07 February 2010

Discovery: I hate coconut cream pie.

As a kid I would press my nose up against the bakery cases admiring all the cream pies that my mom would never buy. And, as an adult I've continued a fascination with cream pies but have never purchased them. Instead, the idea to make a cream pie at home gets pushed to the back of my brain with certainty that "some day" I'll try one out. Sure, I've had bites and slices here and there at various people's parties... I think. Clearly, none made a strong impression. And, my childhood home wasn't a stranger to pie. As a Washington State native (and with a mom that makes the world's best pie crust... yes, really), hot apple pie was often cooling on the stove top.

Which is why this is such a startling revaltion to me. I actually despise coconut cream pie. How does a lover of all things coconut rectify their disgust for that creamy coconut filling? How does one admire the toasted coconut specked fillings and lofts of cream for years and years... and end up despising such things of beauty?

Three days of baking. Four coconut cream pies later. Tweaking each in an attempt to meet my high expectations of desiring to adore coconut cream pies. I have created what is a fantastic recipe according to my guinea pig friends, family members and neighbors. And, yet, I still despise coconut cream pie. Here's the winning recipe that everyone is raving about. You be the judge and see if you join the leagues of cream pie lovers or join me as an admirer from afar.

Cooking in Thailand, entry no. 78:
Coconut Cream Pie
After trying four different versions, this is the coconut cream pie that took the cake (so to speak). I found that coconut extract made the pie very fake tasting, even with real extract. And, I found that extra coconut flakes created an overly flecked texture. Using pure 100 percent coconut milk (make sure you don't purchase a kind with oils or preservatives added), was the key.

5 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 can of coconut milk, 14 fl. oz.
1 1/4 cup whole milk
2 vanilla beans
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 cups of cream heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 cooked pie crust

In a large heavy bottom sauce pan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter (set aside remaining tablespoon). Add flour. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add salt and coconut milk. Over low heat, stir with a whisk until thickened. Remove from heat. Split the vanilla beans, set one half aside for later use. Scrape the inside seeds into the coconut milk mixture and add the exterior beans. Mix and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place the coconut into a large non stick skillet. Place over low heat and toast until it becomes fragrant and just barely golden, approximately 1 minute. Stir regularly and watch closely (the coconut will turn from perfectly golden to burnt in seconds). Remove the vanilla pods from the coconut mixture. Stir in 3/4 of the coconut (reserve the rest for topping) and the remaining tablespoon of butter. Place filling into pre-baked pie crust. Chill until cool. Whip the heavy cream until peaks form. Add the sugar and the interior contents of the previously set aside vanilla bean. Beat for an additional minute and top entire pie with cream. Sprinkle with reserved coconut and serve.


  1. That looks good. How could you hate any recipe that has coconut?

  2. LOL! I remember pressing myself up against pastry windows to get closer to the cream pies. I don't think I've ever tried to make one though.

  3. Welcome to Team I Hate Coconut Cream Pie! I'll have tee shirts made and send you one.


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