Coconut Cream Pie



By Cat, April  2015 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

When I was living in Portland, I made many overnight trips to Seattle for work meetings; about a block from the hotel where I stayed was a great restaurant called The Dahlia Lounge. They served an AMAZING house dessert, Triple Coconut Cream Pie. This was not your average coconut cream pie, but rather a large and quite tall piece in layers. On top of a flaky deep-dish crust was a thick layer of coconut cream, topped by a thick layer of stiff whipped cream, and on top of that a layer of fresh coconut in wide shavings mixed with similar shavings of white chocolate. I’m telling you, this was to die for, and I see it is still on their menu. (7)

Although my recipe doesn’t attempt to duplicate that wonder, you could certainly adapt mine with the three layers.

Coconut Cream Pie

This recipe is adapted from my recipe for Banana Cream Pie, which in turn is adapted from a recipe by Kim Ode, from the Star Tribune, Minneapolis (1)), and Pillsbury’s Dessert Cook Book (2).

I don’t like to use sweetened coconut flakes because the sweetener is white sugar (most likely from GMO sugar beets) or HFCS (from GMO corn). While my preference is to use unsweetened coconut flakes, and to substitute stevia for the sugar, I provide instructions to modify for using sugar and/or using sweetened coconut flakes.

Instead of using light cream and whole milk, your could use canned coconut milk (full-fat) plus additional dairy milk to make up the difference in total cups (as indicated in recipe notes). Do not use coconut milk sold in aseptic containers, as it is not full-fat and has been diluted with water (or coconut water).

In years past, I made a version of this pie with a graham cracker crust, but since I now avoid sugar, I’ve come up with a more healthful alternative with similar flavor and texture: an adaptation of my Yogurt Pie Crust II (a presoaked pastry recipe), substituting graham flour for the whole wheat flour and adding a tiny amount of sugar to the pastry. After the presoak, I press it into the pan rather than rolling. If you don’t want that graham flavor and texture, try my American Pie Crust and roll it out, crimping the edges.

Ingredients are provided for two different sizes: a 9″ single-crust pie, and a single-crust 10″ quiche/tart pan variation (that could be also be used for 9″ deep dish pan).

Ingredients for 9″ pie

Ingredients for 10″ quiche pan (or 9″ deep dish)

* Note that amounts of sugar vary whether using sweetened vs unsweetened coconut flakes, and are based on Source recipes for amounts of sweetener and coconut flakes, below;

** instead of light cream and whole milk, use 1 can full-fat coconut milk plus enough dairy milk to make 3 cups total (for 9″ pie), or 4 cups total (for 10″ pie).


  • medium saucepan
  • 2 medium bowls
  • egg beater, egg whisk or  electric mixer (for beating eggs)
  • egg beater, electric mixer, or immersion blender (for whipping cream)
  • 9″ regular pie pan, 9″ deep dish pie pan, or 10″ quiche pan

Method, all sizes

  1. Pastry: start the presoak the day before you plan to serve the pie.
  2. Next day, butter pie pan and press pastry into pan (if it is too stiff, mix in a tiny bit of water, 1 tsp at a time). Alternately, roll the pastry, fit into pan and crimp the edges.
  3. Prick with fork in several places; you may also wish to line with parchment and dried beans or other pie weights.
  4. Bake at 450°F for 8 – 10 minutes; do not let it scorch or burn. Remove from heat and let cool.
  5. Filling: Beat egg yolks in medium bowl until well mixed and a fluffy light yellow in color; set aside.
  6. Combine sugar or stevia with starch and salt in saucepan, whisking to combine.
  7. Stir in cream and milk (and maple syrup, if using), blending well until smooth (no lumps).
  8. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly until it just comes to a boil. Remove from heat.
  9. Blend a small amount of the hot mixture into yolks, whisking well, then return yolk mixture to saucepan, whisking well.
  10. Return pan to heat and cook, stirring constantly just until it starts to bubble. Remove from heat and stir in coconut flakes, butter, and optional vanilla.
  11. Cool slightly, then pour in cooled pastry shell.
  12. While pudding is cooling, toast the coconut flakes, if using for garnish
  13. Chill: Cover pie with plastic wrap or place inside a plastic bag and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.
  14. When ready to serve, whip cream topping, sweetening lightly with sugar or maple syrup and spread over pie.
  15. Garnish with toasted coconut flakes, if desired

Source recipes for amounts of sweetener and coconut flakes

NOTE: amounts of sugar vary whether using sweetened vs unsweetened coconut flakes, and are based on the following recipes:

  • Using sweetened coconut:
  • My recipes (3) uses 1 cup sweetened flakes for 9″ pan, with ½ cup aded sugar
  • Food Network (4) and Epicurious (4) use 1 ½ cup sweetened flakes for 9″ pan, with ½ cup aded sugar
  • Today’s Mamma (6) uses 1 cup sweetened flakes, with ½ cup added sugar for 9″ deep-dish pan
  • Using unsweetened coconut:
  • Food Network (5) and Today’s Mamma (6) use 1 cup unsweetened flakes, with ¾ cup added sugar for 9″ deep-dish pan


  1. Star Tribune, Minneapolis, recipe for Banana Cream Pie, with Variations (
  2. Pillsbury’s Dessert Cook Book (1970; see Beloved Cookbooks for more about this book)
  3. My recipes:
  4. Food Network ( and Epicurious (
  5. Food Network (
  6. Today’s Mamma (
  7. Dahlia Lounge Menu (

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