Paleo Coconut Cream Pie

Coconut has gotten a bad rap over the last several years which influenced me to steer clear because I was deathly afraid of the saturated fat. After discovering the paleo diet, and doing a lot of reading about saturated fats like coconut, I came to understand that it is actually quite healthful.

This recipe started out as a bit of an experiment. I purchased double or triple the ingredients with the expectation there would be a few tries before I got it right. Much to my surprise, the first pie turned out AMAZINGLY good. The coconut crystals taste a lot like brown sugar and imbued the custard with a really rich caramel flavor while being very low glycemic. I was astonished at just how exquisite the pie tastes and how perfect the texture of the crust turned out to be. Searching around the internet did not yield many options for coconut flour-only crusts. In fact, the coconut flour container itself advocates replacing only 20% of the flour in a recipe with coconut. One of the reasons is because coconut flour is extremely dry. It requires a lot of moisture in the form of eggs, fat and/or water to balance the dryness. I used Martha Stewart’s recipe for Coconut Cream Pie as a very rough guide for the filling and came up with my own coconut flour pie crust. The crust stays crisp in part because of the thin coating of melted dark chocolate applied before filling. I used Trader Joe’s paleo dark chocolateDark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Bar which is 85% cacao.

While Martha’s recipe called for 3 cups of coconut milk I used two cans of coconut milk plus one 7 ounce packet of creamed coconut.The creamed coconut made a HUGE difference in the final product because it has more texture and a very concentrated coconut flavor.

paleo coconut products

Another substitution was arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch.Corn is not a food used on the paleo diet but arrowroot is a perfectly good alternative as long as you add it at the end of a recipe. Arrowroot loses its ability to thicken at high heat.

Crust

Filling

Dairy Topping (optional)
Topping
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • dark chocolate shavings (85% or higher cacao)
Place the coconut flour and coconut flakes into a food processor and pulse until combined. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, coconut oil, coconut crystals, celtic sea salt, baking soda and vanilla extract.

Add the wet ingredients into the dry in the food processor and pulse until it forms a crumbly dough. Add the water slowly until the dough comes together and appears moist but not soggy.

Spread the dough into a 9 inch pie dish and bake at 325 degrees for approximately 15 minutes until golden brown. Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave (or a double boiler).
Once the pie shell is completely cooled use a pastry brush to coat it with the melted chocolate.

Place the coated pie shell in the refrigerator to harden.
Prepare an ice bath and set aside. In a bowl, lightly whisk the egg yolks; set aside. In a saucepan, combine the coconut milk, creamed coconut, coconut crystals, vanilla extract and celtic sea salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, whisking constantly, about 10 minutes. You want to cook some of the liquid out of the coconut milk so that it concentrates the flavor and will thicken a bit. Whisk a quarter of the hot coconut milk mixture into the egg yolks; whisk in remaining coconut milk mixture. Pour into a clean saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until custard is thicker and bubbles appear in the center, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and set in the ice bath. Whisk it occasionally while it cools off for a total of 30-40 minutes. Add the arrowroot powder and whisk until combined and somewhat thicker (it will thicken more in the refrigerator).
Place a layer of plastic wrap onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate. (Filling can be kept in the refrigerator, covered with plastic wrap, up to 1 day.)
Place the coconut flakes on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until lightly golden brown. Set aside.

Fill cooled crust with the custard and spread evenly with an offset spatula.Refrigerate paleo coconut cream pie at least three hours. Garnish with toasted coconut flakes and some grated dark chocolate just before serving.
The pie is delicious without any sort of whipped cream topping. However, if you have no issues with dairy and would like to add it simply combine the cream and coconut crystals and stir gently until the crystals have melted. Use a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and beat the mixture until soft peaks form. Top the pie with the whipped cream and add the coconut flakes and chocolate shavings before serving. This pie can be made in advance and refrigerated for up to three days. The entire recipe is gluten, dairy and nut free and tastes better than any other coconut cream (custard) pie I have ever eaten paleo or not!