Recipe of the Day: Coconut Cream Pie (crust and all)

This should count as three recipes!! So three down and a dozen or so to go!!

My Best Pie Crust Recipe

I have used numerous basic pie crust recipes but this one is perfect. No-fail. Works every time. As far as a basic unsweetened crust good for general pie making…you won’t do better than this one! It can be prebaked for cream pies or used unbaked for filled pies. I even use it for chicken pot pie.

This recipe makes enough dough for 4 9” pie shell bottoms for cream or meringue pies or two pies with top and bottom crusts such as an apple pie.

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 cup shortening (you can substitute lard, butter or combination of the three solid fats)

1/3 to 1/2 cup cold water

1 TBSP vinegar

1 egg, beaten

There are 4 necessary ingredients in a standard piecrust: flour, fat, liquid, and salt. Flour is necessary to form the structure and bulk of the crust; fat to add moisture and to help keep the crust flaky; liquid to keep the dough somewhat pliable; and salt to enhance the flavor and brown the crust.

When making pie crust, chill the shortening and water before beginning. Chilling will prevent the fat pieces from dissolving into the flour. Stir the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Cut the chilled shortening into the dry mixture using a pastry cutter or by pinching the fat into the mixture with your hands. The resulting mixture should have fat lumps no smaller than peas.

Add the vinegar to the chilled water. Slightly beat the egg and mix with the water/vinegar.  Pour the chilled water mixture, a small amount at a time, into the dry mixture; mixing gently with a fork until the dough is wet enough to be packed into a ball. The dough should be handled as little as possible to prevent the blending of all of the fat lumps, as a crust with no fat lumps will be dense and hard.

Split the dough into 4 equal amounts, roll them into balls and wrap them in plastic before placing them in the refrigerator to chill for at least 30 minutes. Chilling will prevent the fat from absorbed by the flour and give a lighter texture to the crust when it is baked.

Generously dust a clean, dry surface with flour and remove one of the packages of dough from the refrigerator. Flatten the dough slightly and dust the dough’s top before rolling the dough out with a rolling pin. Start rolling at the center of the dough and work outwards. Some people prefer do this between sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap because it makes clean up and rolling easier. Quickly roll the dough into a circle 1/4 or 1/8 inch thick. The size of the circle should be about four inches wider in diameter than the pie pan.

A trick for getting the dough positioned in the pan correctly is to fold the dough in half and then into quarters. Gently pick it up and place it into the pan so that the center point is in the center of the pan. Unfold the dough into the pan and it should be perfectly centered. If the dough cracks a little during this process, press it back together with your fingers or patch the cracks with a bit of dough from the outer edges. Gently press the pie crust into the pie pan, careful not to press the dough to thin. Cut the pie crust just slightly larger than the pan, and crimp the edges—will try to get a picture tutorial up on this later.


At this point you can fill your crust according to your recipe or you might want to consider freezing the crusts for later use. I roll out my circles place them individually between sheets of waxed paper and gently fold in fourths. I then place them carefully in zipper plastic bags and lie flat to freeze. When a crust is needed, take it out leave it in the bag to come to room temperature and then proceed with recipe.

When baking my pie crust, I line it with parchment and add pie weights to keep the bottom from bubbling and buckling.


If something isn’t clear just ask!!

Pie Filling:

in a heavy saucepan

  • 1 baked pie crust (bake the crust at 425 until beginning to brown)
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1 small can flaked coconut
  • 3 TBSP butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups milk, evaporated milk, half n half or any combination of these
  • 3 egg yolks (the egg whites can be used for your meringue)

Mix sugar and cornstarch until completely blended. Add milk slowly and mix completely with a wire whisk. Cook, stirring continuously, over low heat until it begins to thicken. Take out a little warm filling and add to your egg yolks and mix WELL. Pour this back into your saucepan. When filling gets thick add butter and whip with your whisk until it is melted. When your filling is sufficently thick, add vanilla and coconut (reserving 1 TBSP coconut to sprinkle on meringue). Top hot filling with meringue (recipe below), sprinkle with remaining coconut. Bake at 425 until coconut is toasted and peaks of meringue are browning.pie.jpg

My Perfect Meringue

Use a clean, dry bowl. The bowl must be grease free, because any amount of fat will wreck a meringue. Glass, ceramic, stainless steel, and copper bowls are all suitable. Plastic bowls may appear clean, but may still have trace amounts of oil; do not use them. Cold eggs separate easily, but eggs whip to a higher volume when at room temperature. The solution is to separate the cold eggs, this is solved by separating the eggs for your pie filling and letting the whites come to room temperature. Separate each egg into two small bowls, one for the white and one for the yolk, and then add the white portion to the larger bowl. This allows you to reserve any with broken yolks for another purpose. Even a small amount of yolk can deflate the egg whites, so be careful.

Many people have great success using cream of tartar, white vinegar, or lemon juice to stabilize the meringue. I personally use cream of tartar. Add 1/8 teaspoon of one of these per egg white to the unbeaten eggs. If you are using a copper bowl to whip the egg whites in the addition is not necessary. Whip to medium soft peaks. Beat in 2 tablespoons white sugar per egg white. Continue to beat until egg whites are glossy and hold a firm peak. Spread meringue over piping hot filling, and spread to the edges to seal. Hot filling is necessary to insure that the inside of the meringue cooks, preventing weeping. The preferred baking method is one that combines high temperatures with a short baking time. This prevents overcooking the outside, and thus beading is avoided.


Bake at 425 degrees F for 4 to 5 minutes. Or until peaks are browning and coconut is toasted.

Some folks are really put off by using the raw egg whites…I personally don’t. But if you do, you may use meringue powder and follow the directions provided.

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Oh my holy Lord. That is my favorite pie on this earth, I think. Would you consider making one for me..? 😀

***This should count as three recipes!! So three down and a dozen or so to go!!***

I don’t think so. Since you are recuperating, you do have time to sit and type….all those lovely recipes you have promised! 😀

How many ounces is the “Small can” of flaked coconut?

I’ve just wiped drool from my chin…I must have a piece of that pie! I’ve got the fixings for a lemon and an apple pie in the kitchen ~ company’s coming ~ why oh why did I not think to make a coconut cream??

Another question. The recipe for the crust says it makes enough for 4 9″ crusts but the recipe only has me divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Which is right – 4 or 2?

Sorry- four. My bad. No matter how much a proof!


Oh this does look good. ‘Tis my dh’s fav pie. I should really try to make one for him. Wish me luck.


I baked with bean weights, but when tried to serve Pie crust stuck to bottom and fell apart. I used comemrcial pie crusts. Help!!!

If I were you I would try homemade pie crusts. You will be amazed at the difference. I have NEVER had one stick! Anyone else have a suggestion??? It sounds to me like maybe over done and brittle? A pie crust should be tender and not “break” easily. Give homemade a try and see if you have better luck.

Being new to your blog I just thought I’d pass along a hint I recently saw somewhere. If you don’t have “pie weights” use copper pennies instead. Just put a piece of parchment over the raw crust before adding the pennies.
Recipe is a “must try” in my book. Thanks for sharing.


I have never made a pie crust in my life. I admit that I am a bit wary of it because I always hear the pie crust makers talking about the precarious dance that must be done just so to keep the thing from being ruined. I don’t have this trouble with my pitiful store bought pie crusts. Am I missing something?


Coconut pie is one of my families favorite pies. I have never had one turn out perfect. It is either weeping or the crust is not tender. This explanation of the how to’s & why’s are great. Thanks for going into such detail.

I may have missed something but, on the crust receipe, where do you put in the tbsp of vinegar?


After my coconut cream pie has set and cooled down I get this liquid in it. What is that from and how can I make it not appear? Thanks for any suggestions!

Sounds to me like you might not be cooking it long enough. Make sure you cook the filling long enough after you’ve added the eggs. If the eggs haven’t been cooked long enough, the filling can break down after it’s cooled. Cook and stir the mixture for at least 2 full minutes after the eggs have been whisked in.

Hope this helps!


Hi. Thanks for the recipes. I’m going to tackle this for a family reunion pie contest! Two questions, though: Why the vinegar in the crust and when do you add it?


Tammy, I have a recipe like this, from my great aunt. She combined the water, egg and vinegar all together, then stirred it into the blended flour and shortening. And yes, it should all be cold. Really flaky crust…soooo good!


If the coconut is stirred into the milk before heating the coconut flavor will be stronger. I also recommend half-and-half instead of milk.

Wow, those are great instructions. Thanks so much for the recipe! I am glad I found it as none of the bakeries are selling coconut cream pies right now.

so, when do you add the vinegar?

Add the vinegar to the chilled water. Pour the chilled water, a small amount at a time, into the dry mixture;


I can’t find in your pie crust recipe where you add the egg.


I’m skipping the meringue and topping with whipped cream.
Do I still bake it for the few minute or is that just for the meringues benefit?

Dont bake! That’s just for the meringue. Let me know how it turns out!

Sandra Holloway

Thanks 4 the recipe, i made it yesterday and it was wonderful.

I am looking for an immediate response re: If I can FREEZE coconut cream pie?

I wouldn’t. It gets watery. Hope you got this in time. Also answered privately.


Thanks so much for this recipe; I dug out my mom-in -law’s c.c. pie recipe at hubby’s request, but it was a little vague in spots so I googled for help… yours is almost identical with ingredients but a lot clearer in method.

Our family uses vinegar in the lard crust for my grandmother’s pork pie recipe, and I use egg yolk in butter crust; now I’m itching to try both in your piecrust, thanks again.

Beautiful pie! Coconut Cream is by far my all-time favorite pie.


THank you for the recipe!!! I’m not really a cook, nor a baker, so its kinda hard for me to do any of this (i’m an engineer – figures!) but it’s my boyfriends favorite pie and his birthday is tomorrow. I wasn’t clear on the instructions: when i make the filling, how long do i ‘cook’ it for? Is it cooked on low heat while i’m stirring everything in, or is it baked? for how long? HELP! thanks!!! 🙂



i made a coconut cream pie from a recipe of an old neighbor’s, and i had some problem with the result. your recipe is the closest i can find on the web to my neighbor’s. maybe you can give me some hints on what i did wrong?

crust – was very thick on the bottom and not flaky, hard to cut through with a fork. the crust on the sides were yummy, but the whole crust was a little too salty

filling – all the instructions i found say to bring it to a boil, except mine never boiled and got thick pretty quickly. when i kept waiting for it to boil, the whole thing separated from the sides of the pot, it was following my wisk!

end result – pie came out of oven beautifully. but after it cooled on the rack, the filling and meringue shrank from the crust & there were liquid on the bottom. after being refrigerated, there were beads of brown sugar water sitting on top of the meringue.

crust (similar to yours):
2 cups flour, sifted
1.5 tsp salt
1/2 cup oil
5 tbsp cold water

1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp corn starch
1 cup milk
1 cup light cream
2 yolks
3/4 cup coconut

meringue (exact proportion as yours):
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
4 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

I just walked in from a little trip but I will do my best to answer your questions in the morning!


I make pie all the time. Have any of tried to
make your filling in the microwave. It is the only
way I make coconut cream and chocolate cream.
SO easy and fast. Whisk the filling every 3 minutes and
it only takes 12-=15 minutes total .

Judy Jackson

I live out in oregon and have never seen coconut in a can. Can I use just flaked coconut in a bag.

Absolutely! Let me know how it turns out!

Ellie K. May

My momma used to make the absolute best chocolate cream pies and coconut cream pies – no matter how hard I try they’re just not the same. Mamma used to beat her egg whites with 2 forks – probably never heard of a whisk – lol. The filling would be real tall and then the meringue about twice as tall – yum! I miss Mamma so much and her pies. I guess what made them so special is all the love that went in to each and every one. For the last 11 years of her life she was unable to swallow anything due to cancer. She still made her pies, though. Heartbreaking. P.S. I’ve used the microwave for the filling, too, and it works great. That standing and stirring over a saucepan is for the birds. LOL

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