It’s 3.14, people, and you know what that means.  It’s Pi Day!  It’s the one food holiday I make sure to celebrate each year.  Sure, most of us make pies for Thanksgiving, but those tend to be the classics – pumpkin, pecan, etc.  I like Pi Day because it gives me a chance to bake a new pie I haven’t tried yet, and the very date on the calendar is a perfectly legit reason.  As I do every year at this time, I mulled over many choices in my mind, considering both sweet and savory options.  This time it was coconut cream pie I couldn’t get out of my mind.  Believe it or not, I’ve never actually tried coconut cream pie before this.  Newsflash (to probably only myself) – it’s fabulous.

Never having tried another version, obviously I have no basis for comparison, but I loved this pie.  The coconut custard filling is silky smooth and luscious without being too rich.  A cloud of freshly whipped cream on top makes nearly any pie better, and this is certainly no exception.  I went the extra mile and made fresh coconut curls for the top (tutorial coming next week) – such fun and so pretty.  I just love the way they look!  Are you celebrating Pi Day with pie?  I want to know what flavors you all are making!

And as always on this day, I would like to dedicate this pi(e) to the world’s best calculus teacher (and almost certainly the world’s best teacher), Mr. Strawn.  Thanks for being awesome!

  • Prep 30 minutes
  • Cook about 40 minutes
  • Yield about 8-10 servings


  • 1 (9-inch) blind-baked pie crust*
  • 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks, melted
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 tbsp. cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • For topping: 

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Toasted coconut curls (or toasted shredded coconut)


  • 01

    Be sure the blind-baked pie crust is completely cooled before proceeding.  With a pastry brush or small spatula, brush a thin coat of melted bittersweet chocolate over the inside of the pie crust.  This will act as a barrier between the crust and the filling, preventing the crust from becoming soggy.  Chill about 10 minutes or until the chocolate is set.

  • 02

    To make the filling, place the egg yolks in a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup and whisk briefly.  In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk, sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Bring the mixture just barely to a simmer over medium heat.  Slowly add a bit of the coconut milk mixture to the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly to prevent the eggs from curdling.  Continue adding until at least half of the liquid has been added to the bowl.  Return the coconut-egg yolk mixture to the saucepan and whisk to blend.  Continue to heat, stirring and whisking frequently, until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken.  The mixture should thicken significantly.  Remove the pan from the heat.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps, then smooth the coconut custard in an even layer in the prepared pie shell.  Cover with a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the coconut custard (this will prevent a skin from forming).  Transfer the pie plate to the refrigerator and let chill until well set, at least 4 hours.

  • 03

    Just before serving, combine the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment.  Whip on medium-high speed until medium-stiff peaks form, being careful not to over beat.  Blend in the vanilla.  Remove the plastic wrap and smooth the whipped cream in a fluffy layer over the coconut custard.  Top with toasted coconut as desired.  Slice and serve.

  • 04

    *To blind-bake a pie crust, preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Roll pie dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch disc.  Place it in a 9-inch pie plate, trimming away the excess and creating decorative edges as desired.  Prick the bottom and sides of the crust with the tines of a fork.  Line the crust with a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill with baking beads.  (If you don’t have baking beads, dried beans or rice also work.)  Bake 15-20 minutes.  Remove the baking beads and foil and bake about 5-10 minutes more, until light golden.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.