Happy Pi(e) Day (3.14, of course), the day on which baking enthusiasts and math geeks alike have an extra excuse for eating dessert. For this decadent version of a pie classic, seek out the best-quality shredded and flaked coconut, and be sure to choose unsweetened. If the flaked coconut your purchase isn’t already toasted, toast it by spreading it on a baking sheet and toasting in a 325°F (165°C) oven, stirring once or twice, for about 5 minutes.
Toasted-Coconut Cream Pie
For the crust:
- 4 1/2 cups (9 oz./280 g) vanilla wafer cookies
- 1 Tbs. sugar
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For the filling:
- 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) whole milk
- 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) coconut milk
- 3 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g) sugar
- 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup (4 oz./125 g) shredded dried unsweetened coconut (optional)
For the topping:
- 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) toasted flaked unsweetened coconut
1. Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C).
2. To make the crust, in a food processor, pulse the cookies until fine crumbs form. Add the sugar and salt and pulse a few times to mix evenly. Add the melted butter and pulse until the texture resembles wet sand. Gently press the mixture evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch (23-cm) pie dish, pressing until compact.
3. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
4. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and coconut milk and warm until it just begins to simmer.
5. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth. Add the hot milk mixture, 1/4 cup (60 ml) at a time, to the egg mixture, whisking constantly, then pour the mixture back into the pan. Cook, stirring constantly over medium-high heat until the mixture boils. Reduce the heat to medium and stir constantly until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spoon, 6 to 8 minutes.
6. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Stir in the vanilla and shredded coconut (if using). Let cool to room temperature. Pour the filling into the crust.
7. Make the topping. Pipe or spoon the whipped cream over the pie and garnish with the flaked coconut. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight before serving. Serves 8 to 10.
For this and more than 35 ideas for sweet and savory pies check out The Pie Cookbook our all-inclusive guide to making pies by The Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen Cooks