Think of this coconut cream pie recipe as a Samoa cookie in pie form. It’s crunchy, caramelly, creamy, and positively jam-packed with coconut flavor. There’s toasted coconut in the quick-and-easy graham cracker crust, coconut oil in the caramel, coconut milk in the custard, and big pieces of flaked coconut to top it all off. (Catch former BA editor Claire Saffitz making the pie here.) It’s easy to see why this is one of our favorite pies.
Because of its many elements, prepping this pie is best approached in stages. Start with the homemade pie crust, which comes together in a food processor and gets a brief blind bake for toasty crunch. Bundled in plastic wrap, the pie shell can be left at room temperature for a day, or frozen in the pie plate for up to two weeks. The caramel, which adds that signature Samoa chew, can be made up to four days in advance.
Save the creamy coconut filling for the day of serving. To amp up the flavor, Claire steeps a whole vanilla bean in half-and-half, giving this pie filling a richer mouthfeel than ones that use whole milk. If you’d rather use vanilla extract, whisk in 1 Tbsp. extract after straining the custard.
Sweetened whipped cream is our ideal topper for coconut cream pie. But, since you will have a few egg whites left over, you could easily make meringue instead: Whisk the egg whites with a bit of sugar to stiff peaks, mound the meringue on top of the pie, and don’t forget to toast it.
For more custard pies, check out our Banana Cream Pie, Extremadura Almond Pie, Key Lime Pie, or Milk and Honey Pie recipes.