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Desserts - Pies Lee Bailey's The Way I Cook


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Servings: 6 to 8

The recipe calls for a coconut crust, but you could, of course use a pastry one.


Coconut Crust
2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut (or grated fresh)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

cup cornstarch
cup sugar
teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2/3 cup cream of coconut (I used coconut milk)
3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (or grated fresh)

3 large egg whites, at room temperature
teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons sugar

cup shredded unsweetened coconut


To make crust
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine coconut with melted butter. Toss with a fork until moistened, then use your hands to pat the mixture evenly into a 9-inch pie pan. Press into place so it adheres to the pan. Bake the crust for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and set. Let cool completely.

To make filling
Combine cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a large saucepan. Slowly add milk and cream of coconut, stirring constantly, over moderate heat until thickened.

In a separate bowl, whisk together yolks and about 1/3 cup of the hot milk mixture. Stir to warm yolks, then add warmed yolks to the milk mixture and continue to cook over low heat, stirring constantly and taking care not to let custard boil, until thick and smooth.

Off the heat, stir in vanilla and butter, then fold in coconut. Cover with a round of wax paper pressed directly on surface of custard to keep film from forming on top. Let cool completely.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

To make meringue
Combine egg whites with cream of tartar, salt, and vanilla. Beat at low speed just until foamy. Increase speed and beat until whites form soft peaks. Add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, and beat faster until fluffy and stiff but not hard. Do not over beat.

Pour filling into the pie shell and smooth the top. Mound the meringue in the center and spread out to the edges, making sure meringue seals the filling completely, going all the way out to the crust.

Sprinkle the coconut over the top and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until set and browned. Let cool on a rack to room temperature. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

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