BA'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. Bonus: you can torch it, for even more drama. This is part of BA's Best, a collection of our essential recipes.
Author: The Chef
Recipe type: Pie
Coconut Graham Crust
- 1¼ cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut
- 4 ounces graham crackers (about 7), lightly crushed
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled
- 1 large egg yolk
- ⅓ cup sugar, divided
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, melted
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
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
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 large egg
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- Toasted coconut flakes (for serving)
- A 9-inch deep pie dish; a candy thermometer
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.
- Crust can be baked 1 day ahead. Let cool, wrap in plastic, and store at room temperature, or freeze up to 2 weeks.
- 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.
- 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.
- Pie can be filled with custard 1 day ahead. Wrap in plastic and chill. Top with whipped cream and toasted coconut just before serving.