Our triple coconut cream pie turns gray today for Brain Cancer Awareness Month (#GrayMay). We’re celebrating the lives of everyone currently fighting brain cancer and honoring those who’ve lost the battle including my amazing, fun, and totally mood-lifting Mama♡.
So, whether you’re just here looking for a good coconut cream pie recipe or you need an easy way to help raise awareness for Brain Cancer Research in your own community (or for someone you love), we hope you’ll share this recipe with everyone you know. The goal in sharing this recipe on your social media is to help us grow support for the continued bipartisan legislation for increased funding to help find better treatments and a possible cure, and to help families currently struggling with this disease while we wait.
How Can I Help Raise Awareness and Do a little Good for Brain Cancer Awareness Month?
Besides sharing this post on your social media, there are lots of ways you can help raise awareness and actually make a difference with very little effort. Everything from sending an email to your local and state government officials asking them to increase the current bipartisan funding for brain cancer research, to donating as little as $1 to the National Brain Tumor Society, or helping the awesome team over at Angel’s For Change help keep life-saving medicines in supply, or even starting your own fundraiser where you live.
Even the smallest actions help but we know life gets busy and not everyone has the money, the time, or the desire to do much (especially putting on big fundraisers). If this sounds like you, a simple share of this post on social media is more than enough and greatly appreciated. If you’re interested in learning about the public policy agenda that we’re supporting in Congress, click the link just below, or visit the National Brain Tumor Society to find out more. Below are just a few good reasons to help.
- Glioblastoma is the most commonly occurring primary malignant brain tumor, accounting for 14.3% of all tumors and 49.1% of all malignant tumors.
- Brain tumors are the leading cause of cancer-related death among children ages 0-14 years.
- Brain tumors are the most common solid cancer in children ages 0-14 years and an estimated 4,170 new cases of childhood brain tumors are expected to be diagnosed in 2022 at the time of writing this post.
Why We Chose To Go Gray in May with Black Sesame Coconut Cream Pie
Food has always been a great way to reach people. And coconut cream pie was one of my Mom’s favorite desserts — that love stemmed from her childhood when her mother would bake up 10 or so pies just ahead of the Christmas holidays before all “the company” arrived. Everyone loved my grandmother’s cooking and her pies were no exception. And Mom did a lot of reminiscing over the years about her favorite one of the bunch — Granny’s coconut cream pie.
Coconut cream pie is also the last dessert I ever made for my Mom for her 71st birthday, just a couple of weeks before she was diagnosed (grade IV GBM Multiforme). She’d been sick for a while at this point and we’d replaced anything processed or unnatural with whole, homemade, nutritious foods that steadily improved her overall health over the course of some months. But for her birthday, I wanted to make her a real dessert — one that I hoped would bring up lots of those warm memories of her childhood peeking up at her mom’s pies as they cooled on the ledge of the kitchen window.
While food is medicine and should be nourishing, and life-sustaining, sometimes we just need a big ole bite of comfort and nostalgia (oftentimes in the form of something our mom used to make us). And after all of the birthday festivities were over, she told me that it was the best birthday she’d ever had in her life which to be sure, says way more about her amazing friends and our family than the pie itself♡. So you can imagine this dessert is even more special to me now and why I chose this pie to turn gray. I used a hint of Japanese black sesame paste and although it still tastes like the same delicious coconut cream pie we all know and love, it has just a bit of amazing “toasty” flavor in the backaground. It’s delicious.
Is Turning a Pie Gray Going to Make Much of a Difference?
I’m not sure, but the intention is pure, and we’re hoping that you’ll help us spread the word by sharing this post with your friends and family. Even if it only reaches a few people, it’s for a great cause and may even plant the seed for helping someone in your own community. It’s just the first step of many that’ll hopefully help us do a lot more good for families out there like ours.
It’s been two years since we lost our Mom (at the time of writing this post) and it’s still raw (as anyone who’s lost someone so precious understands). But we’re excited because we have a lot of great things planned for the future of this site. I’m working hard to help realize its full potential of becoming a resource for all families wanting to cook and eat more at home or improve their health a little, and also for anyone who may be a caretaker for someone with an illness or disease (like cancer, diabetes, heart or liver issues, and more). For now, we‘re taking baby steps to get there until we don’t have to anymore. And in the meantime, we hope you’ll all be there with us as we grow, evolve, get better, and start reaching some of those lofty goals of doing a little more good a lot more often.
Early on, my Mom gave us the gift of believing we could achieve anything we dreamed of as long as we knew with certainty in our hearts that it was possible and were willing to work hard enough and long enough to see it through. I’ve lived my entire life with this belief and it’s opened up a lot of opportunities for me, but more than anything, I can’t wait to see where it takes us now so we can help more Moms, Dads, Brothers, Sisters, Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents and Kiddos out there who need a little support.
Now, It’s Time For The Pie♥️.
What is Black Sesame Paste?
Black sesame paste is often used in Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian cuisines in both sweet and savory dishes. It’s made from ground black sesame seeds and is often combined with either sesame oil (for savory dishes) or honey or sugar (for sweet dishes). It lends a nutty roasted flavor and aroma to whatever you’re adding it to — and depending on your needs, it can either be a really subtle background flavor (like in this recipe) or more prominent. Like regular tahini (ground white sesame seeds), it’s delicious and produces a lot of natural oil when it’s ground so be sure to gently stir it up before using it in recipes.
Black Sesame Triple Coconut Cream Pie Ingredients
Although we love the subtle nutty flavor the black sesame paste gives this coconut cream pie, if you just want a really good old-fashioned coconut cream pie, omit the black sesame paste called for in the recipe. And if you want to save even more time, buy a pre-made pie crust.
Single Pie Crust Ingredients (or you’re favorite ready-made pie crust)
(You may choose to use butter only or lard only as long as you use a total of 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon of total fat in this single-crust recipe. Lard and butter are the best of both worlds and highly recommended.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (120g)
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons lard pinched off into 1/2 inch pieces (38g)
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces (38g)
- 1 teaspoon sugar (4g)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (1g)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons ice-cold water (30 to 45g)
Coconut Cream Ingredients
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup cornstarch (30g)
- 1 (14-ounce) can of full-fat coconut milk (400g)
- 1 cup whole milk (or half and half) (240g)
- 2/3 cup sugar (130g)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (1g)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean powder (optional but recommended)
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (use sweetened coconut for a sweeter pie) (75g)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons black sesame paste (optional to make the pie gray) (6g)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (30g)
Whipped Cream + Garnish Ingredients
- 1 cup heavy cream, chilled in the freezer for 15 minutes (240g)
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, or more to taste (30g)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (4g)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup dehydrated crispy coconut flakes, or unsweetened shredded coconut
How to Make Black Sesame Triple Coconut Cream Pie
This recipe is pretty straightforward. All you need is a single blind-baked pie crust (ready-made or homemade) and a few minutes for the coconut cream to cook. The hardest part is waiting for the pie to set up in the refrigerator to get just cold enough to eat.
- Make the pie crust (If using a ready-made pie crust, skip to step #5 below). Measure the flour, salt, and sugar (if using) in a medium bowl and whisk everything to combine. Add the butter and lard and place the bowl into the freezer for at least 30 minutes to chill.
- Cut the fat into the flour mixture. Using a dough cutter (or two butter knives), cut the butter and lard into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse pea-sized crumbles.
- Add the cold water. Start adding the cold water to the mixture 1 tablespoon (15g) at a time while simultaneously stirring the mixture with a fork to incorporate the water into the flour until the mixture leaves the sides of the bowl. At this point, grab a handful of the dough and if it holds together when squeezed, it has enough water. If it crumbles, continue adding just a bit more water until the mixture holds itself together, but isn’t wet or sticky.
- Chill the dough. Form a flattened disc, wrap it in sustainable plastic wrap, and chill the dough in the fridge for at least 20 minutes but even better for one hour. If you’re in a hurry, place it in the freezer for 20 to 25 minutes or until firm but not frozen.
- Roll out the dough & get it into the pie plate. When the dough has rested and is completely chilled, working as quickly as possible, place the disc onto a lightly floured countertop (or between 2 pieces of parchment paper), and using a floured rolling pin, roll the pastry out to approximately 1/4-inch thickness. Using your rolling pin, gently roll up the dough back onto itself on the rolling pin (see photos) and transfer it to the pie plate. Gently unroll it into the pie plate. Press the dough around and gently into, the sides of the pie plate. Trim the dough if needed leaving approximately 1 inch extra beyond the perimeter of the plate. Pinch or fold the pie dough into a decorative pattern all the way around being sure to secure the dough to the pie plate to ensure a well-sealed edge.
- Chill the dough-lined pie plate. Place the pie plate into the freezer for 30 minutes to chill and firm up ensuring a flaky crust.
- Blind-Bake the pie crust. When ready to bake, prick holes in the bottom and the sides to prevent the crust from bubbling, line it with parchment paper, and place dried beans, rice, or ceramic pie weights directly on top and bake in a preheated 475°F/245C° oven for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown being sure to remove the parchment paper with pie weights during the last 5 minutes of baking to ensure the bottom is fully cooked. Remove from oven to a wire rack to cool completely before filling.
- Make the coconut cream. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and cornstarch until no streaks remain and set aside. In a medium saucepot set over medium-high heat, add the coconut milk, milk (or half-and-half if using), sugar, salt, and vanilla bean powder (if using) and bring the mixture to a boil and cook for just 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the sesame paste and whisk to combine.
- Temper the egg yolk mixture & finish the coconut cream. Add about 1/4 cup of the hot coconut cream mixture to the egg yolk-cornstarch mixture whisking constantly so the eggs so do not curdle. Turn the heat back up to medium-high and bring the cream to a boil. Simultaneously add the tempered egg mixture to the coconut cream mixture in a slow steady stream while whisking vigorously. Continue cooking and whisking for about 2 minutes until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Turn off the heat, add the shredded coconut, vanilla extract, coconut extract (if using), and butter, and whisk well to combine.
- Fill and chill the pie. Pour the warm coconut cream mixture into the cooled pie crust, smooth it out evenly, and cover it with recyclable cling film to prevent it from forming a “skin” on top. Once the cream has cooled to room temperature, place the pie into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, but even better overnight. *If the coconut cream is ready before the pie crust has fully cooled, add a layer of parchment paper or sustainable cling film to the top of the cream in the pot to keep it from forming a skin.
- Make the whipped cream. In a medium-sized bowl using a handheld whisk, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the heavy cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar and beat on medium-high for about 3 to 4 minutes, or until the cream holds stiff peaks and will hold its shape. *The colder the heavy cream is, the faster it will whip up.
- Decorate the pie. Top the coconut cream pie with whipped cream by either piping it on in a decorative pattern, or simply spreading it out with a spatula. Sprinkle it with toasted coconut flakes and place it back into the refrigerator to chill for a while longer, or eat it right away, Enjoy!
Black Sesame Triple Coconut Cream Pie recipe step-by-step photos
Why Does My Coconut Cream Pie Get Watery?
There are generally a couple of different reasons cream pies (including coconut cream pie) get watery. Below are ways to avoid a water cream pie whether you’re topping it with whipped cream or a meringue topping.
- To avoid a watery coconut cream pie (or any cream pie) that’s being topped with whipped cream, make sure you cool the pie completely before adding the whipped cream and refrigerating. Otherwise, the filling will sweat and melt the cream creating a watery pie.
- To avoid a watery coconut cream pie with meringue topping, it’s best to pipe the meringue onto the coconut cream while it’s still hot which seals the meringue and helps it cook. Also, you need to spread the meringue all the way to the edges leaving no gaps between the crust and the meringue. Do not overbake or underbake the meringue which will cause it to weep and become watery.
Tips & Techniques for the Flakiest Pie Crust Every Time
Making a tender flaky pie crust is easy when you follow a few simple techniques. If you’re new to making pie crusts or pastry dough of any kind, head over here to this post for all you need to know before you get started.
Can You Freeze Coconut Cream Pie?
While technically, it’s not encouraged to freeze coconut cream pie, you totally can. Just know that the interior gets very hard (icy even) and you’ll need ample time for it to thaw out. It’s best to wrap whole coconut cream pie (or individual slices) with sustainable cling film and then store it in freezer bags or another air-tight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw coconut cream pie overnight in the refrigerator and allow it to temper on the counter until it’s the perfect temperature before serving.
How Do You Store Coconut Cream Pie?
Do I need to store coconut pie with meringue in the refrigerator? Yes, you should always refrigerate cream pies. As mentioned above, you can technically freeze coconut cream pie, but if you’re looking to make the pie and eat it the same day or serve it a couple of days later, use these coconut cream pie storage tips outlined below:
- Store for 2 to 3 days in advance of serving it. Place 4 to 5 skewers into the pie making sure they stick up above the meringue or whipped cream topping. Wrap the pie with sustainable cling film and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days. Alternatively, place it in a cake-keeper and pop it into the fridge if you have the space.
- Serving it the same day you make it. If you’re serving the pie the same day you make it, there’s no need to wrap it. Just pop it into the fridge uncovered or into a cake-keeper in the fridge until ready to serve. Just be sure your refrigerator is free of any smells and you don’t place the pie next to pungent food items like onions, etc. because it can absorb those flavors.
How Long Does Coconut Cream Pie Last?
Generally, you can store coconut cream pie and coconut meringue pies for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator before they need to be consumed.
Looking for a Little More Pie Inspiration?
Above are a few of our favorite pie recipes that we think you might also enjoy.
- The Very Best Southern Pecan Pie
- The Best Key Lime Pie with Biscoff Cookie Crust
- Easy Strawberry-Rhubarb Cream Cheese Pie (No-Bake)
- Cherry Crumb-Crunch Pie w/Scratch Made Cherry Pie Filling + Streusel Topping
- Best Ever Arkansas Possum Pie (100% Scratch-Made)
- Crispy + Flaky Southern Fried Cherry Pies (Best Ever)
- Numero Uno Sour-Cherry Pie Filling (From Scratch)
- Crispy + Flaky Southern Strawberry-Rhubarb Fried Pies (Best Ever Hand Pies)
- Best Ever Triple Coconut Cream Pie with Mile-High Meringue Topping
- A Better Homemade Turkey Pot Pie (The Ultimate Pot Pie Recipe)