Joe Licata’s Best-Ever Coconut Cream Pie

Photo Credit
Becky Luigart-Stayner
Makes 8 servings.
The Old Farmer's Almanac Everyday Baking cookbook
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“Joe is my brother-in-law and a connoisseur of New Jersey diner desserts. He says that this is the best he’s ever had and I believe him.” –The Old Farmer’s Almanac Everyday Baking Cookbook

For Crust:


The Almond Crumb Crust goes great with this filling. Prepare and prebake the crust as directed. Set aside.

For Filling:

1/2 cup sugar
3-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in a medium-size heavy saucepan, preferably nonstick. Whisk in the milk and yolks. Place over medium heat and cook, whisking until the mixture thickens and starts to boil—about 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, one piece at a time. Whisk in the vanilla, coconut extract, and coconut.

Pour the filling into the pie shell and smooth the top with a spoon. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the filling and smooth with your fingers to remove any air gaps. (The plastic keeps a “skin” from forming.) Transfer the pie to a rack and cool thoroughly. Refrigerate overnight.

For Topping:

1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
3/4 cup cold heavy cream or whipping cream
3 tablespoons sifted confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Put the coconut into a skillet over moderate heat and toast, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until golden brown. Immediately transfer to a plate.

About 10 minutes before you plan to serve the pie, chill a bowl and your electric mixer’s beaters for 5 minutes. Beat the cream until it holds soft peaks, then beat in the confectioners’ sugar. Add the vanilla and beat until the cream is stiff but not grainy.

Spread the cream over the pie and sprinkle with toasted coconut.

About The Author

Ken Haedrich

Ken Haedrich is one of America’s leading baking authorities and a prolific writer—the author of 17 cookbooks and hundreds of magazine articles. Ken has received numerous accolades for his work and is the recipient of The Julia Child Cookbook Award. Read More from Ken Haedrich

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