Light coconut milk lacks rich coconut flavor, so skip it in favor of regular coconut milk.
- For the Crust:
- 6 ounces animal crackers
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- For the Filling:
- 1 can coconut milk (14 ounces)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 3/8 teaspoon table salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the Whipped Cream and Garnish:
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (cold)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted in a small dry skillet until golden brown
FOR THE CRUST:
Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In a food processor, pulse the animal crackers, coconut and sugar to fine crumbs, eighteen to twenty 1-second pulses; then process until powdery, about 5 seconds. Transfer the crumbs to a medium bowl and add the butter; stir to combine until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Empty the crumbs into a 9-inch glass pie plate; using the bottom of a ramekin or 1/2 cup dry measuring cup, press the crumbs evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Bake until fragrant and medium brown, about 15 minutes, rotating the pie shell halfway through baking time. Set on a wire rack and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
FOR THE FILLING:
Bring the coconut milk, whole milk, shredded coconut, 1/2 cup sugar and salt to simmer over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to ensure that the sugar dissolves. Following illustrations 1 through 6, whisk the yolks, cornstarch and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisking constantly, gradually ladle about 1 cup hot milk mixture over the yolk mixture; whisk well to combine. Whisking constantly, gradually add the remaining milk mixture to the yolk mixture in 3 or 4 additions; whisk well to combine. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook until thickened and the mixture reaches a boil, whisking constantly, about 1 minute; the filling must boil in order to fully thicken. (To determine whether the filling has reached a boil, stop whisking; large bubbles should quickly burst on the surface.) Take off the heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla until the butter is fully incorporated. Pour the hot filling into the cooled pie shell and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula; press plastic wrap directly against the surface of the filling and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours and up to 12 hours.
FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM:
Just before serving, beat the cream, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until soft peaks form,
1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Top the pie with the whipped cream and then sprinkle with the coconut. Cut the pie into wedges and serve.
Recipe reprinted by permission of America's Test Kitchen. All rights reserved.
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