Thursday, April 20, 2017

Coconut Lovers Banana Cream Pie #ImprovCookingChallenge

Serendipity - when unconnected things occur at the same time so that they work together in a beneficial way.

A couple weeks ago, my husband brought up banana pudding - an old fashioned dessert from our childhood made up from Instant Vanilla Pudding, Cool Whip and Nilla Wafer cookies - it was an advertiser's dream recipe and used to be on the back of the box for each of those products.

I was in no mood to make that - but figured a banana cream pie might fill the craving, so I tucked it onto my meal plan list until I could get to the store for the necessary ingredients.

Then came the serendipitous part - a few days later, I came across the Improv Cooking Challenge hosted by Cookaholic Wife.  On the 3rd Thursday of each month, bloggers get together to share recipes that include a preselected pair of ingredients.  This month, the two ingredients are bananas and coconut.

That same day, my husband casually mentioned how much he could go for a coconut cream pie (we talk about food a lot around here) and I went aha!

And that's how this Coconut Lover's Banana Cream Pie was born.

It's a basic made-from-scratch vanilla pudding, poured over a layer of sliced ripe bananas that have been laid into the bottom of a toasted coconut crust (hey! This is gluten-free!), and topped with whipped cream and a sprinkle of more toasted coconut.

Mind you - this pie is sweet and very rich, and the flavors all come through very well. I think next time I'd use a blend of sweetened and unsweetened coconut to cut back on the sweetness - but there is sugar in the pudding and the whipped cream, so this is definitely in the category of very-occasional indulgence.

But very indulgent it is and I'd feel quite satisfied if I ordered this from a good dessert menu.

Coconut Lover's Banana Cream Pie
(makes 1 9" pie)

2 1/2 cups sweetened coconut
1/2 cup butter

2-3 ripe bananas, sliced thin into rounds
3 Tblsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup milk
4 egg yolks (can freeze egg whites for later use)
1 14 oz. can coconut milk
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla

1 cup whipping cream
2 Tblsp confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup toasted coconut

Make the crust:
Melt butter in a pan over medium heat and add coconut. Stir constantly until coconut is browned but not burned.  Turn buttered coconut into a pie shell, and pat evenly over the bottom, making sure it isn't too thick in the corners.

Set crust in refrigerator to chill for at least a half hour.  This can be done up to 24 hours ahead.

Wipe pan clean, and toast an additional 1/4 cup coconut without butter for 2-3 minutes while stirring constantly.  Set aside to top the pie.

Make the filling: 
Remove pie shell from refrigerator.  Slice bananas and fill the bottom of the pie shell - it's fine if they overlap.  Set aside.

Separate the four eggs.  The whites can be frozen in a small container for later use (they won't whip into meringue, but are fine for omelets or macaroons).  Whisk the egg yolks.

In a small dish, place cornstarch.
Slowly whisk in the 1/2 cup of milk, so that cornstarch is completely blended, then whisk in the egg yolks.

Set yolk mixture aside.

In a large saucepan, combine coconut milk, sugar and 1/4 cup milk.  Whisk smooth and bring to boil, stirring constantly.

As soon as this boils, reduce heat to simmer, and slowly stream in yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Don't stop stirring or let it boil, or the eggs will curdle.

Add salt.

Stir and cook about five more minutes, until thickened and an instant thermometer reads 180F.  Remove from heat, and add vanilla extract, stirring to blend.

Pour pudding into prepared pie shell.

Let pie sit on counter to cool for at least 1/2 hour.

Put filled pie in refrigerator until ready to serve - should chill for at least an hour, and can wait for up to a day.

Preparing Topping:
In stand mixer, combine whipping cream and confectioner's sugar, and whip until soft peaks form.

Top pie with whipped cream, and sprinkle reserved toasted coconut over the top as desired.


  1. Great minds Lynda....welcome to Improv! Your pie looks amazing...I took the easy way out with the cool whip and boxed pudding LOL

  2. I'd forgotten about coconut crusts -- what a great idea for gf pies!

  3. Yummmm this looks absolutely scrumptious! Can you send some my way please?! :)


  4. I'm tempted to make this. I've never tried a coconut crust, but gluten-free is what I need. I also like that this does not require milk.

  5. My mouth is watering - this looks absolutely amazing!

  6. Thank you for coming to the Blogger's Pit Stop,
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew

  7. This looks so darn delicious! I want some right now. Thanks for sharing at the Family Joy Blog Link Party this week!

  8. Coconut Cream pie is one of my favorites. I make my mother in laws from scratch recipe. I will have to give this one a try! Thanks for sharing the recipe with SYC.

  9. I would love to have a slice of this awesome pie right now! Hope you are having a fantastic day and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  10. Oh wow! I am so veganising this! Love the coconut crust - I'm going to try that tomorrow! Thank you so much for sharing at Fiesta Friday - think I better go and see what other delicious recipes have been created with banana and coconut (I use both those all the time)! Intrigued about this improve cooking challenge! :)

  11. I do love coconut and coconut cream pie is my absolute favorite pie, so this pie is calling my name!

  12. Thank you for attending the #WednesdayAIMLinkParty. I shared your post on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Twitter.

  13. Sorry it took so long to visit – I’ve been off on vacation! Thanks for sharing on the What’s for Dinner link up!

  14. What a fabulous combination of two classic pies! Brilliant idea! Shared on our Hearth and Soul Facebook page. Thank you so much for being a part of Hearth and Soul.

  15. Coconut crust?! Mind blown!! Going to have to try this immediately

  16. I am not a fan of bananas but I LOVE the idea of a coconut crust! Pinned.