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Coconut Cream Pie

coconut cream pieIf you’ve ever been on a road trip, then you know truck stops and diners have the best food.  They also have the best desserts…usually.  The veneer of a truck stop or diner won’t lure you in on looks alone, but the food in my experience, has been really good.  And it has to be.  Truck drivers want a meal that reminds them of home when they’re on the road driving for long hours at a time.  It’s as close to home cooking as you’ll ever get, good value for money, open late at night, and there’s something wholesome about them.

The desserts are something I always have to try even though it’s not something I do on a regular basis elsewhere.  Years ago, there was a diner in St. Stephen, NB my parents used to stop at before crossing the border at Maine, USA.  I can’t even recall the name and I suppose it’s not there or changed hands but from my food memory, their coconut cream pie was THE best!  A few weeks ago Mr. S. and I were in Wolfville, NS and had breakfast at a local diner.  I was curious to know if the desserts were made in house and was told they were.  I secretly yelled yay! in mind and asked if they had coconut cream pie.  It was my lucky day as the pie was being placed on the shelf.  I couldn’t wait to eat it later and had some of it for breakfast.  It was so good it inspired me to make my own. I must have searched a dozen or so coconut cream pie recipes (even my vintage cookbooks didn’t hold up to the task – go figure!) and finally came up with what I believe resembles the flavor I used to devour growing up.

Serves 6 to 8
9-inch baked pie crust (homemade or purchased)
2 cups milk
1 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1 cup canned coconut milk (available in the Asian section of your grocery store)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups whipped cream
2 tablespoons *toasted flaked sweetened coconut (garnish)

*To toast the coconut, spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake at 350f  (8-10 minutes) until coconut has just begun to turn a golden brown.

homemade pie shellTo make the coconut custard, pour coconut milk and milk into a container. Add eggs and whisk together. Set aside. Combine sugar and cornstarch in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk egg and milk mixture together once more and then slowly add to the sugar and cornstarch, whisking together constantly.  Increase heat to medium-high and heat custard mixture to a boil. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula and continue to stir for a minute or two. Reduce heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, for about 10 minutes or until it’s a pudding consistency. Transfer to bowl; stir in vanilla extract and sweetened coconut. Place plastic wrap directly on surface; refrigerate until cold (overnight is preferred).

flaked sweetened coconutTo assemble the pie, spread custard into pie crust followed by whipped cream. Sprinkle top of the pie with toasted coconut.

The Culinary Chase’s Note:
If you aren’t serving right away, place the pie without the toasted coconut in the fridge and garnish with toasted coconut when ready to serve.  You can also speed up the cooling process by placing the bowl of coconut custard over ice and stir until chilled.  Enjoy!

Coconut Cream Pie
 
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Cuisine: North American
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 9-inch baked pie crust (homemade or purchased)
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup flaked sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk (available in the Asian section of your grocery store)
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whipped cream
  • 2 tablespoons *toasted flaked sweetened coconut (garnish)
Instructions
  1. *To toast the coconut, spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake at 350f (8-10 minutes) until coconut has just begun to turn a golden brown.
  2. To make the coconut custard, pour coconut milk and milk into a container. Add eggs and whisk together. Set aside. Combine sugar and cornstarch in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk egg and milk mixture together once more and then slowly add to the sugar and cornstarch, whisking together constantly. Increase heat to medium-high and heat custard mixture to a boil. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula and continue to stir for a minute or two. Reduce heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, for about 10 minutes or until it’s a pudding consistency. Transfer to bowl; stir in vanilla extract and sweetened coconut. Place plastic wrap directly on surface; refrigerate until cold (overnight is preferred).
  3. To assemble the pie, spread custard into pie crust followed by whipped cream. Sprinkle top of the pie with toasted coconut.
Notes
The Culinary Chase’s Note: If you aren’t serving right away, place the pie without the toasted coconut in the fridge and garnish with toasted coconut when ready to serve. You can also speed up the cooling process by placing the bowl of coconut custard over ice and stir until chilled. Enjoy!

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