Coconut cream pie reminds me of my mom.  I remember driving up north and stopping on M37 at Mr. Fables; she would order a taco salad and if they had it, get a slice of coconut cream pie.  The pie would be cut into 6 pieces and we would point at the biggest one.  Would we share it, or would I get my own piece, I can’t remember.  But I remember the delicious cold pudding with the slight crunchy chew of coconut, the shortening crust that holds up only as good trans fats can, and the sweet star-shaped piped whipped topping.  A treat halfway into our 4 hour drive.  Leaving Fables, sometimes Mom would finish the drive up, blaring country music to keep her awake.

This pie is coconut on all levels, from the crust to the cream, for the serious coconut lover.  The crust is nutty and slightly salty, the filling creamy yet chewy, and the topping is whipped cream (I figure whipped cream needs no descriptive embellishments).  I adapted it from the recipes here and here.  If you want to tone down the coconutiness, you could omit the extract, and replace the coconut milk with regular milk.  The amounts below are for a 10″ deepdish pie.  I suggest reducing them by 1/3 if you are using a smaller, standard 9″ dish.

Triple Coconut Cream Pie

Crust:

  • 15 whole graham crackers
  • 1/2 c sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp coconut extract

Custard:

  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 5 Tbsp flour
  • 1 – 13.5oz can coconut milk
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 2 1/4 c sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp coconut extract

Topping:

  • 1/2 c coconut flakes
  • 1 c heavy whipping cream
  • 3 Tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp coconut extract

Prepare Crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine graham crackers, coconut and salt in food processor.  Process until sandy with a few pieces of gravel.
  3. Melt butter glass pyrex in the microwave.  Add coconut extract.
  4. Add butter mixture to food processor; pulse a few times until all sand darkens as though it is wet.
  5. Press into pie plate.  Crust will be ~3/8″ thick.
  6. Bake 10-12 minutes, until slightly browned.  Cool completely on rack.

Prepare Custard Filling:

  1. In medium bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs and egg yoke, and flour.
  2. In deep-sided sauce pan, heat coconut milk, milk and shredded coconut until simmering.  Do not boil, milk hates boiling.
  3. Temper (add slowly while whisking) egg mixture with hot milk/coconut.
  4. Once all milk mixture is added, return everything to the sauce pan and continue cooking about 4 minutes over medium heat or until the custard thickens.
  5. Remove from heat.  Mix in the extracts.
  6. Return everything to the (cleaned) medium sized bowl, press plastic wrap on top of the custard to avoid a skin, and refrigerate at least 2 hours until completely cooled.
  7. Spread cooled custard into the cooled crust.  Refrigerate until the day you plan to serve.  Proceed to lick bowl and spatula.

Prepare Topping:

  1. Toast coconut flakes in 350F oven for ~7 minutes, until browned, stirring once or twice to avoid burning.  Really keep an eye on these guys, they burn easily.
  2. Place metal bowl and whisk in the freezer for 5+ minutes.  Install them into your mixer (I used the kitchen aid).
  3. Place cream, sugar and extract into bowl.  Turn on the mixer and slowly increase the speed to 8 (of 10).
  4. Whip until peaks are stiff and hold their shape.
  5. Spread whip on top of cooled pie.  Sprinkle with toasted coconut.
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