Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Coconut Cream Pies & Puffs

Dad’s final words out the door yesterday morning: could I watch the World Series with him that evening, as well as Jeopardy?  And oh, could I also make him a coconut cream pie that we could eat while watching the game?  What could I say.  This is just the reason why I try to always have some pie shells in the freezer, usually store-bought Marie Callender’s, which is a pie store in Southern California that also sells pie shells at many grocery stores.  But as I started to bake the shell for the pie, I thought about what I’d like, which is less pie, but the same taste.


Inspiration struck, and I got out my mixer and a sauce pan.  I baked the pie shell, then made a half recipe of dessert creme puffs; you can see an older post I did on how to make these HERE


The filling is the same for a coconut cream pie or coconut creme puffs:



3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
3 cups milk
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract or one vanilla bean (seeded)
1 1/2 cups shredded or flaked coconut

For the pie topping:
Two cups fresh cream, whipped with a teaspoon of vanilla and sugar to taste

One saucepan
One small bowl


It’s very easy to make: mix the sugar and corn starch together in a bowl with a small amount of the milk.  Add to the rest of the milk, in a saucepan, and heat slightly.  Break the egg yolks into the small bowl you were just using, then blend a small amount of the heated milk with the egg yolks and blend, then return all to the saucepan.  You are making a custard.  Cook over moderate heat until slightly bubbling and thick.  Add the butter at the end of cooking, off heat, and stir to melt and blend. Add the vanilla.


My family loves coconut so much, I always look for it and buy it.  At left is commercial shredded coconut, at center the fine coconut powder I buy in France, and right, the fresh coconut flakes I bought at the Persian market last weekend~


If I were more ambitious, I’d shred fresh coconut, but it sounds like a lot of work, so it’s easier to just buy it.  I like the French coconut because it doesn’t have added sugar, though it is a little dry, but it gives a coconut taste without too much texture, which is fine for many recipes.  The coconut I got at the Persian market is really good though, and tender and fresh.  I’m going to use a combination of these two for my pie and puffs.


When your custard is cooked on the stove, let it cool for a minute, then add the coconut off heat.  Spoon into your pie shell.  Set the pie in the refrigerator to cool.


I baked the pie shell, made the puffs soon after and made the filling in rapid order.  I made just a little extra filling this time, enough to pipe the 42 little puffs I made.  One-half puff recipe was one cookie sheet of tightly spaced, bite-size puffs.  It was plenty, and they looked really good with the coconut filling~


And then they got a dusting of powdered sugar and went to chill out until after dinner.


While I finished the puffs, the pie was chilling.  And then I whipped the cream, using a mixer.  I use a big fat piping tip for the whipped cream on top.  Presentation is important for a good pie, and I like a pie like this that is piled high with piped cream. I usually keep going until I use all the cream.  Pile it up in the center after you have completed one single layer.  This is also the tip I use for cupcakes and meringue or cream on mini tarts; I use it a lot; it’s a great one to have and it costs about $2.


Lastly, toast a little more coconut in the oven under the broiler, tossing it around slightly with your fingers to toast evenly.  But watch it carefully so it doesn’t burn.  This is borderline over-toasted since I was making two recipes at once and a little distracted, but it’s still ok.  Be sure to let the toasted coconut cool before you sprinkle it on top of the cold whipped cream or you’ll melt the cream.  I served the puffs in a pretty footed pedestal plate. 


These two recipes took me an hour to make, start to finish.  Not bad, though I’ve made them both so many times, I can manage the two recipes at once.  My parents easily ate their way through the creme puffs, and showed great restraint by saving the whole pie for tonight.  It’s much better having chilled for a day anyway.  Either one is easy to make, and as far as “American” desserts are concerned, very near the top of my list.  And if you like creme puffs but never had them with coconut filling, give it a try.  Very good party food too, with the holidays coming up. 


  1. Like the sound of your coconut filling for the choux pastry cases. I usually use a French creme patisserie recipe. always nice to try something different.

  2. Oh Andrea, now how are you going to get these desserts in the mail to me!!??

    Beautifully done!

    The Arts by Karena

  3. OMG--wish I had a cream puff right now.

  4. Yum, now I am craving for the coconut pie. One of my favorites!

  5. Yum, now I am now craving coconut. One of my all time favorites......

  6. Oh, Andrea,
    Next time tell your Dad, I would gladly what any programs he wishes to then take delight in all his yummy decadent desserts. Also my daughter and I make every dessert we can using cocnut.
    If it does not call for it then...we will add it in :)

    Thank you my sweet beautiful California French friend for taking the time to grace your beauty over at my place for a visit leaving me a beautiful comment for the simple brocante pieces that just sing to me too.
    The French have a saying for there French flea market brocante's, ( Brocante ) meaning... Not quite valuable but, not quite worthless.
    I guess this this how I see the little brocante piece I add to my French cottage :)
    Along with the little treasured child's market basket I won when I was so new in blogging from you.
    It's sits in its special place adding just the right kind of rightness to its display.

    See you soon, and all that you inspire.



  7. Bonjour la tentatrice !!
    Rien qu'en te lisant je viens de prendre une taille supplémentaire !... Mais que du bonheur ! Ta recette et tes belles photos me donnent l'eau à la bouche.
    Hummm !
    Je te fais de gros bisous.

  8. So beautiful, sweet and made with love.
    Your are one special daughter, Andrea!

  9. I've made this recipe several times now. It is ALWAYS a hit!!