Dahlia Bakery Triple Coconut Cream Pie

There are fruit pies, chocolate pies, pumpkin pies, and then there are cream pies. And if you’ve ever been to one of Tom Douglas’ restaurants in Seattle or his iconic Dahlia Bakery on 4th Ave, then chances are you’ve tried his world-famous triple coconut cream pie.

You read that correctly: triple. coconut. cream. pie. With coconut laced in every layer including the crust, coconut cream, and toasted coconut shavings on top, this pie is nothing short of a national treasure.

Triple Coconut Cream Pie Ingredients

You most likely have the majority of the ingredients for this pie on hand, but the things you’ll want to make sure you have are the shredded sweet coconut, unsweetened chip coconut (yes, there are two kinds of coconut in this pie), one vanilla bean, one can of unsweetened coconut milk (full fat, not low-fat), and a bar or chunk of white chocolate.

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Tips and Tricks

After first glance, this triple coconut cream pie recipe may seem overwhelming, especially when considering each layer is made from scratch (hence why it tastes amazing). But never fear– with a little bit of planning and pacing yourself, anyone can make this triple coconut cream pie. A few tips:

  • Make this pie in stages. The crust can be made up to one week ahead before baking and the filling can be made 2-3 days in advance. The pie crust can be baked one day in advance, but we don’t recommend that you bake it any earlier than this for optimal texture and freshness. The cream should be whipped and the pie should be assembled no earlier than the day of serving– but these are the easiest and most fun parts of putting your pie together!
  • Really take your time for the crust. Butter crust can be fickle, and the addition of coconut makes this crust slightly more challenging to work with. You’ll want to make sure you have just the right consistency before rolling it out and shaping (see the recipe for details). Don’t cut corners when it comes to chilling the crust in both stages, and make sure you have nice golden brown edges before removing the dried beans, and after the beans have been removed during the second stage of your blind bake.
  • Don’t skimp on the vanilla bean. Seriously. Paying a few bucks for a vanilla bean may seem unnecessary, but using this one ingredient makes all the difference and you can literally taste the seeds in every bite. The coconut pastry cream is the star component of this pie, and the vanilla bean is an absolute must.
  • Don’t fret about the piping. At the Dahlia Bakery and other Tom Douglas restaurants, they pipe the whipped cream on top of the pie, which gives you a gorgeous result, but if you don’t have a piping bag or piping tip, simply spread the whipped cream on top with a spatial and top with the shredded coconut and white chocolate. The coconut and chocolate will dress up the pie and give it an amazing aesthetic and texture.

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Dahlia Bakery Triple Coconut Cream Pie

This triple coconut cream pie from Tom Douglas' Dahlia Bakery is nothing short of a national treasure.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Dahlia Bakery, Dahlia Lounge, Tom Douglas, Triple Coconut Cream Pie
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 35 minutes
chilling time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 35 minutes
Servings 1 9-inch pie
Author Tom Douglas

Equipment

  • Parchment paper
  • Dried beans or pie weights

Ingredients

Coconut Pie Crust

  • 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 8 Tablespoons (one stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-pieces
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup ice-cold water, or more as needed

Coconut Pastry Cream

  • 1 cup milk (whole preferred)
  • 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk (not low-fat), stirred
  • 2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 Tablespoons room-temperature unsalted butter

Whipped Cream & Toppings

  • 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream*
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • pinch kosher salt (optional)
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chip or large-shred coconut (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 4-6 ounces white chocolate in chunk to make 2 ounces of curls

Instructions

Pie Crust

  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, coconut, diced butter, sugar and salt. Pulse to form coarse crumbs. Gradually add the water, a tablespoon at a time, pulsing each time. Use only as much water as needed for the dough to hold together when gently pressed between your fingers. Don't work the dough with your hands; just test to see if it is holding. (The dough will not form a ball or even clump together in the processor—it will still be quite loose.) 
  • Place a large sheet of plastic wrap on the counter and dump the coconut dough onto it. Pull the plastic wrap around the dough forcing it into a rough flattened round with the pressure of the plastic wrap. Chill for 30 minutes to an hour before rolling.
  • To roll the dough, unwrap the round of coconut dough and put it on a lightly floured board. Flour the rolling pin and your hands. Roll the dough out into a circle about ⅛ inch thick. Occasionally lift the dough with a board scraper to check that it is not sticking and add more flour if it seems like it's about to stick. Trim to a 12-to-13-inch circle.
  • Transfer the rolled dough to a 9-inch pie pan. Ease the dough loosely and gently into the pan. You don't want to stretch the dough at this point, because it will shrink when it is baked. Trim any excess dough to a 1-to-1½-inch overhang. Turn the dough under along the rim of the pie pan and use your fingers and thumb to flute the edge. Chill the unbaked pie shell for at least 15 to 20 minutes while the oven preheats. 
  • Preheat the oven to 400°. Place a piece of parchment in the pie shell, with sides overhanging the pan, and fill with dried beans or pie weights. (This step prevents the bottom of the shell from puffing up during baking.) Bake the piecrust for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry rim is golden. Remove the pie pan from the oven. Remove the paper and beans and return the piecrust to the oven. Bake for another 10 to 12 minutes, or until bottom of the crust has golden-brown patches. Remove from the oven and allow the pie shell to cool completely.

Coconut Pastry Cream

  • Combine the milk, coconut milk and shredded coconut in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Use a paring knife to scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add both the scrapings and the pod to the milk mixture. Place the saucepan on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture almost comes to a boil.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and flour until well combined. Temper the eggs by pouring a small amount (about ⅓ cup) of the scalded milk into the egg mixture, while whisking. Then add the warmed egg mixture to the saucepan of milk and coconut.
  • Whisk over medium-high heat until the pastry cream thickens and begins to bubble. Keep whisking until the mixture is very thick, about 4 to 5 minutes more. Remove the saucepan from the heat. 
  • Add the butter and whisk until it melts. Remove and discard the vanilla pod (or save for another use). Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and place it over another bowl of ice water. Stir occasionally until it is cool. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a crust from forming and refrigerate until completely cold. The pastry cream will thicken as it cools.

Whipped Cream & Assembly

  • Preheat the oven to 350º. Spread the coconut chips on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 7 to 8 minutes, watching carefully and stirring once or twice until lightly browned,, since coconut easily burns. Remove the coconut from the oven and allow to cool.
  • While the coconut is toasting, whip the heavy cream in a stand mixer with the sugar, vanilla, and salt (if using), until stiff peaks form. 
  • To assemble the pie, spread the coconut pastry cream evenly into the pie crust with a spatula. Using a piping bag and piping tip, pipe the whipped cream on top of the crust with your preferred design with the cream until the pastry cream is completely covered. Sprinkle the toasted coconut pieces over the top of the pie. Use a vegetable peeler or a very sharp chef's knife to scrape about 2 ounces of the white chocolate into curls. Place curls gently on top of the coconut/pie.

Notes

*Try to use a heavy whipping cream that has a minimum of 40% fat.

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