My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, and my favorite thing about Thanksgiving is making pie. When I was growing up, the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving I made pies with my mom. Now that I live 2 ½ hours away from my mom I make my own pie.

The warmth of the oven and the smell of crust baking and coconut toasting brings back fond memories. My favorite pie used to be banana cream, we always made a banana cream pie and a pumpkin pie, but in college a friend of mine showed my mom how to make this coconut cream pie and it has been my favorite ever since. The pièce de résistance is the thin layer of chocolate on top of the crust.

Now a note on pie making. There is no shame in using a store-bought crust, whipped cream or pudding. I spent many, many years making delicious pies this way and even have made this coconut cream pie this way many times.

One of the great things about pie is it’s so versatile, it tastes great whether it’s made completely from scratch or from a store-bought crust, boxed pudding and a tub of whipped cream. I have spent most of my life making pies from store-bought components and have made this pie in that manner many times. When you have the time and desire to make a full on homemade pie with homemade crust, whipped cream and filling it is a thing of culinary beauty and something I delight in doing, but don’t stress yourself out. The only thing anyone is going to care about is whether or not there’s pie. So mix and match. Make what you want from scratch and cheat on the rest, and have a great and tasty Thanksgiving.


Homemade Pie Crust


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup shortening, cold
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 5-6 Tablespoons ice water
  • ¼ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Put flour in a bowl, cut in shortening with a pastry cutter. Add 2-3 Tablespoons of ice water and mix. Add additional water until the dough holds together. Roll out crust and put in pie pan. Bake on 350* for 10-15 minutes. Immediately after pulling the crust out of the oven sprinkle chocolate chips on top of the crust. Let melt and then using a rubber spatula, spread chocolate over the crust.

Coconut cream pie filling


  • 2 ½ cups milk
  • ½ cup cream of coconut (not coconut milk)
  • 5 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 2 T butter, softened
  • 1 t vanilla
  • Whip cream
  • ¾ cup shredded coconut, toasted

In bowl, whip egg yolks with sugar until light and fluffy. Add cornstarch and butter.

In large saucepan, scald milk, heating just until bubbles form around the edges of pan, then add cream of coconut.

Gradually add the egg and sugar mixture to the milk mixture and cook stirring constantly until mixture thickens, about 9 minutes.

Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Pour into pie crust and let cool completely.

Spread shredded coconut on a baking sheet, put in oven on 350* for 3 minutes. Stir coconut around, cook an additional minute.

Homemade Whipped Cream


  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Pour all ingredients into a mixing bowl or a large bowl. Whisk together using either a stand mixer or a hand whisk. Whisk until the cream forms soft peaks. Cream can be stored in the fridge for a few hours or frozen.


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