Kind of a big deal that I’m allowed to share my mom’s recipe for JoJo’s Coconut Dream Pie. But luckily for all of us, mom agrees with me that recipes, good recipes, are meant to be shared. That’s why I started this blog, after all, to share great food with all of you. There’s no point keeping it secret, what’s the fun in that? It could be argued that this recipe is just too good to be kept from everyone, it wouldn’t be fair. It’s won awards, after all.
So how did this pie come to be? A few years ago, DJ and I were going to Mom and Dad’s for dinner and mom had asked us what we wanted her to make for dessert. DJ suggested Mom make a coconut cream pie – and Mom, not wanting to disappoint her son in law (imagine!), set out to start recipe testing a pie she had never made before. After many attempts (and less and less corn starch every time) Mom ended up making what turned out to be the best coconut cream pie DJ, Dad or I had ever had. I actually tried pie #1 and it was incredible, but Mom is a perfectionist when it comes to baking and knew it could be better (hey that’s where I get it from!) and kept making small adjustments until it was absolutely perfect.
I’m totally taking credit for the name, though, because this pie is positively dreamy, no doubt about it.
Here’s what I love about this coconut cream pie over other’s I’ve tried: it’s not too sweet. And I have a sweet tooth, absolutely, but something that drives me is when I try a dessert and all I can taste is sugar. In this case, though, you’ll taste subtle sweetness balanced with fresh cream, a crumbly buttery crust, the smooth vanilla custard, and the bits of crunchy toasty coconut studded throughout. And that’s all you’ll taste because (another reason I love this recipe) there isn’t much else in it. No sweetened condensed milk, cream of coconut, or anything unnatural. Just uncomplicated, straight forward, delicious creamy coconutty buttery pie.
This pie is best when it’s super cold, so I like to make the crust and filling the day before, then add the cream and toasted coconut to the top on the day I plan to serve it.
- 1 1/4 Cup Flour
- 1/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp Sugar
- 10 Tbps Butter (1 Stick plus 2 Tbsp), cut into small cubes
- 1 1/2 Cups Sweetened Shredded Coconut (divided)
- 2 Cups Whipping Cream
- 2 Tbsp Sugar
- 2 Cups Whipping Cream
- 1 Cup Whole Milk
- 2 Eggs
- 3/4 Cup Sugar
- 1/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp Cornstarch
- 1/4 Tsp Salt
- 1 Tsp Vanilla
- Preheat oven to 375. Combine the flour and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the butter and cut into the flour mixture using a pastry blender or two knives until mixture is crumbly. Press firmly into the bottom and sides of a tart pan, making sure it’s even all the way around. Place a piece of parchment or tinfoil in the bottom of the pan and fill with pie weights or dried beans/lentils. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until crust is golden. Remove from oven and remove pie weights. If the crust has puffed up at all, you can use the flat bottom of a glass to gently press it down while the crust is still warm. Set aside to cool.
- Add coconut to a large sauté pan and place over medium high heat. Gently stir the coconut using a spatula until golden and toasted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Combine the milk and cream in a large pot. Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium bowl. Add eggs to dry ingredients and whisk vigorously for 20 seconds. Add egg mixture to the pot with the dairy, and over medium heat, gently whisk the mixture continuously until it thickens to the consistency of pudding. Once thickened, immediately turn the heat up to high and whisk it vigorously for one minute to cook the eggs; custard will be completely smooth. Remove from heat and immediately stir in vanilla and 1 Cup of toasted coconut.
- Add custard to cooled pie crust, then chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
- Whip the cream with the sugar and spread it onto the chilled pie. Top with remaining 1/2 Cup of toasted coconut.