Vintage Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut Cream Pie

I had to make this.

“This recipe came to The Times in a 2010 article about Valerie Confections, a Los Angeles bakery that specializes in vintage desserts with a California provenance. This spectacular pie is an adaptation of one that was served at Bullock’s Wilshire, a luxury department store in Los Angeles, popular in the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s, that had a number of celebrity clients including Mae West, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo and Clark Gable.” – From The New York Times. 



1¼ cups sifted all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon sugar

¼ cup shortening, chilled, cut into pieces

⅓ cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

2 to 5 tablespoons ice water


1 cup evaporated milk

1 cup heavy cream

½ cup sugar

6 egg yolks

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon softened unsalted butter

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon coconut extract

3 tablespoons cream of coconut


1 cup sweetened, shredded coconut or unsweetened coconut flakes

2 cups heavy cream

4 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract



Sift flour, sugar and salt together.

Using a pastry cutter, blend butter and shortening into the flour mixture until pea-sized pieces form.

Slowly add the water until the dough just comes together.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, flatten into a disk, and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Roll out chilled dough on a floured surface until it is large enough to create a 1-inch overhang on a 9-inch pie pan.

Using a fork, poke several holes along the base of the crust.

Finish the rim of the crust to your liking and chill until firm, 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line pie crust with parchment paper and pie weights.

Bake until the edges are pale golden and the crust will hold its shape, 25-30 minutes.

Carefully remove the parchment and weights and bake until the crust is dry and pale golden, 5-10 more minutes.

Remove from oven and cool.


Decrease oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Pour evaporated milk, cream and sugar into a saucepan.

Over medium heat, bring to a boil, then immediately remove from heat.

Using a whisk attachment on an electric mixer, beat egg yolks until they appear pale and fluffy.

Add cornstarch and butter; continue beating until they are fully incorporated.

Add vanilla, coconut extract and cream of coconut.

Set the mixer on a low speed and slowly add the warm cream mixture to the egg mixture.

Pour the filling back into the saucepan and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until the custard has thickened to the consistency of runny yogurt.

Pour coconut filling into the baked pie shell and bake for 35 minutes until the edges are barely puffed and the center wobbles like Jell-o when you give the pan a shuffle, about 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow the pie to cool completely, 2-3 hours


Place coconut on baking sheet and toast until light brown, about 7 minutes. Whip cream, sugar and vanilla to stiff peaks.

Place a large mountain of whipped cream in the center of the pie and, using a small offset spatula, create a dome shape. Sprinkle the entire dome with toasted coconut. Refrigerate until ready to serve

I got the recipe here.

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