Coconut Custard Pie

It’s Victor’s Birthday, and what better way to celebrate than with a pie?!?

Birthday Pie has a long tradition in my family. I don’t quite remember when, but at some point, Birthday Pies replaced Birthday Cakes with my siblings. My birthday pie was Pineapple Cream – following my Birthday Dinner of Veal Marsala. We never actually had real veal in our house – Mom pounded round steak into tender scallops.

But I digress…

Victor’s traditional Birthday Dinner has been Meatloaf with Mushroom Gravy, Mashed Potatoes, and Peas. I was all set to make it when he mentioned a spatchcocked chicken – since we had one in the freezer from Founding Farmers.

It’s the Birthday Boy’s Choice – Spatchcocked Chicken, it was. And dessert?!? A Coconut Custard Pie.

Cream and custard pies are pretty basic – and relatively easy to make. I think the easiest and most flavorful are made with milk, egg yolks, and cornstarch. You can also make them with flour, but I tend to have better luck with cornstarch. The base recipe will also work with very well-drained crushed pineapple to make a Pineapple Cream Pie.

One secret for this particular pie – in my not so humble opinion – is to use unsweetened flaked coconut. It’s not the easiest to find at the grocery store, but I buy it online from Atlantic Spice. Traditional Baker’s Coconut will definitely work, but we both like a slightly less-sweet filling.

Personal preference.

Coconut Custard PieCoconut Custard Pie

adapted from NY Times

  • 1 Prepared 9-inch pie shell


  • 2 cups milk, scalded and cooled
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flaked coconut


  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Method:Partially blind-bake the pie shell: Heat oven to 425°F. Roll out chilled pie dough and place in a 9-inch pie pan. Trim and flute edges, pierce the bottom crust with a fork then cover with a large square of parchment or foil. Carefully add 2 or 3 cups of dried beans or pie weights onto the foil or parchment, and spread evenly so they reach up the sides of the pie. Bake 12 to 16 minutes or until crust is lightly browned.

Make the filling: Scald milk by placing it in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until it just begins to foam and bubble around the edges. Set aside to let cool slightly. In the top of a double boiler, beat together egg yolks, sugar, salt and cornstarch. Stir in melted butter, then add the milk. Whisk until the mixture thickens. This will take 2 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, coconut extract, and coconut until well mixed. Pour into the pie shell.

Make the meringue: Toast the coconut lightly. Set aside. With a hand or stand mixer, mix egg whites and cream of tartar until the mixture is foamy. Increase speed to high and gradually add sugar, a tablespoon at a time. Keep beating until the meringue is glossy and forms soft peaks. Be careful not to whip into stiff peaks.

Spoon the meringue on top and spread to the edge of the crust so it forms a seal. Swirl the spatula through the meringue to make little peaks. Sprinkle evenly with the reserved coconut.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack and then refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

Coconut Custard Pie

It’s easier than it sounds – and every bite makes it worthwhile.

Heaven on a little plate!