Coconut Cream Pie

by Jenn on January 8, 2013

in Dairy Free,Desserts,Gluten Free

Coconut Cream Pie

This post was years in the making.  YEARS.  You see, once a long time ago, when my husband first figured out that I could make food he liked (this was before we were engaged), I had asked him what he wanted me to make him.  “A coconut cream pie,” he said, “it’s my favorite type of pie.” And yet, as simple as it would be to just bake one pie, whenever I thought of making a coconut cream pie, I just couldn’t muster the motivation to do it. Opportunity after opportunity went by, and I just could not get in the mood to make this pie.  In fact, after enough time had passed it became a running joke between us, the pie that never would be.

And now here we are, a good five years later, halfway across the world, parents, and I still had yet to make him his coconut cream pie.  I don’t know what struck me over the holiday but out of the blue, I just decided I would do it.  Why not? What was I holding on to by not making this?  The fear that I would disappoint him in his favorite type of pie ever? No, he’s pretty amenable to most everything I cook.  Maybe it was just the finality of it, that after all this time there’s now been so much expectation that it will seem a bit anticlimactic if it’s not the absolute awesomest coconut cream pie in the world.

Last weekend I decided  that I might as well give it a go at this point – I mean it’s been five years, it’s about time I finally give the man his dessert :)

Coconut Cream Pie

I was actually quite surprised how much variation there was in the recipes that I found for coconut cream pie, and how few had a meringue topping, opting for whipped cream instead.  Meringue is not that hard to make and is a far better marriage with custard than whipped cream because of its light and airy sweetness, much more so than whipped cream ever could be.  I settled on Emeril’s recipe because it seemed to have the largest proportion of actual coconut in the pie filling, and since I wanted coconut to be the star, that seemed fair criteria to go by.  I was also surprised at how many recipes called for regular cow’s milk in the custard.  Why not coconut milk? It is a coconut custard after all, wouldn’t using coconut milk help deliver the most coconut flavor?  In general I find that coconut milk usually works great in things like puddings and custards, so didn’t hesitate to substitute it in here.

My favorite part about this pie? I kinda cheated and didn’t make a pie dough.  I think this pie is better for it – there’s something sinfully indulgent about dipping your spoon deep into the ramekin to scoop out the delicious coconut custard, and the meringue provides all the lightness you need to balance the sweet richness of the custard.  A pie crust I feel would just weigh it down.  So I didn’t feel bad about skipping one, and instead of baking this in a pie, just spooned the coconut custard into a bowl and spread some meringue on top.  And taking out the steps to make a gluten free pie dough just made making this dessert a whole lot more accessible for me to do again :)


Coconut Cream Pie (Crustless)

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse
Prep Time: 5 min
Total Time: 3 hours


  • 200 g shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 500 mL coconut milk
  • 200 g sugar
  • 150 g (three) eggs, separated
  • 20 g cornstarch
  • beans scraped from 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 1 tbs coconut oil or butter
  • 50 g sugar


  1. In a skillet on medium high heat, toast coconut, stirring frequently until lightly browned. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan on medium heat, heat coconut milk and 200 g sugar together stirring frequently until simmering.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks.  Add about 50 mL of water to the cornstarch to dissolve it in a small bowl.
  4. Once the coconut milk is simmering, pour a little into the yolks while whisking to loosen them up, and then while whisking constantly, stir the yolks back into the pan. Then add in the cornstarch and vanilla beans.
  5. Bring back up to a boil, then reduce heat to low and keep stirring until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Stir in toasted coconut and coconut oil, and then chill in the fridge about two hours.
  6. Once coconut custard is chilled, preheat the oven to about 220 C (400 F).  Beat egg whites until soft peaks form, then as you continue beating gradually add in sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks have formed.
  7. Take out the custard from the fridge and spoon into dishes.  It makes about enough to fill a pie plate, so for this crustless version you can either fill an empty pie plate, or use ramekins or bowls of an equivalent volume. Spoon meringue on top of the custard, and bake in the oven about four minutes or until meringue browns on top.
  8. Serve and enjoy!


Coconut Cream Pie

Also submitted to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Gluten Free Wednesdays 


Zoe January 8, 2013 at 3:01 am

“Ooh, how lovely!” was my first thought when I saw this, Jenn. I think it’s romantic that you made this for your husband as well as the thought behind it. I agree with you about meringue versus whipped cream as a topping. Personally, sometimes I think whipped cream is too much depending on what it’s with such as custard. It can be overwhelming or just completely unnecessary. Anyway, I’ve never made coconut cream pie but I’m tempted to now and will definitely use your recipe when I do. I use coconut milk all the time in recipes (sweet and savoury) that use cow milk or cream and I think it’s nicer.

Jenn January 8, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Thanks so much Zoe! I definitely need to use coconut milk more :)

Laura Dembowski January 8, 2013 at 3:18 am

My mouth is watering looking at your photos. I love coconut cream pie but haven’t gotten around to making it. It sounds quite easy. Love that you left off the crust – even easier!

Jenn January 8, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Thanks! Ha maybe it’s too easy now… I could easily convince myself to make it very often 😉

Katie January 8, 2013 at 3:24 am

But how did your husband like it?! (Sounds delicious to me…)

Jenn January 8, 2013 at 9:39 pm

He enjoyed it very much, thanks :)

Tricia January 8, 2013 at 3:54 am

Looks so yummy, and I wanted to pin it on Pinterest, but it won’t let me use your photos. Darn!

Jenn January 8, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Thanks! Yeah sorry I need to figure out my flickr permissions better to get pinterest to work…

Rosa January 8, 2013 at 8:28 am

It looks and sounds wonderful! That is an exquisite dessert.

Fear of failure is the biggest demotivator.



Jenn January 8, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Thanks Rosa!

Jenn January 16, 2013 at 10:40 pm


Jenn January 16, 2013 at 10:41 pm


Jenn January 16, 2013 at 10:42 pm

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Jenn January 16, 2013 at 10:43 pm

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Diana Kostigen January 8, 2013 at 9:50 pm

So beautiful! And can’t wait to try it. Especially love the last pic… the meringue looks amazing!

Jenn January 8, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Thanks so much! Ha it is very hard to make a shapeless dessert look good… I think the meringue is what “finishes” it :)

francine January 9, 2013 at 3:39 am

Could you tell how to convert your recipes into to cups and teaspoons? I don’t have a scale to do this for me, I live in the US and haven’t gone to this type of measuring. I would really appreciate your help with your recipes. I enjoy your recipes, they are very helpful to me living a gluten free lifestyle.

Jenn January 9, 2013 at 11:27 pm

Hi Francine – you can check out the link to the original recipe (click on “Emeril” in the recipe” for the original volume measurements, hope that helps!

Aubree Cherie Davis January 9, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Wow – looks like it was well worth the wait! :)

Jenn January 9, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Thanks Aubree!

Amy Mak January 11, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Beautiful, beautiful blog! I just listened to your podcast on – thanks for all your tips. I don’t have a pure food blog, but I do post a lot of recipes regarding health and running. You’ve really inspired me to take better pictures and to work hard at it. Thank you, and happy new year1

Jenn January 12, 2013 at 8:36 am

aww thanks so much!

Mrs Deer January 27, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Oh ! Your cream pie looks very good! I love your photography!

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