Kick your regular coconut cream pie up a notch with this delicious chocolate coconut cream pie. Swap that pastry crust with an easy graham cracker crust and then add a layer of decadent bittersweet chocolate ganache. A creamy coconut cream filling is layered on top and the whole pie is finished off with fresh whipped cream and toasted coconut. You won’t go back to regular coconut cream pie after this!
Easy graham cracker crust
This may be blasphemous, but I prefer a buttery, crunchy graham cracker crust to a typical flaky pie crust. For this chocolate coconut cream pie, I swapped the more traditional pastry crust for a graham cracker one.
Graham cracker crusts are super simple to make. Simply crush graham crackers until they are fine crumbs. I love, love, love my Cuisinart food processor for this task but you can also throw them into a zip-top bag and crush them using a rolling pin or can.
Then simply add the brown sugar and melted butter and press it into the pie dish. Make sure to press it tightly into the dish, using the bottom of a cup to pack it down.
Then it goes into the oven for around 8 minutes and that’s it!
How to make chocolate ganache
Chocolate ganache is a rich, silky fudge-like consistency. This chocolate ganache is comprised of only 3 ingredients:
- Bittersweet Chocolate: Try to use as high-quality chocolate as you can find. Ideally use bar chocolate as opposed to chocolate chips. If you do use chocolate chips, use a higher-quality brand as it will melt better. I typically use Ghirardelli chocolate. Semisweet chocolate can also be used.
- Heavy Cream
- Unsalted Butter: Have the butter at room temperature so it will melt easily. If you don’t have unsalted butter, salted butter can easily be used with similar results in the ganache recipe.
To start the ganache, finely chop the chocolate. The easiest way to chop chocolate is to use a serrated knife. Place the chopped chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Add the cubed softened butter to the chocolate.
In a small saucepan, heat the cream over medium heat just until small bubbles form at the edge of the pan. Pour the cream over the chocolate and butter and then cover the bowl with foil or plastic wrap and let it sit for a few minutes.
After sitting for 3 or 4 minutes, stir the mixture until a smooth, thick ganache forms.
Tips for a creamy coconut filling
The coconut filling is a cross between a pudding and a custard that is thickened with both egg yolks and cornstarch. While it’s pretty quick and easy to whip up, follow these steps for the best results!
- Full-fat coconut milk– Many coconut cream pies use just half and half or full milk as the base. Here, we are using coconut milk. It’s super important to use the full-fat coconut milk. When you first open the can, there will be a fairly thick layer of solid coconut milk. Just scrape that into the pot and then pour the remaining liquid coconut milk, the half and half, sugar and salt and as it cooks, the solids will melt.
- Temper the egg yolks– tempering is a process designed to slowly heat up the egg yolks before adding them directly into the pot of hot liquid. If you were to pour the egg yolks directly into the hot milk mixture, they would immediately curdle and you’d end up with scrambled eggs inside your filling. To prevent this, slowly add about 1/2 a cup of the hot milk into the egg yolks and cornstarch and whisk constantly. I find it easiest to place the bowl on top of a kitchen towel to keep it from moving since one hand will be pouring the liquid and the other hand whisking.
- Strain the filling if tempering didn’t go well– If you still see some solid egg curds despite tempering the eggs, don’t worry! When the custard is done, before adding the shredded coconut, simply strain it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any curdled eggs.
How to toast coconut
While the coconut added to the filling is not toasted, if you’d like to decorate the top of the pie as in the pictures, you’ll want to toast the coconut. There are two ways to do this.
First, you can simply place about 1/2 cup of shredded coconut into a small frying pan over medium-low heat. Stay close as the coconut can burn quickly.
Stir the coconut until light golden brown and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the coconut from the pan when it’s done so it won’t keep cooking in a hot pan.
The other way you can toast coconut is in the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and place the coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 5-10 minutes watching it closely.
Stir the coconut once, a few minutes into baking, to make sure it browns easily. Remove it from the baking sheet onto a plate or bowl until ready to use.
Decorating the pie
You can be super casual and just dollop the whipped cream on top of the pie or even serve it alongside the pie in a bowl.
Sprinkle the whipped cream with the toasted coconut and if desired, chocolate shavings. To get chocolate shavings, just take a bar of chocolate and a vegetable peeler and shave off pieces of chocolate over top the pie.
How to store the pie
The chocolate coconut cream pie needs to be refrigerated. It’s best to refrigerate the pie for at least 4 hours or overnight before first slicing it. This will help get clean, pretty slices as well.
To store leftovers, wrap in plastic wrap or foil and keep refrigerated. The pie will last 3-4 days.
For more pie recipes, check out:
- Strawberry Mousse Pie
- Pumpkin Mousse Pie with a Gingersnap Crust
- Lemon Cream Pie with a Golden Oreo Crust
Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs about 12 full graham cracker sheets
- 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
- 7 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 6 oz bittersweet chocolate
- 6 oz heavy whipping cream
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
Coconut Cream Filling
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 14 oz can unsweetened coconut milk
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter cubed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Crush the graham crackers using a food processor or place in a zip top bag and crush them using a rolling pin.
- Combine the crushed graham crackers, brown sugar and melted butter and stir well.
- Pour the crumbs into a 9 in pie plate (with at least 2-inch sides) and press into the bottom and up the sides using fingers or the bottom of a glass to press it down tightly.
- Bake the crust for 8 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
- In a medium heatproof bowl, add the chopped chocolate and butter and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream over medium heat until small bubbles form at the edge of the pan.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and butter and place a plate or plastic wrap over the bowl. Let it sit for about 3-4 minutes.
- Remove the plastic wrap/plate and stir the cream and chocolate until the chocolate is completely melted and a thick ganache forms.
Coconut Cream Filling
- Whisk the egg yolks and cornstarch together in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Combine the coconut milk, half-and-half, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil while whisking occasionally.
- Carefully remove about ½ cup of the mixture and slowly whisk into the egg yolk/cornstarch mixture while constantly whisking until the egg yolks and milk are combined.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and slowly pour the egg yolk mixture into the milk. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens, about 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the shredded coconut, butter, and vanilla.
- Allow the filling to cool for about 20 minutes. Once cooled slightly, pour the filling into the crust. Place plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Beat together heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
- The pie should be covered and refrigerated and will last 2-3 days.
- See the post for important tips!
- Coconut Cream Filling adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction.