Coconut Dream Pie

Coconut Dream Pie 8

I always make my husband something special for his birthday. This year, I went all out and decided to re-create one of his all-time favorite desserts: the signature Coconut Cream Pie from The Capital Grille. I couldn’t find any recipes online, so — long shot — I emailed the folks over at Capital Grille and asked for the recipe. I was shocked — they sent it to me!

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Like most restaurant recipes, the quantities were huge so I had to fiddle with it a bit, but the results were spectacular: a coconut-scented cookie crust filled with creamy coconut custard, all covered in a pillow of whipped cream and heaps of toasted coconut. Just like at the restaurant…heaven!

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Now, by the looks of it, you’d think this pie would be difficult to make. Not exactly. I’ll be honest, with three separate components and five different forms of coconut, it’s definitely a pastry chef’s recipe — but that’s what makes it so incredible! Count on it taking a little time but know that it’s not hard; as long as you follow the instructions, it’ll come out great.

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The crust is a cinch. It’s made with shortbread cookie crumbs, sweetened flaked coconut and melted butter. Just whirl it all in a food processor until you have crumbs, then press it into a tart shell.

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The filling is a custard made with coconut milk and cream of coconut. The only tricky part is that you have to temper the eggs. All that means is that you need to raise the temperature of the eggs so that when hot ingredients are added in, the eggs won’t scramble. No worries, I walk you through it in the recipe.

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The topping comes together quickly. You simply whip some heavy cream with sugar and coconut rum until soft peaks form, then spread it onto the tart. Top it off with golden coconut flakes and you’re done.

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I hope you’ll try this pie. By all accounts, mine was a huge success; my husband loved it and everyone raved. Honestly, I don’t think there’s a better Coconut Cream Pie out there.

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Coconut Dream Pie

Print Recipe
Servings: Makes one 10-inch pie/tart that serves 8-10


For the Crust

  • 7-1/2 ounces shortbread cookies, such as Walker's Pure Butter Shortbread, finely ground (if you don't have a baking scale, it's 11 Walker's rectangular cookies, from 2 boxes)
  • 1-1/4 cups loosely packed sweetened flaked coconut
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Custard

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, packed
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch, packed
  • Pinch salt
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons Malibu Rum (coconut-flavored rum)
  • 5 tablespoons Cream of Coconut (stir well before using)
  • 1 cup coconut milk (stir well before using)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

For Whipped Cream and Topping

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Malibu Rum
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, toasted in a skillet until golden and cooled (see note below)


For the Crust

  1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350°F. 2. Pulse cookie crumbs, coconut, and melted butter in a food processor until coconut is finely ground. Using a ½ cup dry measuring cup, press crumbs firmly and evenly into bottom and up sides of 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Bake until golden, about 15-18 minutes, then cool completely in pan on a rack (you can speed this up in the fridge or freezer). If it shrinks or cracks a bit, simply press it back together and up the sides while it's still hot.
  2. Pulse the cookie crumbs, coconut, and melted butter in a food processor until coconut is finely ground. Using a ½ cup dry measuring cup, press the crumbs firmly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Bake until golden, 15-18 minutes, then cool completely in the pan on a rack (you can speed this up in the fridge or freezer). If it shrinks or cracks a bit, simply press it back together and up the sides while it's still hot.

For the Filling

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the Malibu rum, cream of coconut, coconut milk and whole milk. Bring to a boil; then turn off the heat. Whisking constantly, slowly ladle about a cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture; whisk well to combine. Whisking constantly, gradually add the remaining milk mixture to the egg mixture in 3 or 4 additions; whisk well to combine. Return the mixture to the sauce pan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches a boil and thickens, about 2 minutes. The filling must boil for at least 30 seconds in order to fully thicken. Off the heat, whisk in the butter until fully incorporated.
  3. Pour the hot filling into the cooled pie shell and smooth the surface with a spatula; press plastic wrap directly against the surface of the filling and refrigerate until firm, at least 3 hours and up to 10 hours. (Any longer than 10 hours and the crust will start to soften.)

For the Topping & To Serve

  1. Up to 3 hours before serving, beat the cream, sugar and Malibu Rum with an electric mixer until soft peaks form, 1½ - 2 minutes. Top the pie with whipped cream and sprinkle with cooled toasted coconut.
  2. Carefully remove the rim from the pan by gently pressing upwards on the bottom while holding the rim in place. Cut into wedges, wiping your knife clean between slices, and serve cold.
  3. Note: Unsweetened coconut flakes can usually be found at Whole Foods or organic markets. If you can't find them, feel free to substitute ½ cup sweetened flaked coconut (the stuff in the blue bag available everywhere). Simply toast it in a 350 degree oven, stirring often so it browns evenly, until lightly golden.
  4. Note: This recipe should be made in a 10" tart pan with a removable bottom. A pie plate won't work as well or be as pretty! You can find tart pans very inexpensively at most kitchenware stores. I got mine for $10 at Williams-Sonoma.



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  • Sonja Denney

    Oh MAN!! I can’t wait to try this recipe! Sounds wonderful!! Thanks for being so generous for sharing a recipe you had the good fortune to acquire!

  • JC

    If you can’t find unsweetened coconut flakes, could you buy a real coconut, shave and toast?

  • I would absolutely LOVE this! You had me at walkers shortbread and malibu…I have to try this recipe!

  • a very cake for dreamer!:D

  • nic

    oh my that looks beyond delicious!

  • You are amazing. I love your blog. I am all about coconut right now and finding this has made my day. I’ll def blog about it.

  • To die for!

    And your unbaked crust… so beautiful!

  • yum! My hubby used to live in the DC area- he’s always impressed when I say “Oooo I found a recipe from _____!” This pie looks delish- as well as the pics!!! Well done!

  • I made this for my family today, and everyone loved it! It has a nice subtle, natural coconut flavor. It seemed like a sophisticated version of the everyday coconut cream pie. Loved it, and will be making it again! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • Karen

    Omg! Made this over the weekend and it was AMAZING! Definitely a keeper!

  • Wow, that looks beautiful! I love coconut so this is making me drool.

  • This looks AMAZING. Super awesome that they sent you the recipe!

  • nautica

    mmmm looks divine

  • now this looks like a real WINNER!

  • Suzanne

    Made this for a dinner party last weekend and it was AH-MAZING!!! Thank you!

  • Kelly

    I will be trying this soon!!! It sounds incredible!!!

  • debbie

    I made this for my family and neighbors…It was amazing…fairly simple and soo yummy.

  • Teri McGann

    I made this for Christmas dinner. I had trouble locating a 10′ tart pan (William Sonomo). After that, piece of cake! (HA!) This was the most straight forward recipe I’ve ever tried. I loved that everything was thought out, down to how many boxes of cookies and how many cookies I needed. The techniques were explained well. For a novice, which I am not, making a custard is a lost art. After making this a tart a new and useful skill will be mastered.

    The combination of flavors was perfect. The taste of coconut was subtle but present. There was not a piece left with multiple choices of deserts too. I came home with an empty plate! I will definitely make this again!

  • I wonder, am I the first man to comment? My wife requested this for her birthday. I made it for her. She loved it.

    I hate to write the stereotypical recipe comment telling about all the things I changed in your recipe, but I had to replace the rum with something because I don’t cook with alcohol. I used a splash of coconut extract instead of rum in the custard and the whipped cream.

  • Amy

    I halved this recipe to fit in to 4 mini tarlet pans over Valentine’s Day- HUGE success! Thank you so much!

  • Tatiana

    I was looking for a coconut pie without any flaked coconut in the custard,and this one sounds perfect.I think that the chewiness of the coconut flakes just doesn’t go well with nice smooth texture of creamy custard. Do you think that a can of coconut cream and a little more sugar will be a good substitute for the cream of coconut?Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  • Hi Tatiana, I agree with you on the flaked coconut in the custard…very unpleasant! I think you’ll love this recipe. As for the cream of coconut, I believe coconut cream is the same thing.

  • Kristi

    Thank you for this wondrful rendition. I made this recipe with 6 mini tart pans for my girlfriend’s birthday today and it was a fabulous hit (they’re huge coconut fans)! I did add about a teaspoon of pure vanilla to the topping.

  • JPY

    This is a wonderful recipe! we’re huge fans of Capital Grilled coconut cream pie! my husband loved this and I will be making this more often. Thanks!

  • Lorin

    Ah! I’m so excited! I just went to the Capital Grille for my birthday this past weekend and I’ve been dreaming about this pie ever since, hence why I came across your post on foodgawker…I’m absolutely going to try this out, I’ll let you know how it goes! Thanks for going through the trouble to convert and post :)

    • Kathy Mayrand

      This is the absolute best coconut creap pie EVER! It is relatively simple, but so, so delicious. The ingredients make all the difference. I have made it several times – alwyas to rave reviews. Outstanding!!

  • Liz McNett Crowl

    I made this for my family and it is now one of my family’s all time favorite desserts! My daughter made this for a recent auction donation and it looked as great as the photos here. Coconut lovers delight.

  • Cathy

    This recipe is a family favorite, for special occasions. I use Lorna Doone shortbread cookies (cheaper than Walkers). Super easy and great to serve all year long. This was my first recipe from your website, and got me hooked on your blog. Thanks

  • anniem

    The Capital Grille’s pie comes with a caramel rum sauce-did they give you the recipe for that as well?

    • Jenn

      Hi Ann, Unfortunately they didn’t, but it’s delicious all on its own.

  • Jen

    I plan to make this for a trip that includes a 4.5 hour drive, and I’m leaving directly after work so it will need to be made in the morning or the night before. Can all three elements (topping, custard, pre-baked crust) be made and stored separately, then put together before eating? I really hope I can make it work–it looks amazing!! Thank you!

    • Jenn

      Hi Jen, That should work fine. Just be sure to keep the whipped cream topping very cold, otherwise it won’t hold. Hope that helps.

  • Charlene

    I can’t seem to find any Coconut Cream, any suggestions, thanks.

    • Jenn

      Hi Charlene, Unfortunately I don’t know of any substitute for cream of coconut. Sorry!

      • Charlene

        Thanks Jenn, I did end up finding some(cream of coconut) but was hard to find, made this at Easter and was very good.

  • Erin McNamara

    I have made your coconut dream tart twice now and both times it came out beautifully (both in taste and esthetics)! And the feedback for the tart has also been great. Everyone loves it!

  • Elizabeth C. in Kansas

    Oh. My. Word. Somebody help me. This looks out-of-world delicious.

    • Elizabeth C. in Kansas

      I want to make this for 4th of July weekend party.

  • anniem

    Wow-made this tonight and I would say that it definitely tastes like Capital Grille’s fabulous pie. I wondered if it needed the caramel sauce that they use but it doesn’t. It’s extraordinarily rich. I tasted it prior to toasting the coconut and decided it was perfect so I didn’t bother. I did use 2% milk rather than whole-didn’t taste a difference. I would grease the bottom of the tarte pan as it was a little hard to remove but small price to pay for an outstanding dessert!

  • Jen

    I will make this one day soon…

  • Len F.

    Googled to find this recipe and found your site. Love the fact that you found the exact recipe, as well as we’re so specific with the directions. Much appreciated, and look forward to making it as well as finding more stuff (that you found first!).

  • I adore coconut and this is my new favorite. I’m hoping my family gets the hints and makes this for Mother’s Day!

  • Sheila

    I made this Tart for our annual street party dessert contest & won! I have made it a few times now, and once you locate the ingredients, it’s pretty straightforward. Everyone RAVED – it is delicious.

    • Jenn

      Hi Sheila, That makes me so happy that you won! Thank you so much for letting me know.

  • V

    I just had this amazing dessert at the C.G. of Denver, and am SO grateful you have shared it with us. It is THE best Coconut cream pie and I am so glad I can make it with your help. Thanks for your efforts.

  • Yelena

    Absolutely amazing! I made this last weekend and my family loved it! Thank you

  • Allie

    Oh, my, was this GOOD. It was delicious the day I made it, but it was even better the next day after sitting overnight in the fridge, so if I were to make it again for an occasion, I’d make it the day before. I made mine in an 11-inch tart pan because that’s all I had, and it came out fine; there was plenty of crust and filling. The shortbread crust really makes this pie—it just wouldn’t be the same with a graham cracker or pastry crust. Thanks for another great recipe, Jenn!

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