mixture while continuing to whisk.
Pour this custard back into the pan over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the custard is smooth and thick, about 5 minutes; it should be the consistency of pudding. Stir in the butter until melted, then stir in the vanilla and shredded coconut.
Spread the filling into the cooled pie crust. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of the pie and refrigerate about 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
For the meringue:
Add the egg whites, sugar, lemon and salt into a bowl and whisk to combine.
Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure bottom of bowl does not touch the water), and cook (whisking constantly), until the sugar dissolves and mixture feels hot to the touch. Take off heat and add vanilla. Whisk on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, 5 to 6 minutes.
Remove the plastic wrap from the pie and gently mound the meringue on top of the filling. Completely cover the filling and meet the crust all around the edges to seal in the filling. Use a spatula to form swirls and peaks in the meringue. Toast the meringue using a kitchen torch or broil in oven until golden brown. Keep an eye on the meringue if you broil it, this will only take about 30 seconds before it starts to burn. Sprinkle all over with toasted coconut and serve!
Cooks Note: The meringue topping does not keep well so I would suggest making this when you are hosting a party or serving at least 8 people. My parents loved it, see below :).