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Sweet Dough Coconut Pie

  • Yield: 12 tarts


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 12 ounces frozen unsweetened flaked coconut, defrosted
  • 3/4 cup frozen unsweetened flaked coconut, defrosted


  • Make the crust. In a medium-size mixing bowl, cream together the sugar and shortening. In a small mixing bowl, combine the milk, egg, and vanilla and mix well. Add the milk mixture to the shortening mixture and blend well. Combine the flour and baking powder in a medium-size mixing bowl. Then add the shortening mixture, about 1/4 cup at a time, to the dry mixture, blending well between each addition. The dough should come away from the sides of the bowl. Form the dough into a smooth ball, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Divide the dough in half. Gently pat one half of the dough out into a disk. Roll it out into a 12-inch round about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out six 5-inch rounds and line each of six 4-inch round tart pans with a round of dough, pressing it into the bottom and up the side with your fingers. Repeat the process with the remaining ball of dough. With the tines of a fork, randomly prick the dough all over. Put the tart shells on a baking sheet and bake until lightly golden, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from the oven, then transfer to a wire rack to let cool completely.
  • Make the filling. In a medium-size nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, combine 2 1/2 cups of the milk and the sugar. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Meanwhile, in a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks, cornstarch, and the remaining 1/2 cup milk. Whisk until smooth.
  • Add 1 cup of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture, whisking to blend. Pour the mixture into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens, about 4 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and pour into a large mixing bowl. Add the vanilla, butter, and coconut. Mix well. Press a piece of plastic wrap down against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool completely.
  • Spoon an equal amount of the filling into each tart shell, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  • Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and bake until just golden, 4 to 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
  • Sprinkle the toasted coconut on the tarts. Serve immediately.