I had a heavenly coconut pie at my mother-in-law’s over Christmas weekend. She found the recipe in a cookbook she found while cleaning out her mom’s house. The original recipe calls for adding whipped topping at the end but my MIL combined two recipes and used a meringue from a chocolate pie recipe to top this coconut pie. I swear to you, angels sang with every bite of this pie – it was that good. I wish I had a picture to add but I haven’t made this pie myself yet.
She made the pie Christmas Eve and I didn’t see her until December 26th. When she pulled that half-eaten pie from the fridge, I was amazed that the meringue wasn’t wet or sweaty at all. It was still clinging to the custard part of the pie instead of sliding around on top and was as smooth and creamy as any meringue I’d ever tasted so I had to know immediately how she made her meringue. She said the recipe called for you to boil water, cornstarch, and sugar together and let it cool before whipping it into the egg white. I never heard of this but after eating that pie, I’d stand on my head and sing songs to get meringue that perfect.
The other awesome feature of this recipe is that you start all the ingredients cold so you don’t have to temper your beaten eggs. It’s a step saved and if you’re not used to making custard pies, tempering can be tricky. It’s where most rookies will blow it so this recipe is great for a custard novice. Since this is two recipes stitched together, I’m calling it Patchwork Coconut Pie.
Patchwork Coconut Pie
For the coconut custard:
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups milk (whole milk is best)
4 egg yolks, slightly beaten (save the whites for the meringue)
2 tbsp softened butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup shredded coconut with a little more to top the meringue
1 9″ pie shell
Pre-bake pie shell. See the note below about starting the liquid for the meringue first. Blend together milk and egg yolks in a big bowl or measuring cup and have ready next to the stove. In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Turn the heat on to medium-low and gradually blend in the milk and egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil for one more minute then remove from heat and add butter, vanilla, and shredded coconut. Pour into pie shell right away and set aside for now while we make the meringue.
For the meringue:
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp + 6 tbsp sugar, separated
1/2 cup water
pinch of salt
3 egg whites
In a small saucepan, cook the water, cornstarch, and sugar together until clear. Set aside and allow it to cool completely. **NOTE**You should probably do this step before you start the coconut custard so it can cool by the time you’re ready for it. ** Add a pinch of salt to three egg whites and beat until mixture forms soft peaks. Slowly add cooked mixture, beating until creamy. Add the last 6 tbsp of sugar gradually, beating again until very creamy. Pile onto pie, top with some additional shredded coconut, and bake at 375 degrees for about fifteen minutes or until the peaks are slightly browned.
Chill pie before eating. And then enjoy the chorus of angels while you eat.