French Coconut Pie: Heaven in a Crust{34}

French Coconut Pie is currently tied with Shaker Lemon Pie as my favorite winter pie.

I’m a loyal pie guy. If you’re a pie or tart recipe and you do me right—that is, bake up nicely, remain flakey, speak to the sum of the parts, and taste like I’m dining on Cloud 9—I’ll be your best friend for life. I stand by my pie(s). That said, I have a recipe for a coconut pie, make that French coconut custard pie (or more tart in this case) that knocks the socks, shoes, broaches, and band-aids off any other coconut pie I’ve made before. And while most of those were really just gussied up coconut flavored whipped cream pies, this recipe is fully-baked and a top-page contender in any recipe file.

These simple ingredients soar when combined and baked in a crust.

Drawn to those three magic words, French, coconut and pie, I found the original recipe on the website, Taste of Home. I really didn’t change the recipe that much, just upgraded a couple ingredients which released the recipe from its earthbound status. I substituted fresh lemon juice for the vinegar (I mean, you clean windows with that stuff), added lemon zest, and substituted cream for milk. Oh yes, and I swapped out vanilla extract for almond extract. The result: Cloud 9 and step on it! Creamy and intensely flavorful with a rich, custardy structure, the pie is well-suited for baking in a tart pan. (Spreads the love.) A deep-dish pie pan may be too much of a good thing, though I’m willing to test it out in future bake-offs.

Too much pie dough for a tart pan? Nah, take a look at the next photo.

This pie beats the fronds off coconut cream pie (in humble opinion) for flavor, texture, creaminess and delectability. This pie recipe claims southern roots, dreamed up by New Orleans and Charleston cooks who created a delicious (and resourceful) tribute to the fresh coconuts arriving from French Guiana to their port cities. So as with most Southern dessert recipes, I recommend one steps away from the illusion of healthy eating with reduced sugar, skim milk and less butter. This recipe wants nothing to do with such adulterations, and will be a lesser pie for it. So buck up, follow the recipe (for the first time at least) and just serve yourself a thinner slice, should you be abiding to your New Year’s resolution. The coconut pie recipe follows.

Fold the pie dough over toward the center of the tart pan, and press it down on itself to create a double-sided wall.

Coconut custard is right at home in a dough-lined pan.

Don’t overfill, as the custard will rise a bit. Added bonus: Any leftover filling goes in a ramekin for baking with the pie and sampling sooner than later.

Ready for some love’n from the oven.

A thin meringue protects the creamy, coconutty, custardy soul of the pie.

Okay, now I’m just showing off. (Some serious flaky crust going on here. )

French Coconut Custard Pie

Serves 8-12
Meal type Dessert
This pie beats the fronds off coconut cream pie, for flavor, texture and delectability. Next to Shaker Lemon Pie, it's my favorite winter pie. This pie has southern roots, created by New Orleans and Charleston cooks who found a delicious tribute to the fresh coconuts arriving from French Guiana to their port cities. Tom | Tall Clover Farm


  • 3 large eggs (beaten)
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cream (don't skimp, use cream ;-))
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup butter (melted, cooled)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Zest whole lemon
  • 1 cup flaked coconut (unsweetened preferred)
  • 1 pastry shell (unbaked)


Step 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, place baking sheet on middle shelf.
Start with beaten eggs, and add one ingredient and then mix until fully incorporated. Then add next ingredient until fully incorporated and so on.
Step 2
Once mixture is smooth and creamy (with lumps from coconut flakes), pour custard mixture into an unbaked pie or tart shell. Do not overfill, as the custard rises when baked.
Step 3
Place pie on middle shelf on the baking sheet.
Step 4
After 20 minutes, check for browning and rotate pie on the baking sheet to even out browning if need be. Bake another 20 minutes or until the custard filling has risen and is brown and firm.
Step 5
Feel free to ignore baking times as the pie tends to run on its own timeline. Just check it out every 10-15 minutes. It's ready to remove from the oven with the top is puffed up a bit, no jiggling in the middle and custard surface is a golden brown.