Coconut custard pie

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Fire Islands: Recipes from Indonesia

Fire Islands

By Eleanor Ford

Published 2019

  • About

In the colonial period, North Sulawesi was referred to as the thirteenth province of the Netherlands due to the popularity of all things Dutch there. This continues today and one favourite is the custard tart, Klappertaart, studded with the gelatinous flesh of young coconuts. Just as delightful, and easier to source ingredients for outside the tropics, is this coconut pie. The influence is more American with a squidgy cookie base, oozing custard middle and billowing meringue top. I was given the recipe by the idyllic d’Omah hotel in Java. Their secret is coarsely grating fresh coconut for an extra textural contrast.


Pie crust

  • 150 g ( oz) coconut biscuits
  • 50 g (2 oz) fresh coconut, coarsely grated
  • 80 g ( cup) butter, melted


  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 60 g (½ cup) icing (confectioners’) sugar
  • 30 g (¼ cup) plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon cornflour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 125 ml (½ cup) coconut milk
  • 15 g (1 tablespoon) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 50 g (2 oz) fresh coconut, coarsely grated


  • 150 g ( cup) caster sugar
  • 2 large egg whites


Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

Put the biscuits in a bag and smash to crumbs. Add the coconut and butter to the bag and squish everything until well blended. Press into a 20 cm (8 inch) pie tin or dish. Bake for 10 minutes, then leave to cool.

To make the filling, whisk the egg yolks together in a large bowl and set aside. In a saucepan, mix together the icing sugar, flour, cornflour and salt. Add the milk and coconut milk and set over a medium-high heat. Stir constantly as it comes to the boil and starts to thicken. Once boiling, cook for a further 2 minutes.

Slowly stream a third of the hot custard into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Return the contents of the bowl to the saucepan. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture reaches a boil. Remove from the heat and strain through a fine mesh sieve.

Leave to cool for a few minutes before stirring in the butter, vanilla and coconut. Spread into the prepared pie dish and cover closely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 4 hours, or until firm.

To make the meringue, put the sugar into a pan with 50 ml (¼ cup) water. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar, then bring to the boil. Cook until the syrup reaches 120°C (250°F).

Meanwhile, put the egg whites into a freestanding mixer with a balloon whisk. When the syrup reaches 110°C (230°F), start whisking until stiff peaks form. Once the sugar reaches 120°C (250°F), pour slowly into the whites with the whisk running. Whisk until the meringue is cool, stiff and shiny.

Spread the meringue over the cooled custard, taking it right to the pie shell edge. Swirl with a spoon. Use a blowtorch or hot grill to gently caramelise the meringue. Store in the fridge until ready to serve.