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Renee's Tropical Coconut Cream Pie

Renee’s Tropical Coconut Cream Pie

Renée Robinson

A Coconut Cream Pie with Pineapple and Lime? Absolutely!

Pie sits at the head of the class for me when it comes to desserts. I love some and like others. Coconut cream pie has always fallen into the “like” category. I fully understand its appeal, but it has always struck me as one note. As I said, I still liked it, but I didn’t love it. 

So, when I decided to bake one, I knew I was going to change things up. I started out by deciding to add some pineapple for some brighter notes. My son suggested taking a can of crushed pineapple and cooking it and its juices down until it had almost caramelized. The flavors changed profoundly. It was deeper and the tropical flavor was more pronounced. 

Then as I was getting ready to heat up the coconut milk and whole milk, we were throwing around flavor ideas and he suggested adding some whole black peppercorns to the milks. After letting them steep for a few minutes, I strained them out and a subtle peppery bite was left behind. I knew we were on to something really good.

At the end of the custard making process, I added the pineapple, a couple tablespoons of fresh lime juice, along with vanilla and a little coconut extract. This provided the hit of tartness it needed. Now it was only a matter of letting the custard cool and chill to see what I thought of the overall flavor and texture. I intentionally made the custard extra thick because I knew what texture I wanted and that I was going to fold in some lightly whipped cream. I thought a half cup of cream would do the trick, but it didn’t. It required a full cup of cream before the taste and texture were what I had in mind.

Slice of Renee's Tropical Coconut Cream Pie

I then spooned it into the baked and cooled pie shell and chilled it for a couple of hours. I topped it with some more lightly sweetened whipped cream, toasted coconut shreds and freshly grated lime zest. My friends, I now have a pie that ranks in the “love” category. The taste testers in my home declare it one of the best pies they’ve ever tasted and I wholeheartedly agree. This pie is ridiculously good. And seeing as it’s made in a deep dish, only a small slice is needed to satiate my sweet tooth.

Renee's Tropical Coconut Cream Pie

Recipe by Renée Robinson
Servings

10 - 12

servings

Coconut milk, flaked coconut, crushed pineapple, lime juice and zest, plus a little black pepper create one of the best cream pies you'll ever taste.

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Ingredients

  • Pie crust for a 9 or 10 inch deep dish pie, fully baked and cooled. I recommend either Milk Street’s Single-Crust Pie Dough or Jacques Pepin’s. Either one of these recipes makes enough dough for the recommended size of the pie dish. Just remember to line the uncooked crust with foil or parchment paper and fill it with plenty of pie weights before baking. I will provide links to both recipes in the Notes at the end of the recipe.

  • 20 oz. 20 can crushed pineapple in pineapple juice, not syrup

  • 6 large 6 egg yolks

  • 1/3 cup 1/3 cornstarch

  • 1 13.5 ounce can 1 unsweetened coconut milk

  • 1 cup 1 whole milk

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 table salt

  • 2/3 cup 2/3 granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons 2 whole black peppercorns

  • 2 tablespoons 2 lime juice

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons 1 1/2 vanilla extract, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon 1/2 coconut extract

  • 2 tablespoons 2 salted butter, cut into 4 pieces

  • 1 1/2 cups 1 1/2 sweetened flaked coconut, plus additional 1/4 cup for topping the pie

  • 1 2/3 cups 1 2/3 heavy cream, divided

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons 1 1/2 powdered sugar

  • 1 teaspoon 1 freshly grated lime zest

Directions

  • Cook the pineapple and its juices in a 12 inch non-stick skillet over medium heat until all the juices have evaporated and the pineapple has taken on a deep golden color and is almost paste-like in texture. Set aside too cool.
  • Whisk together the egg yolks and cornstarch in a medium sized bowl. In a large saucepan stir together the coconut milk, whole milk, salt, sugar and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, strain and put back into the same pot. Bring the milk back to a simmer and lower the heat. Whisk 1 cup of the hot milk into the egg yolks, a little at a time. Add the egg yolk mixture back into the pan of milk and it should start bubbling immediately. While constantly whisking, allow it to bubble for 2 minutes.
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the lime juice, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, coconut extract, butter, 1 1/2 cups coconut, and reserved pineapple. Stir until everything is well mixed. Place the custard in a bowl, cover the entire surface with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled - about 2 hours.
  • Beat 1 cup of the heavy cream until the soft peak stage. Stir a third of the whipped cream into the chilled custard in order to loosen it. Fold the remaining whipped cream into the custard. Spoon into the cooled pie crust. Cover the entire surface with plastic wrap and allow it to chill several hours, or overnight.
  • Toast the remaining 1/4 cup coconut in a dry skillet until golden brown. Set aside.
  • Whip the remaining 2/3 cup heavy cream, powdered sugar, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla to soft peaks. Spoon on top of the pie. Sprinkle with the toasted coconut and grated lime zest. Store in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Equipment

  • 9 or 10 inch deep dish pie dish

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