This gluten free coconut cream pie has three layers!! It starts with smooth coconut milk pastry cream followed by crunchy toasted coconut-filled cream, all topped with sweetened whipped cream! It’s the ultimate in coconutty creamy goodness 🙂
It’s always a no brainer for what to make my dad for his birthday dessert–anything coconut!! He LOVES coconut, which is great because so do I. So when I made this pie for his birthday last year, he loved it so much he wanted it again for his birthday this year! And that’s just fine with me because it’s one of my favorite pies I make 😋
THE SIMPLE INGREDIENTS
Even though this gluten free coconut cream pie has three glorious layers, there aren’t many ingredients needed to make it. A few staples are used throughout each layer:
- Gluten Free Pie Crust–if you haven’t yet made my gluten free pie crust, now is the time to try it. You’ll love the ease of rolling it out without cracking, but more importantly the buttery flakiness when it’s baked!
- Egg Yolks–these are used in the pastry cream for thickening and richness.
- Cornstarch–also used in the pastry cream for thickening.
- Sugar–for sweetening.
- Canned Coconut Milk–full fat coconut milk is used in place of cream or milk when making the pastry cream.
- Butter — a tiny amount of butter is added to the coconut pastry cream.
- Unsweetened coconut–most coconut cream pie recipes call for sweetened coconut, but I find it to be too sweet and love using unsweetened in my pie.
- Heavy Whipping Cream–we couldn’t make a coconut CREAM pie without the cream!
- Powdered Sugar — for sweetening the whipped cream.
- Vanilla extract and coconut extract (if desired) — for flavoring.
THE STEPS FOR MAKING GLUTEN FREE COCONUT CREAM PIE
There are a few steps to making this coconut cream pie obviously, since it’s three layers, but they’re very easy:
- Blind bake the pie crust — if you’ve never blind baked a pie crust, it’s very simple to do. See my gluten free pie crust recipe for the how to.
- Make the pastry cream — start by whisking the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and a pinch of salt in a mixing bowl and heating the coconut milk until just under boiling. Slowly add the coconut milk to the egg yolks/sugar mixture while vigorously whisking. Pour back into saucepan and continue to whisk constantly over medium low heat until thickened like mayonnaise. Remove from heat and whisk in butter.
- Add softened butter to pastry cream and whisk to combine.
- Pour pastry cream in sieve over large bowl to remove any lumps. Press pastry cream through sieve with the back of a spoon.
- Pour all but one cup of the still warm pastry cream into the bottom of the pie crust and smooth top with offset spatula. Cover with plastic wrap right on the surface of the pastry cream in the pie, as well as the remaining pastry cream in the bowl. Chill both for one hour.
- Whip heavy cream to soft peaks. Slowly add powdered sugar and vanilla and continue whipping to stiff peaks.
- To one cup of pastry cream, add one cup of toasted coconut and coconut extract (if using) and stir to combine. Gently fold in half of the whipped cream. With offset spatula, spread this mixture on top of bottom layer.
- Pipe or spread remaining whipped cream on top of pie and sprinkle with the rest of the toasted coconut.
If you love coconut, you really should get in the kitchen now and make this pie! It’ll fast become your new favorite🥧
Triple Layer Gluten Free Coconut Cream Pie
FOR THE CRUST:
- ½ recipe The Best Gluten Free Pie Crust
FOR THE FILLING AND TOPPING:
- 6 large egg yolks
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (30 g) cornstarch
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups (500 ml) canned full-fat coconut milk (well shaken before opening)
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- 2 tbsp butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup plus 1 tbsp unsweetened shredded or flake coconut
- ½ tsp coconut extract (if desired)
- 2 cups (500 ml) heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup (25 g) powdered sugar
MAKE THE CRUST:
- Make the crust according to recipe instructions for blind baking pie crust. Allow to cool.
MAKE THE PASTRY CREAM:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt, whisking until smooth and pale.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine coconut milk and vanilla extract or paste and bring to just under a boil (tiny bubbles forming along sides of pan). Remove from heat.
- With the mixer running at medium high speed, carefully and slowly pour the hot milk mixture between the whisk and side of the bowl, whisking to combine.
- Transfer mixture back to saucepan and whisk constantly over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens considerably. Remove from the heat and add the butter and combine until melted and smooth.
- Pour pastry cream into a bowl over a sieve to catch any cooked pieces of egg yolk. Press mixture through sieve using the back of a spoon.
- Pour all but one cup of the pastry cream into the pie crust and smooth top with offset spatula. Cover both the pastry cream in the pie and the one cup in the bowl with plastic wrap, making sure it touches the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming.
- Refrigerate both for one hour.
TOAST THE COCONUT:
- Preheat oven to 350°. On baking sheet, spread coconut in an even layer and bake until golden brown, checking every few minutes and stirring as necessary so that it browns evenly. It shouldn't take more than 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.
WHIP THE CREAM:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks. Slowly add the powdered sugar and whip to stiff peaks.
MAKE SECOND LAYER:
- Remove reserved pastry cream from refrigerator and stir to loosen. Add all but 1 tbsp toasted coconut and coconut extract (if using) to the pastry cream and stir to combine. Stir ½ cup of the whipped cream into the pastry cream to lighten it, then gently fold 1½ cups of the whipped cream into the lightened pastry cream. Spread this over the first layer in the pie using an offset spatula to smooth the top.
MAKE THIRD LAYER:
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip with the remaining 2 cups of whipped cream. Pipe onto top of second layer in pie plate. Alternatively, spread the remaining whipped cream on top of second layer and swirl decoratively. Sprinkle with the remaining toasted coconut.
- Chill for at least 3 hours.
Adapted from Gesine Bullock-Prado’s Let Them Eat Cake