Am typically inclined to make everything from scratch. Case in point: I got up at 5:30 this morning so I could make this pie for Patrick’s work holiday party. Probably not on most peoples’ agenda first thing in the morning. Nonetheless, in the wee hours of the morning I was busy grinding, toasting, melting, and baking. But, this really is a delicious pie, and deserves to be shared with others.

First things first, you have to open the coconut. I did this a day in advance, which made the pie/cake making process a snap.

It’s not as difficult as you might think to open a coconut. Start by twisting a cork screw (or a screwdriver) into the eye (the dark indentations on one end) of the coconut. Drain the coconut water into a glass.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the coconuts onto a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 15 minutes to help loosen the flesh from the shell. While the coconuts are in the oven, enjoy a glass of fresh coconut water, nature’s ultimate sports drink (be sure to reserve one glass for the coconut pie).

Once out of the oven, it’s time to open the coconut. I first tried opening the coconut with a screwdriver and hammer, but the coconut did not budge. Next, a bit perplexed and frustrated, I proceeded to give the coconut a few good whacks with the hammer. Voilà, the coconut cracked right in half.

With a knife, trim the dark brown skin from the coconut flesh. Place the coconut into a food processor and process until you have coconut flakes. Alternatively, you can grate the coconut with a box grater (a bit more work than the food processor).

Rick Bayless’ Yucatan Coconut Pie

Rick Bayless’ Yucatan Coconut Pie


1 cup (4 ounces) slivered almonds
3 tablespoons sugar
4 ounces (about 5 slices) firm white bread, torn into pieces
3 1/2 tablespoons (about 1 3/4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted


1 medium-size coconut with lots of liquid inside (shredded as described above)
1 cup heavy (whipping) cream
2/3 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Dark chocolate (used 70% cacao) for drizzling on top

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Toast the almonds on a baking sheet in the oven, stirring occasionally until golden, 7-10 minutes. Set 1/2 cup of the almonds aside. In a food processor, pulverize the remaining almonds with the sugar. Add the bread and pulse the machine until reduced to fine crumbs. Drizzle in the melted butter and pulse to mix thoroughly. Evenly pat the mixture over the bottom and sides of a 3/4-inch deep, 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Refrigerate several minutes to set.

Measure out 2 1/2 cups of coconut for the pie; reserve the remainder for the garnish. Raise the oven temperature to 350°F. In a small saucepan, combine the coconut water, cream, and sugar. Simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently until reduced to 1 cup, about 10-15 minutes. Pour into a large bowl, then stir in the 2 1/2 cups of coconut, the reserved 1/2 cup almonds, the egg yolks, and vanilla. Set the prepared crust onto a baking sheet, scoop in the coconut filling and bake in the middle of the oven until set and lightly browned on top, 30-35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

While the pie is baking, toast the reserved coconut on a baking sheet in the oven or in a pan on the stove top, stirring occasionally until nicely browned, 7-10 minutes.

Melt the chocolate and drizzle on top of the cake.


 “Raw” Chocolate-Coconut Cake

Disclaimer: For anyone out there who is looking for a completely raw cake, I’ve deviated by adding toasted coconut on top (otherwise, it’s completely raw).


1/3 cup pecans
1/3 cup macadamia nuts
2 tablespoons agave syrup
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons cacao powder
1/4 teaspoon salt


2 cups fresh coconut, shredded
3/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup cashew butter
1/2 cup cacao powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the crust, in a food processor, process the dry ingredients first (nuts, cinnamon, cacao powder, and salt). Then add the agave, coconut oil, and vanilla extract, and process until combined. Take the mixture out and press it into the bottom of a 7-inch springform cake pan. Put the pan in the freezer to set while you work on the filling.

For the filling, add all the ingredients to the food processor and process until combined.

To assemble the cake, take the crust out of the freezer. Spoon the filling into the springform pan. Place in the freezer for a few hours, or in the refrigerator overnight to allow the cake to set.

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