Coconut is one of those flavors that I didn’t come to appreciate until I was an adult– I hated macaroons as a kid, along with Almond Joy and Mounds candy bars, and so coconut cream pie never appealed to me. Now, of course, I enjoy coconut on occasion (though it’s still not in my top 5)– and who can resist a pudding pie? Not me.
I had an extra refrigerated pie crust that I needed to use up, and when I saw the can of Coco Lopez in my pantry I knew that I’d hit on an idea for dessert. That being said, for some reason I really dislike making custards that require extra egg yolks (probably because then I’d have extra whites to use up), so all of the custard-based pie recipes were out. Instead I was able to find a recipe that called for instant pudding mix that was whipped up using cream of coconut instead of milk– sounded perfect!
The original recipe had a homemade crust made with coconut and coconut-flavored rum, but since the whole point was to use up a refrigerated crust I skipped that part. I ended up adding some extra coconut extract to make up for the resulting reduction in coconut flavor, and the finished pie was creamy, fluffy, decadently rich, and of course delicious.
Coconut Cream Pie (slightly adapted from A Spicy Perspective)
- 1 pre-made pie crust
- 1 box instant vanilla pudding mix (I used sugar-free)
- 15 ounce cream of coconut (1 can)
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 16 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream, divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1 cup shredded coconut, toasted (just spread the coconut on a baking sheet and bake at 375 for about 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally and checking every 2 minutes)
- Pre-bake pie crust by lining with foil and filling it with pie weights, then baking at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes before removing foil and weights, and baking another 10 minutes or so until golden. Set aside to cool completely.
- In a bowl, whisk together vanilla pudding mix, cream of coconut, and coconut milk for about 2 minutes, until thick. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Whip the heavy cream with vanilla and powdered sugar until fluffy. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add the pudding mixture and continue to beat until smooth.
- Taste your mixture to check if it’s coconut-y enough. If not, add up to 1/2 tsp. coconut extract to taste.
- Fold in HALF of the whipped cream to make your filling.
- Mound filling into cooled pie shell, then top with remaining whipped cream. Chill for at least 4 hours.
- Just before serving, top with toasted coconut.
Note: If you plan on making this the night before, only whip half of the cream (with half of the vanilla and powdered sugar) to fold into the filling, and save the rest of the cream to whip just before serving– that’ll ensure it won’t deflate while chilling.