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Coconut cream pie bars are a variation of the classic pie where a buttery shortbread replaces the pie crust and the filling is thicker so you can eat these with your hands. These are decadent without being overly sweet. The textures and flavors will dance on your palate with each bite.

 

The Crust.

Unlike traditional pie crusts, which are flaky, shortbread crusts have a more tender, crumbly texture due to the higher ratio of fat to flour. The recipe for the crust is the same one I use for my pecan pie bars. The buttery flavor is prominent, and the crust has a subtle sweetness that compliments the filling. The best way to make the crust is in a food processor. Because cold butter is used, the blades cut the hard butter into the flour and sugar effortlessly. The crust gets pressed into a 9×9 pan and baked. Once cool it is ready for the coconut filling.

The Filling.

The rich and creamy coconut filling is the heart of the dessert. To bring out the signature flavor, the recipe calls for canned coconut milk, shredded sweetened coconut and coconut extract. Egg yolks and half & half are used alongside the canned coconut milk for the base of the filling.  Sugar is the sweetener while corn starch acts as the thickening agent. Everything cooks together on the stove top until it reaches a pudding consistency.

 

The Topping.

Just like coconut cream pie, the topping consists of homemade whipped cream and toasted coconut. The whipped cream gets sweetened with powdered sugar and flavored with more of the coconut extract. The shredded sweetened coconut gets perfectly golden brown once toasted in a pan over medium heat. The crunch of the coconut is the perfect compliment to the delicate whipped cream, thick coconut filling and buttery crust.

 

Coconut Cream Pie Bars

Shortbread crust base with creamy coconut filling finished with a layer of coconut whipped cream and toasted coconut.
4.47 from 63 votes
Course Dessert
Servings 12

Ingredients
  

Crust

  • 1 1/4 c flour
  • 5 tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10 tbsp salted butter cold, diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Coconut Filling

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 c corn starch
  • 13.5 oz can coconut milk
  • 1/2 c half & half
  • 1 c sugar
  • 3 tbsp salted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp coconut flavor
  • 1 c shredded sweetened coconut

Coconut Whipped Cream

  • 1 c heavy whipping cream
  • 5 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp coconut flavor

Toasted Coconut Topping

  • 1 c shredded sweetened coconut toasted

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Start by making the crust in a food processor. Add the flour, sugar, corn starch and salt. Pulse to combine.
  • Add the butter and vanilla then run the food processor until the dough comes together. It will be like moist crumbles and not a ball of dough like a pie crust.
  • Press the dough into a parchment lined 9x9 pan.
  • Bake for 20 minutes in the middle rack.
  • Cool for an hour.
  • For the filling add egg yolks, sugar and corn starch to a pot set over medium heat. Whisk then add the coconut milk and the half & half.
  • Continue whisking until the filling thickens to a pudding consistency.
  • Turn off the heat and add the butter, vanilla and coconut extract.
  • Whisk until the butter has melted and everything is smooth.
  • Fold in one cup of the shredded coconut.
  • Pour the filling over the shortbread crust, evenly spread out.
  • Set in the fridge to cool and set for 2 hours.
  • Toast 1 c of shredded sweetened coconut over medium heat in a dry sauce pan. Constantly stir until the coconut is golden brown and crisp. Remove from the pan to stop the browning. Set aside to cool.
  • For the whipped cream, beat heavy whipping cream on high until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and coconut flavor. Continue beating until firm peaks form.
  • Spread all the whipped cream onto the bars.
  • Top with all the toasted coconut.
  • Cut into 12 squares. Serve cold. Store in the fridge.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!