Coconut Cream Pie

Author: Tara Roberts

I grew up in the south. If you donʼt have any idea what that implies, it means that food is a religion. That fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits and gravy, brewed sweet tea, and homemade pies are our first, second and last supper.

Family reunions, a summer tradition, are our pilgrimage. Greatgrand-dadʼs wrap-around porch, white clapboard farmhouse our mecca.

The women could take those three fishes, those loaves of bread and create miracles…cooking up the sweetest fried trout and bread pudding you ever put in your mouth.

My Grandma Jessie was among those women.

I have fond memories of Sunday dinners at her house, gathering there with my family after church. Fried chicken, biscuits, her home canned green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy, and for dessert… coconut cream pie with unbelievably fluffy meringue, honey-hued drops of sugar beading in the folds.

These pies could cause family feuds at church suppers and reunions. Her nephews fighting over slices even before loading their plates with the main meal.

My Grandma Jessie died at the age of 81, having moved into my motherʼs house under hospice care. Living her last days with her daughter as colon cancer quickly drained away her strength.

Not 10 years before, she fought against breast cancer, and won that battle.

During those final years, I never heard her once complain ʻwhy me.ʼ Her faith and love for the Lord gave her peace, and when she died, I truly believe she had no fear.

In celebration of the women in my family who were stricken with cancer – Jessie, Sharon, Cheryl, Linda W., Janice, Gladys, Pucci, and Linda H. – I am sharing my favorite pie recipe, my Grandma Jessieʼs coconut cream pie, as part of the Saving Second Base e-cookbook project.

Coconut Cream Pie
Delicious Coconut Cream Pie Recipe by Tara R. In honor of her Nana and her battle with breast cancer.
Pie Crust
  • 1¼ cups flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup shortening
  • 3-6 Tablespoons ice water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup flour
  • dash of salt
  • 2½ cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 3 egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 6 Tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ cup coconut
Pie Crust
  1. Cut shortening into flour and salt with pastry blender until it resembles small peas. Sprinkle a small amount of water over mixture and stir with bent fingers, adding water until dough clings together. Shape in a ball, cover and refrigerate several hours before rolling into a single crust. Crimp edges atop a pie pan and prick bottom and sides with a fork. Bake at 400-degrees until lightly browned. Allow to cool completely before filling.
  1. Stir dry ingredients together in medium saucepan. Beat eggs and milk, then add to saucepan. Cook on medium high heat, stirring constantly. When it begins to thicken turn heat down to medium, stirring well until thick. Remove from heat, add vanilla and butter. Stir in coconut, cooling completely before adding to baked pie shell.
  1. Beat egg whites, salt, and water on high until soft peaks form. Add cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks form. Add sugar gradually and beat well. Cover filling sealing at edges. Sprinkle coconut over top of meringue. Beat at 350-degree until brown.


Want to know how you can help? or be a part of this project?

    • Tricia and I have created a facebook page: Saving Second Base Please “like” us and help spread the word!
    • We’re on TWITTER!!! @Savng2ndBase (i know it’s missing an i but someone already HAS saving2ndbase and isn’t using it :-{ ) Follow us and spread the word!
    • Post our buttonPhotobucket
    • Send us your story and recipe: one that reminds you of/celebrates someone who has fought with, is living with, is kicking cancer’s ass, has lost the fight…. send a story, a recipe, a blurb with recipe, a memory with recipe, a tribute with recipe… and pictures.. a picture of the person.. a picture of the recipe (preferably both) but either works. Please send this to: and we’ll send you the release to sign and love you forever and ever and ever 😉
    • We’re going to post at least one recipe and story every. single. day in October on A Southern Fairytale and on Once A Month Mom and then we’ll compile all the stories and recipes into an e-book that can be purchased and EVERY SINGLE SOLITARY cent will be donated to the Susan G Komen Foundation. (Tricia and I are not taking a single solitary cent for any of this)
    • Tweet with #saving2ndbase

Let’s help kick cancer’s ass and save those ta ta’s!


  1. says

    Although I haven’t lost anyone in my family to cancer, although heart disease and old age ( my grandmother Mattie was 101 when she passed away) I certainly connected with your story of gathering at loved ones houses to celebrate each and every milestone that was passed! Like you it centered around food, and my Grandmothers were wonderful cooks as well as my Mom. I learned at a very young age just what being together meant and always looked forward to seeing all of my aunts, uncles and cousins! What precious memories! Thank you for taking me back to a simpler time and place.

  2. Roxanne says

    how long do you cook the pie it doesn’t say and also the butter for the filling and the salt for the meringue aren’t listed in the ingredients

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