If you live in my neck of the woods, it’s the first day back after a much-needed spring break. Although Mondays and I don’t typically get along, I’m feeling refreshed and really happy to settle into a normal pace of life today. This past week, my family and I were hugely fortunate to vacation with our closet friends in The Bahamas, and it. was. phenomenal. It’s been years since I’ve visited the islands, and this was my very first time scoping out any area outside of the hyper-touristy Nasseau. Today, I’m going to share a Southern coconut cream pie as a nod to those island flavors as well as a few pictures from our time spent there. Also, full disclosure: I am not a travel agent. Planning trips outside of metropolitan areas is not my area of expertise, but fortunately, one of my dear friends absolutely rocks at it. So while I can’t take credit for anything that happened on this trip, I feel hugely fortunate to be on the receiving end of her travel savvy (thanks Rayne!). Lucky me.
For those that don’t know, the Exumas are a small chain of cays that make up part of The Bahamas. Envision white sand and turquoise water and stretches of unspoiled beaches. (Sidenote: You may have heard of the Exumas as a film location for the Pirates of the Carribbean movies or the famously catastrophic Fyre Festival.) For this trip, we opted to stay in a more undeveloped section known as Little Exuma in a house called the Exuma Outpost (insert my praise hands here). It was incredible. Our house was situated on a little cove that was mostly ours, and, truly, it’s probably the closet I’ll ever come to staying on a private island.
We opted to charter a boat for a couple days of our trip as a means of exploring the Exumas. Snorkeling, swimming with sea turtles and stingrays, and fishing were among the things we enjoyed on our boat days. The Exumas are definitely best seen by water and both of our tour guides were super knowledgable- I’d highly recommend. On the off days, we let the kids swim in the pool and explore the ocean, even taking time to read, sleep in, and play games. For meals, we enjoyed the hole-in-the-wall, open-air restaurants that speckled the island serving fish sandwiches and rum punch. Although Brett and I normally favor a few nice dinners or fancy outings, it was refreshing to be able to head anywhere in our sandals and jean shorts. We did opt for some in-house catering on two evenings, and that was terrific. Who better to give us a taste of local flavors than the locals themselves?!
For our family, the trip was a terrific time with friends and a chance to let our two oldest (Charlie stayed home!) get some play time and swim practice before summer arrives. Both of them fell in love with The Bahamas, and when we returned home, George said he wished he could be on vacation everyday. Me too, buddy, me too. I would absolutely recommend this kind of a vacation for a couple, family, or group that is interested in a no-frills vacation in the prettiest location possible. What the undeveloped terrain of the Exumas lacks in fancy restaurants and touristy attractions, it makes up for in relaxation, beauty, and frozen mojitos (insert more praise hands). Here’s a few more photos!
So onto this Southern coconut cream pie.
I am not a crazy coconut person (unless we’re talking Pina coladas, okay?), but I do love a good old-fashioned southern pie. This one fits the bill. Here, my favorite pie crust holds the sweetened stovetop filling made with coconut milk, coconut flakes, and a generous amount of sugar. While the pie isn’t overly coconutty, it is seriously creamy and has a decent amount of texture given the toasted coconut and crisp, buttery shell. I love this Southern coconut cream pie this time of year just before summer berries and stone fruits steal the show. If you’re looking for a last-minute dessert option for your Easter tables, HELLO. It’s here.
To make this Southern coconut cream pie, we start with the pie crust. Flour, butter, and shortening are whizzed together into a soft dough that is par-baked in a deep dish pie pan. Once cooled, you can start on the filling. Half and half is cooked with sugar, coconut milk, and flour until thickened. A single egg plus a few extra yolks are stirred in next, just until it’s bubbling and thickened again. Butter, vanilla, and sweetened coconut flakes fninsh out the filling that is now ready to be poured into the prepared pie crust. There is some wait time involved: cream pies need about 6 hours to set. Once chilled, a little extra whipped cream (ok, a lotta extra) is added, followed by some toasted coconut. Voila! Delicious.
Give this southern coconut cream pie a whirl and let me know what you think! Also, tell me about your own travels! Have you managed to take any small outings this year? Any post-COVID trips on the horizon? I’m ready to get out and about, and this trip was the perfect way to start. Happy Monday, y’all!
If you like this southern coconut cream pie you should try:Print
Southern Coconut Cream Pie
This southern coconut cream pie features a flaky homemade crust, a sweetened coconut milk filling, and loads of whipped cream and toasted coconut on top!
- Prep Time: 45
- Cook Time: 30
- Total Time: 360
- Yield: 9 Servings 1x
- Category: Dessert
For the crust:
- 1–3/4 cups (245 gm) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
- 6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 5 tablespoons (approximately) ice water
- 1 large egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water
For the filling:
- 1 cup (200 gm) sugar
- ½ cup (70 gm) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 can (13.5 ounces) full fat coconut milk, shaken to combine
- 1–1/4 cups (360 gm) half and half
- 1 large egg plus 2 large egg yolks, whisked together in a small bowl
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1–1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
For the topping:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup sugar
- Additional sweetened coconut flakes, if desired
To prepare the crust:
- Whiz the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor to combine (Note: you can also do this by hand with a pastry cutter!) Pulse in the shortening and butter, just until evenly dispersed in pea-sized clumps. Begin adding ice water 2 tablespoons at a time until moist clumps begin to form. Remove dough from food processor, form it into a flat round disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour prior to use.
- When you’re ready to bake the pie, roll the dough out on a well-floured surface into a 1/8-1/4” circle about an inch larger than your pie plate on all sides. Roll the dough loosely back onto the rolling pin and lift it into the pie dish. Gently fit the dough into the pie plate and trim off any excess dough leaving a 1” border around the edge of the dish. Fold the lip of the dough under so that it extends just over the edge of the pie plate and crimp the edges as you prefer. Prick a few holes in the bottom of the dough with a fork and place the whole pan into the freezer to chill briefly, about 20 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- When the oven is preheated, remove the pie plate from the freezer and line the insides of it with a piece of parchment paper. Use either pie weights or dry beans/rice to weigh down the dough and bake on the lowest rack in the oven for about 15 minutes. After this initial bake, remove the pie weights, brush the entire crust with a thin layer of egg wash (the egg whisked with water), and bake on the center rack of the oven for an additional 7-10 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool while you prepare your filling.
To prepare the filling:
- In a heavy-bottomed pan, whisk together the sugar, flour, and salt. Whisk the coconut milk and half and half together in a small bowl, breaking up any clumps that may have been in the coconut milk with a whisk. Slowly add in the milky mixture, stirring all the while, and set the pan over medium-low heat. Keep stirring regularly until the mixture comes to a bubble. Continue stirring and cooking an additional 1-2 minutes, removing from heat only once the mixture has thickened to a mayonnaise consistency. Carefully scoop up a cup of the hot mixture in a measuring cup of ladle and slowly add it to the eggs, whisking them all the while to ensure they don’t scramble under the heat of the pudding. Once the entire cup has been added, pour the egg mixture back with the remaining pudding in the pan, stir, and place back on low heat. Bring to a bubble again and cook for an additional minute and a half to thicken and then remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla, butter, and coconut and pour the mixture into the prepared pie crust. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of the filling and refrigerate until cooled and firm.
- Once cooled, prepare your topping by beating the whipping cream in a large bowl on medium speed until thickened to soft peaks. Slowly add in the sugar and continue whipping until thickened to a cloud-like consistency. Top the pie with the whipped cream and toast the coconut flakes on the stove until golden. Sprinkle on top and serve immediately!