Coconut Custard Pie

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A coconut custard pie recipe inspired by the tropical French Polynesian island of Bora Bora! Tender, flaky crust topped with warm a silky egg custard filling.

Coconut custard pie recipe with a flaky crust and egg custard filling. This tropical dessert is best served warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

This coconut custard pie is the perfect balance of creamy egg filling and macaroon flavors. Have you ever traveled to a destination and ate your way through the trip? When Jason and I went to Bora Bora on our honeymoon, this delicious dessert was on nearly every restaurant menu. Typically served warm with a cold refreshing scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top.

I’m usually a baked fruit or chocolate dessert fan, but this was unexpectedly delightful. After our third visit to Bora Bora for our babymoon, I thought that I should try to recreate the flavors of French Polynesia by surprising Jason with this coconut custard pie recipe. And guess what, he said I nailed it! Ready to try it?

Glass pie dish with a custard pie cooling on a table

How to make coconut custard pie

  • The Incredible Egg: Custards are an essential type of dessert that you will always find in some variation, such as crème brûlée, pumpkin pie, and cheesecake. Eggs are the star of the dish, and as the proteins cook, they help the custard set correctly.
  • Coconut Custard Filling: The key to the filling is getting the consistency and ratio of coconut flakes to egg custard just right. You don’t want the mixture to be too dry or have the custard set into a firm mass. So I targeted a soft, warm center, with a little delicate chew from the coconut flakes.
  • Time and Temperature: The other critical factor to a smooth baked custard is heat intensity and time. You want to bake the custards in a low-temperature environment and slow time. This recipe calls for an oven temperature of 350°F for 45 to 50  minutes of baking. The gentle heat and longer time allow the egg proteins to set, yet stay loose and smooth. Versus high heat causes proteins to curdle and toughen too quickly like scrambled eggs. Since pies tend to cook quicker on the edges, the extended time at a lower temperature allows the custard to set into a lovely delicate dessert.

Slice of coconut custard pie with a beautiful tall crust on a white circular dish

The crust is made using a flaky pie dough technique for a sturdy base. I incorporated coconut flavor into the crust as well. I added a few ground coconut flakes to the dough.

Head on photo of a slice of custard pie topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

The French Polynesian islands are known for two staple food items; Tahitian vanilla beans and coconuts. As you know, vanilla beans can get pricey but I think they’re worth it, so I always buy them from the duty-free store when we travel to Tahiti.

I love how this recipe has both of the islands key ingredients, making it remind us even more of this delicious cuisine. I also like to use whole vanilla beans in savory recipes like my Mahi Mahi with Tahitian vanilla sauce. It takes the flavors to the next level!

Close up photo of coconut flakes inside of the custard pie

I found the perfect ice cream to serve with this dessert, Talenti Gelato and Sorbetto sells a Caribbean coconut flavor that is addicting! Whenever we are missing our favorite tropical island, I hit the store to gather the simple pie ingredients to remind us of our tasty adventures in Bora Bora.

What dessert have you tried that you miss from your travels? I’d love to hear in the comments section below. Maybe I can try to remake it for you!

Pie crust selection for custard fillings

This coconut custard pie uses a few essential techniques to create a tender pastry that is strong enough to hold the filling. A flaky crust is first formed by incorporating pea-sized pieces of butter and shortening in the pie dough. The crust is then blind baked in the cake pan, before adding the filling. Blind baking helps to pre-set the crust so that it’s not soggy on the bottom from the wet egg filling. The crust will finish cooking during the last step of baking with the custard coconut filling. The edges of the crust are covered with foil so that it does not get too brown.

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Coconut Custard Pie

Coconut custard pie recipe with a flaky crust and a delicious egg custard filling.
Pin Print Review
4.09 from 89 votes
Prep Time1 hr 45 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time3 hrs
Servings 10 servings
Course Dessert
Cuisine French


Pie Crust

  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup sweetened coconut flakes, ground in a blender for 10 seconds
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cold
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, and cut into ½-inch dice
  • ¼ cup ice water

Custard Filling

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, pure
  • teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
  • ice cream, coconut or vanilla for serving


Pie Crust

  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour with the salt and ground coconut shreds.
  • Add the cold cut pieces of butter and shortening to the flour, toss to coat. Use your fingers to cut in the shortening and butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea-sized pieces remaining.
  • Gradually stir in the water with a fork until the dough just comes together.
  • Scrape the dough out onto a work surface, lightly knead and gather up any crumbs and pat the dough into a 6-inch round disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
  • On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 12-inch round, about ¼-inch thick.
  • Ease the dough into a deep 9-inch to 9 ½-inch glass pie plate. Trim the overhanging dough to 1 inch and fold it under itself. Decorate the edges as desired and chill the crust until firm, about 15 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Place the pie plate on a sheet pan. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Cover the rim with strips of foil and bake in the lower third of the oven for 20 minutes, until the crust is barely set.
  • Remove the parchment and pie weights and bake with the foil on the edges for 5 minutes longer, until the crust is just set but not brown.
  • Lightly poke the bottom of the crust a few times to deflate if it is puffed. Let cool; leave the foil strips on the rim.
  • Lower the oven temperature to 350°F.

Custard Filling

  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the sugar with the melted butter. Whisk in eggs until smooth. Add the buttermilk, vanilla and a ⅛ teaspoon salt and whisk until incorporated. Stir in the coconut.
  • Place pie pan on a sheet pan. Pour the filling into the pie crust. Line the edges of the pie with foil.
  • Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the custard is set (not jiggly in the center) and golden brown on top. Remove the foil after 40 minutes of baking. If crust starts to brown too quickly, add foil back on the edges.
  • Carefully transfer the pie to a cooling rack. Let the pie cool completely, then cut the cake into wedges and serve with ice cream.


  • The pie can be covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days. Slice and reheat in the oven for a few minutes until the cake is warm and ready for eating!

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Nutrition Facts
Coconut Custard Pie
Amount Per Serving
Calories 447 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Fat 25g38%
Saturated Fat 15g75%
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 159mg53%
Sodium 166mg7%
Potassium 139mg4%
Carbohydrates 48g16%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 28g31%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 550IU11%
Vitamin C 0.3mg0%
Calcium 40mg4%
Iron 1.3mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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33 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. mani says

    Jessica, I would love to try this delicious looking dessert, but can’t do dairy. Do you have suggestions for any substitutes that would work? Soy butter, soy/almond milk?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Mani! I think you could substitute the buttermilk with coconut milk or almond milk, but it may not be as “creamy”. You could use all margarine for the dough or perhaps some solidified coconut oil. I have not tried soy butter, but if you have used it in the past for making crusts than go for! Let me know how it turns out 🙂

    • Christina says

      Maybe try almond milk, but you want the texture, taste, and consistency of buttermilk, but it doesn’t hurt to experiment and try. Does lactaid have a lactose free buttermilk? Substitute?

  2. Paulap says

    This recipe sounds wonderful! My husband grew up in Hawaii and loves coconut, but the typical coconut cream/custard pie recipe is lacking in coconut for his taste. I think this recipe will be just what he’s been craving!

  3. Ming says

    Hi besides buttermilk, what other types of milk can I use? or even thickened cream/whipping cream is suitable for this recipe?


    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Ming- The acidity of the buttermilk gives a nice balance to the sweetness of the custard base. There are a few simple substitutions for buttermilk. You can try for every 1 cup whole milk, add 1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar; allow to sit for 5 minutes before use. You can also use 1 cup whole milk with 1.5 teaspoons cream of tartar, mix to dissolve. Let me know how it turns out!

    • Karen Sigmund says

      I am by no means a baker! On Thanksgiving i was asked to bring a Coconut Pie for dessert. I went to all the local stores in my area (there are no bakeries.)
      I quickly learned that there is a season for this type of dessert and November was not it!
      I decided to bake one and chose your recipe! I will never be sorry for this choice! It continues to be hit every time I make it!
      Thank you!

  4. Leilani C Perucho says

    I am going to make this today. I got all the ingredients but I forgot the buttermilk. I am going to try the cream of tartar and whole milk, also I am using xylitol sweetener I hope it comes out and using Madagascar vanilla.

  5. Marguerite Juenemann says

    If using coconut milk what can be used to give it the acidity of buttermilk? Will it respond the same as lemon added to milk?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Marguerite! What I’ve read is for every 1 cup coconut milk you can add 1 tablespoon lemon juice, mix together and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Let me know if you try this and how it turns out!

  6. Isabelle says

    Hi Jessica,
    In Australia, I do not think shortening is sold here. Is there any possible substitution so that the pie crust still tastes the same?


    (I am so excited to Make this, but I just NEED a sub for the shortening ASAP!) XD

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Isabelle!I would recommend using all butter if there is no shortening available. It will not be as tender compared to having some shortening, but it will be flavorful and flakey.

  7. Judy says

    Hi Jessica,

    I wanted to suggest you try the Haagen Dazs Pineapple Coconut ice cream with this pie too. It is so refreshing and clean tasting.

  8. Andi says

    Jessica, the pie crust ingredients say 1/2 c of the coconut. Is that measured before or after it goes in the blender?

  9. Dominique Barlow says


    I made this pie recipe today! It came out great! The recipe was enough to make two pies!!! It taste just like the Coconut Custard pies my aunt use to make for Thanksgiving. Thanks for sharing ????

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Great to hear! I love this recipe, so happy it reminds you of something yummy your aunt used to make 🙂

  10. Celia Martinez says

    You have listed 6 large eggs in this recipe. Is this amount correct?
    Most recipes I’ve seen for a Coconut Custard or French Coconut Pie call for only 3 eggs.

    Thank you.

  11. Adrienne says

    Thank you for posting this recipe! It was a big hit with my family. I had never heard of a coconut custard pie, but apparently they are a thing in the south! My dad was really missing my grandma (who recently passed away) and this was something she made when he was a boy. It made him so happy when I made it last week and he says it was better than nana’s Recipe!
    Thanks again 🙂 I’ve been asked to make another one this week!

  12. Amber says

    I made this knowing I had no coconut((hubby likes coconut flakes…i dont)….I substituted half vanilla for half coconut extract…i made my own buttermilk. And was lazy with pre made crust…turned out great.

  13. Karen says

    Hi Jessica:

    I love your recipe and really want to give it a try. However, I am borderline diabetic and allergic to gluten. I heard almond flour is a good substitute, but how much is the conversion and is there anything else I need to make almond flour more sticky ?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Karen- It’s definitely possible to use almond flour for the crust but it will take some experimentation. The texture will be much more brittle/tender since there is no gluten. Also, I would reduce the amount of butter and shortening added since there is a lot of fat. I would start by melting 4 tablespoons of just butter, and it to the crust mixture and see if it sticks together, so that it can be pressed into the dish. Add more butter, 1 tablespoon at a time if needed. I would parbake it at 325ºF for 10 minutes, then bake with the filling. Cover the edges with foil if it gets too brown at 375ºF. If you give this a try please let me know!

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