Vegan Coconut Cream Pie
Author & Photographer: Jane Fraipont
This pie is simple to make, vegan, and heavy on the coconut! The caramel crust is crunchy and candy-like, and can hold up in the fridge for a couple days without getting soggy. Don’t be put off by making caramel at home — dry caramel (made without water) is nearly impossible to mess up, so long as you turn off the heat once it turns brown. This pie is best served chilled with strong iced coffee.
For the crust:
1 cup sugar, for caramel
2 cups shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 tsp kosher salt (¼ tsp table salt)
For the pudding:
One can full fat coconut milk, plus the separated water from another can (save the cream for the topping
2/3 cup powdered sugar (83 g)
1/3 cup cornstarch (40 g)
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
For the topping:
Coconut cream from two cans of coconut milk, refrigerated
2 tbsp shredded coconut, toasted in a pan until golden
Coat the inside of a pie or 9-inch tart pan with coconut oil and if using a loose-bottomed tart pan, line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.
To make the crust, pour the sugar into a pot (large enough to hold all the coconut) and cook over medium high heat until all of the sugar has melted and turned an amber color. Since there is no water in this caramel it can and should be stirred so as to mix in all the non-melted sugar.
Once all the sugar is melted, turn the heat to low and add the shredded coconut. Stir until the coconut is evenly covered by the caramel. Tip the coconut into the tart or pie pan and press it into the sides with a spoon or spatula to form an even crust.
To make the pudding, add the powdered sugar, cornstarch, salt, and coconut water to a bowl and whisk it to combine and get rid of lumps. Strain through a sieve into a pot, and add the remaining coconut milk. Whisk over medium heat until the mixture thickens and just starts to bubble. Remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.
Pour the pudding into the prepared crust and smooth over the top. If you don’t like the film that forms over pudding when it cools, cover the top with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until fully cooled.
When the pie has cooled, make the coconut cream topping. Beat together the coconut cream until smooth and a bit lighter. Try to prevent any extra coconut water from being added, as it will make the cream curdle. When the cream is smooth, spoon it onto the top of the pie and spread it over the top.
Sprinkle the toasted coconut over the top and serve. The pie can be kept refrigerated before serving and for about three days after it is made.