True Coconut Cream Pie

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Did you know you can make a whole pie — crust, filling, and topping — out of coconut? To heck with those wussy diner “coconut” cream pies that are basically sugar pies with a little coconut flavor (maybe) and shredded coconut sprinkled on top. This dessert lives up to its name and leaves you satisfied. That’s the only kind of treat worth indulging in, in my opinion.

Check out the ingredients —  healthy too! My hubby likes his (real) coconut cream pies extra sweet, so this recipe calls for more coconut sugar than I think is necessary. I use real whipped cream because we prefer it, but you can substitute whipped coconut cream just as easily.

This pie is not too complicated if you have the right appliances. It does require forethought for the separate baking and chilling times, however. The coconut flavor here isn’t like what you smell in shampoos and candles; it’s warmer and toastier with smooth vanilla notes. The filling makes a great coconut pudding on its own, cold or warm. But if you hate the texture of coconut, move on to a different dessert recipe.

True Coconut Cream Pie (serves 8+)

Coconut Flour Pie Crust

1/2 C melted unsalted butter, coconut oil, or a combination of both

2 eggs

3/4 C coconut flour

1 Tbsp coconut sugar

1/2 tsp unrefined salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9″ pie dish with butter or coconut oil.

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl or food processor (a stand mixer is easiest). Press evenly into bottom and all the way up the sides of the greased dish. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Crust is finished when toasty brown along the edges and middle is stiff (though it will remain slightly soft). Cool on countertop and store in the fridge.

Sorry I don’t have pictures of this. Scroll down for how it should look when pouring the filling in.

True Coconut Cream Pie Filling

Two 14.5oz cans full-fat coconut milk (just under 4 C)

1 C coconut sugar

3 large eggs

5 Tbsp arrowroot starch

1/4 tsp unrefined salt

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 C unsweetened finely shredded dried coconut

Combine coconut milk, sugar, eggs, arrowroot, and salt in your blender or food processor and blend it all up real nice. It should look like a thick, foamy latte. Have your butter, vanilla, and shredded coconut ready to go nearby, for you’ll be standing at the stove for a while. Pour the coconut milk mixture into a large saucepan and whisk constantly over medium heat.

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Do NOT leave it sitting for more than 10-15 seconds without whisking, especially as it warms up and gets hotter. The eggs will scramble and you’ll have nasty runny-but-lumpy pie filling. My old recipe called for a complicated series of steps to make a traditional custard by tempering the eggs and everything, but this way is so much easier.

Before long, the foam will suddenly disappear and your custard will thicken considerably. It should be bubbling and steaming. Keep stirring and turn off the heat. Add your butter and gently mix it around as it melts.
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Then stir in the vanilla and shredded coconut until it is all incorporated.

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Pour the filling into the prepared coconut crust.

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Then stick it in the fridge uncovered to chill for a few hours. When ready to serve, prepare the topping.

Coconut Cream Pie Topping

1 C heavy whipping cream (not ultra-pasteurized)

1 Tbsp coconut sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 C unsweetened finely shredded dried coconut, toasted

2 Tbsp sliced almonds, toasted

Combine the cream, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl and whip until stiff peaks form. Spread all over the completely chilled pie. Sprinkle the toasted coconut and then the almonds all over the surface. It’s ready!

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Here is a slice. The filling is a thick, caramelly, delicious coconut pudding. Between the layers of a coconut cookie-like crust and sweet, foamy whipped cream with crunchy morsels on top, this pie makes a great special-occasion treat for health nuts like me.

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I once used a natural coconut extract in the filling when I could find it, but it didn’t really add much more flavor than the pie already had. I’ve never tried fake coconut flavor, but feel free to try if you’re comfortable with those kinds of things.

I will admit I have wondered what it would be like to coat the inside of the baked pie shell with a thin layer of dark chocolate or chocolate ganache. The filling would have to be chilled before scooping out into the crust (an extra step), but how delicious does that sound?

Enjoy!

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