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Smooth and Scrumptious Coconut Cream Bars


Cream pies are one of my favorite types of desserts. Refreshingly cool, with a smooth filling, and pillows of whipped cream, they are absolutely delicious. This recipe takes the classic cream pie and turns it into a more portable bar. The best thing about these coconut cream bars is that no pastry dough is needed. The crust is a mixture of shortbread cookies and coconut, while the filling is a coconut custard, and the topping is sweet whipped cream. Doesn't it sound divine? Wait until you read the recipe! Do so now when you read more.

Coconut Cream Bars

Coconut Cream Bars

Coconut Cream Bars

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
3 boxes (5.3 ounces each) shortbread cookies, coarsely broken
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread coconut in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring once or twice, until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely. Leave oven on.
  2. Process cookies and 1/2 cup coconut in a food processor until finely ground and mixture begins to clump together, about 2 minutes.
  3. Transfer mixture to a 9-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet; press into an even layer on bottom. Bake until golden and firm to the touch, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on sheet on a wire rack.
  4. Whisk together the granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a large saucepan. Whisk in milk and egg yolks.
  5. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a boil, 5 to 6 minutes. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, about 3 minutes more.
  6. Remove from heat. Add butter, whisking until combined. Stir in 1 1/2 cups coconut.
  7. Spoon the custard onto cooled crust; smooth top with an offset spatula. Press plastic wrap directly onto custard surface, to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until set, about 3 hours.
  8. Beat cream and confectioners' sugar in a large chilled stainless-steel bowl until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
  9. Cut custard-filled crust into 24 bars (each about 3 by 1 1/2 inches). Transfer to a platter. Spoon whipped cream into a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip. Beginning at one corner, pipe a zigzag pattern over each bar. Sprinkle bars with remaining 1/2 cup coconut.

Makes 2 dozen.

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