- Written by Cynthia Presser
I have to confess I was never a huge fan of pumpkin pie. I remember the very first Thanksgiving I spent in the United States when I had my first bite of a pumpkin pie. With all respect to the traditions I have to say I was disappointed! Such a big deal around a dessert that was neither sweet or savory.So I decided to incorporate a little Brazilian twist to the classic: coconut! Pumpkin and coconut is a very traditional pair in desserts in Brazil, so I thought: “Why not?” I made it in two layers to make a more interesting presentation; I made it sweeter so there is no need for whipping cream; and I used all fresh ingredients to heighten the flavors while still keeping the method really simple - it’s a busy time, we all need easy recipes! So my decadent “Pumpkin-Coconut Pie” was born and quickly became one of my most popular recipes ever.
Ingredients for Crust:
- 4 cups graham crackers, roughly crushed
- 8 tablespoons butter, softened
- ½ cup sugar
Ingredients for Filling:
- 3 cups of pumpkin pulp purée from a sugar pumpkin or from canned pumpkin purée (See Cook's Notes)
- 1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk, divided
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (7 oz) grated coconut, preferably fresh
Crust – Add the graham crackers, butter, and sugar to a food processor. Process for about 2 minutes, until it is all incorporated. Press mixture into a 9 or 10 inch pie dish. Set aside.
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.
Filling – To a food processor, add pumpkin purée, ½ can (7oz) sweetened condensed milk, ginger, and cinnamon. Process until smooth, 40 seconds. Pour mixture on the bottom of pie crust.
Rinse food processor and add the remaining sweet condensed milk and grated coconut (See Cook's Notes). Process until incorporated, 40 seconds. Pour coconut mixture over pumpkin mixture. Transfer to oven and bake until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean, 20 to 30 minutes.
Let it cool down completely. Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving or serve at room temperature.
To make pumpkin purée from a sugar pumpkin: start with a small-medium sugar pumpkin, cut out the stem and scrape out the insides, discard. Cut the pumpkin in half and lay cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake at 350°F until fork tender, about an hour to an hour and a half. Remove from oven, let cool, scoop out the pulp and smash it with a fork or in a food processor. I definitely recommend baking a real pumpkin over opening a can.
The coconut layer is supposed to look much thinner than what is shown in the picture. For this photo shoot, I used a small mold pan which resulted in a thicker coconut layer. If you follow the directions above, the coconut layer will be thinner which adds just enough sweetness to this pie.
Goya offers frozen grated coconut which tastes as good as the fresh grated. Look for it at the frozen aisle.