Our testers enjoyed the winning pie so much that one said it was her new favorite dessert (and she loves chocolate!). It’s got everything you want in a coconut pie: rich filling with plenty of coconut flavor, a lightly sweet whipped cream topping and the added kick of freshly toasted coconut on top. Petersen makes it for the senior citizen residents at Brookdale Corsicana. “They rave about this pie,” Petersen says, “and the facility administrator thinks it is over the moon!”
1 9-inch pie crust, premade or homemade
2 cups sweetened coconut flakes, divided use
1 1/2 cups coconut milk (not low-fat)
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
5 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup (1/4 stick) butter
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons coconut extract, divided use
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/8 cup powdered sugar
1. Prebake pie crust and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spread 1/2 cup coconut flakes evenly on a baking sheet. Place sheet in oven 8–10 minutes or until coconut begins to toast. Remove from oven to cool and set aside.
3. Pour coconut milk and half-and-half into a medium-size bowl. Add egg yolks and whisk together. Set aside.
4. Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a medium-size saucepan. Whisk egg mixture into pan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens and boils, about 15 minutes. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in remaining untoasted coconut flakes, butter, vanilla and 1 teaspoon coconut extract.
5. Pour filling into pie crust and refrigerate until cool.
6. Whip cream in a stand mixer on high speed. Once it begins to thicken, add powdered sugar and remaining coconut extract. Mound whipped cream on top of cooled pie. Sprinkle with reserved toasted coconut. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
A graham cracker pie crust works well, too.