May 8: National Coconut Cream Pie Day
Traveling through the Philippines for a big family event a few years ago, our chartered bus made stops from Bataan through Manila and Tagaytay to get to Villa Escudero, a coconut plantation where we all stayed in bamboo cottages for a real rustic experience. Along the way, through the Laguna province, Auntie Maria B. bought boxes of buko (pronounced “boo-koh”) pie from a roadside stand. Buko pie is the Filipino version of a coconut cream pie made from the tender meat of the young fruit and it is a specialty from the region. Everyone enjoyed slices of this simple and slightly sweet snack to sustain us on our long journey through the countryside. The cuisine and culture certainly left a lasting impression on Highlander on his first trip to Asia.
Islander brought back fond memories of the Philippines when she baked buko pie for Highlander. She found frozen shredded buko in the Asian grocery store in South Texas and replicated the recipe. It turned out to be a terrific tropical treat! For Filipino flavor on National Coconut Cream Pie Day, bake a buko pie.
(Adapted from Pinoy Recipe)
For the filling
- 4 cups buko (young coconut meat), shredded or sliced
- 1 cup coconut water/juice (not coconut milk)
- 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk (we used fat-free)
- 2/3 cup cornstarch
Defrost packages of frozen buko and squeeze out excess water (this may be used in the recipe instead of the one bought in a bottle/jar/can) to measure four cups of young coconut meat. In a saucepan, combine the buko, coconut water, sweetened condensed milk and cornstarch. Mix slowly over low heat until thickened, being careful not to burn the bottom of the pan. Remove from the stovetop and place in another bowl to cool completely. Prepare the crust.
For the crust
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup vegetable shortening (we used Crisco brand baking sticks)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vinegar (we used sugar cane vinegar)
- ¼ cup ice water
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour with the salt. Cut in the vegetable shortening and mix until it resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl or measuring cup, beat the egg yolk with the vinegar and ice water. Gradually add the liquid ingredients to the dry ones.
Gently mix until a sticky dough is formed. Divide the dough in half. Flatten one into a disc and roll out to 1/8-inch thick to cover the bottom of a pie plate. Repeat with the other half of the dough enough to cover the top of the pie. Set aside.
Spread the cooled buko filling on top of the bottom crust layer. Cover with the top crust layer.
Trim excess crust. Flute or crimp or seal the edges with the tines of a fork. Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees F for 45-55 minutes. Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate to allow the flavors to blend and the coconut filling to solidify. Slice and serve (may be reheated in the microwave).
- Use only unsweetened “young” tender coconut meat for buko pie. “Old” coconut meat is hard and dry. Buy buko (sometimes shredded) in the freezer section of Asian grocery stores if unable to find fresh coconuts.
- In addition to the Filipino buko pie, try the Hawaiian version of coconut cream pie and make mini haupia pies for National Coconut Cream Pie Day.