A pie that your wildest dreams are made of! Silky Smooth Coconut Cream Pie with…..wait for it…..Chocolate Painted Crust!
Thanksgiving is not Thanksgiving for me without the coconut cream pie. You see, my mom was always assigned at our big family get-togethers to make the “cream pies.” We’d do a couple of banana cream, and a couple of coconut cream. But no pudding from the box – no sir! This pudding was only to be from scratch. I remember making this with her year after year, stirring, and stirring, and stirring that pudding to make sure it thickened up right and didn’t get lumpy. My favorite part was at the very end, adding all of the butter and watching it melt into that mess of pudding. Rich, baby!
Anyway, I’ve carried on the tradition of the coconut cream pie since I moved out of the house. However, although I love the recipe of my youth, I was recently introduced to a variation to take this recipe that I loved, and make it something that I truly adore! And that, my friends, is the use of coconut milk in the pudding.
See, my original recipe (included in the notes) used coconut flakes, and while I’m at peace with that texture, some people are not. They just can’t get over it. And like I said, while I’m good with it, there’s something about a perfectly silky pudding texture that just melts me a bit. So if you want silky smoothness, now you can have it by using coconut milk! This was one of my “duh” baking moments when I thought, why did I seriously not think of this before?
Since coconut milk has a little more fat content than just normal milk, I cut back on my butter just a little bit, and toned down the vanilla to make sure that the coconut flavor shined through nicely.
And the last stroke of genius for this coconut cream pie: chocolate painted crust. If you’ve noticed any trend yet about me on this blog, it is that I have a profound love of chocolate. I mean, seriously, if I had a chance to live life over, I really think I would aspire to be a world-famous chocolatier, hat and all. My sis-in-law showed me this recipe for coconut cream pie on Annie’s Eats with the chocolate painted crust, and my heart almost skipped a beat. Yes. Perfect.
So, coconut milk, chocolate painted crust. And of course, as always, top it off with a healthy dose of fresh whipped cream and….wait for it….my favorite finishing touch…..toasted coconut. I always toast a bit extra because this stuff is addicting! I could seriously just eat it every day.
On the fence about a coconut cream pie? Well, think again and give this one a try.
1) Technique on thickening your pudding: most recipes just have you add all of the milk right up front and then whisk constantly until it starts to bubble and thicken. But, why does it feel like when you do that, it takes FOREVER to start thickening? I don’t know if it’s just the “watched pot” concept, (you know, a watched pot never boils) but instead of adding all three cups of milk, I start with one, whisking and waiting for the action to start, and then gradually pour in the other two cups as it starts to thicken and bubble. I swear that it gets there faster and well, at least it makes me a little less impatient. (I do this same technique when making white sauce or other cream-based sauces of such.)
2) Don’t let the yolks intimidate. Everyone always makes a huge deal about not cooking the yolks and it always freaked me out! Yuck. But in all the years that I’ve made this pie, I’ve never ever ever had a problem with this. Just make sure you are ready so it doesn’t catch you off guard. Have an easy way to pour and whisk at the same time. And pour slowly. You will be just fine.
3) Strain that stuff. Even if you think you didn’t get any lumps, think again. No matter how careful you are, it’s really easy for a small cornstarch lump to sneak in. It may taste fine without straining, but straining through a fine mesh strainer will just take it to the next level. (Tammy does this with her caramel sauce recipe as well. It’s a good rule of thumb to do it with anything where you are wanting a perfectly smooth texture to finish.)
4) Cover to prevent a skin. No one wants pudding skin. That just sounds gross. So a little plastic wrap right before chilling will do the trick.
5) Toast extra coconut. Because, believe me, you will eat half of it while preparing this pie!
Special Tools Recommended for this Recipe:
2 to 3.5 quart heavy sauce pan (I like Calphalon or All-Clad, and I prefer to use a pan with a stainless steel bottom versus non-stick since you will be whisking the mixture quite a bit and don’t want to scratch a non-stick surface)
Metal Whisk (we kind of love flat whisks)
Pie Pan (I really like my Pyrex 9.5″ deep dish so there’s lots of room for all that puddin’! Also it has convenient little handles to carry it. Bonus.)
Coconut Cream Pie with Chocolate Painted Crust
For the Pie Shell:
- One single-pastry pie crust try this all-shortening flaky pie crust, all-butter flaky pie crust, or combination flaky pie crust, baked as per directions
- 2 ounces dark chocolate
For the Filling:
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk about 1 1/2 cans
- 4 in large egg yolks well-beaten, medium-sized bowl
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Topping:
- 1 1/2 cups whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup shredded coconut toasted
For the Shell:
Bake pie shell as per individual directions. Allow to cool completely.
In a small dish, melt chocolate in microwave in 30 second increments at half power, stirring in- between, until completely melted.
Using a basting brush, "paint" your cooled pie shell on the bottom and sides with the melted chocolate.
Let stand until chocolate is set and hardened, about 10 minutes. (You can throw this in the fridge or freezer to speed things up if needed).
For the Filling:
In a large saucepan, mix together sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
Stir in 1 cup of the coconut milk until smooth.
Over medium heat, cook until mixture begins to thicken, whisking constantly.
When mixture begins to thicken, add in remaining two cups of coconut milk in a slow stream, whisking constantly.
Continue to stir until mixture continues to thicken and begins to bubble. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat while completing the next step.
Taking a large ladle, put between 1 1/2 to 2 cups of the hot milk mixture into a liquid measuring cup for easy pouring.
Slowly pour hot milk mixture into beaten egg yolks, whisking rapidly (with a whisk or a fork) to prevent lumping.
Return saucepan to heat and slowly pour yolk mixture back into remaining milk mixture, continuing to whisk rapidly.
Reduce heat to low. Cook for about two more minutes or until mixture is very thick, stirring constantly.
Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla extract until butter has melted completely.
Set aside filling to cool slightly, stirring occasionally, to prevent a skin.
Using a fine mesh sieve, strain pudding into prepared pie shell and spread evenly.
Place plastic wrap directly on surface of filling and refrigerate pie until filling is set (about 3 hours).
For the Topping:
To serve, beat whipping cream in medium bowl until stiff peaks form.
Add powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat briefly until incorporated.
Spoon whipped cream onto filling and swirl to make an attractive design.
Sprinkle top with toasted coconut. (To toast coconut, simply put shredded coconut in pan over medium heat and stir periodically until toasted, about 5-7 minutes.)
Recipe NotesChange it Up:
Substitute regular cow's milk for the coconut milk. Increase butter to 4 tablespoons, and vanilla extract to 2 teaspoons. After adding these ingredients, stir 1 cup flaked coconut into the pudding.
Dress it Down:
Not into chocolate? Just leave out the painted crust. No prob.
Which pie crust to use? Try one of these:
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