Those old cartoons really messed up the way we see pies. It always looked so easy to make. But in reality, making pie isn't all that simple—even if it only involves making a crust and filling, then putting them on a pie plate.
But in this buko pie recipe, we try to fill all the gaps to give you a seamless, foolproof pie-making experience that'll give you a buttery, flavorful, and, most importantly, flaky crust with a purely coconut-tasting filling.
- 340g unsalted butter, divided into 2 sticks
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt, preferably Kosher salt
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 8–9 tbsp ice-cold water, more if needed
- ½ cup coconut water
- ⅓ cup + 2 tbsp white sugar
- 3–4 tbsp cornstarch
- 2 ½ tbsp powdered milk
- ⅔ + ¼ cup coconut milk
- 5 ½ cups soft young coconut meat
- 1 ½ tsp vanilla
- ¼ cup coconut cream
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ + ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 egg, beaten
Make the Crust
Place one stick of butter in the freezer, then slice the other stick into cubes and place in the fridge.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, and sugar.
Once the first stick of butter is frozen, coat it in the flour mixture.
Grate the frozen butter into the bowl.
Add the cubed butter (the one from the fridge), then gently squash it in the flour with your hands until you end up with irregularly sized lumps.
Add 5–6 tablespoons of water and gently "claw" the dough with your hands. Add water by the tablespoon if it feels too dry. You should end up with a shaggy dough that holds its shape when formed into a rough ball.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a ball using a bench scraper to minimize contact with your hands.
Divide the dough into three, then stack them on top of each other, pushing the crumbly bits back into the dough. Repeat this step until all crumbly bits are better integrated.
Divide the dough into two pieces and place each half on a separate sheet of plastic wrap. Working one piece at a time, roll the dough into discs.
Chill the dough for at least 2 hours. If possible, leave it in the fridge overnight.
Make the Filling
In a saucepan over low heat, combine coconut water, sugar, cornstarch, powdered milk, coconut milk, and a pinch of salt.
Mix until sugar has completely dissolved and everything's well-combined.
Once slightly thick, add the coconut meat, stirring until fully coated.
Mix in the vanilla and coconut cream then set aside to cool.
Make the Topping
In a large bowl, combine flour, desiccated coconut, sugars, salt, and butter. Mix well then set aside.
Assembling the Pie
Using a rolling pin, flatten dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a disc, about ⅓-inch thick.
Place the dough over the pie plate, making sure you're not leaving space between the crust and the plate.
Trim the dough with scissors, leaving about 1 ½ to 2 inches of overhang to tuck it underneath the dough.
Gently press the dough into the pie plate then freeze it for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat an oven to 400°F (200°C). Once dough is frozen, prick it with a fork and brush with a beaten egg.
Partially bake the crust for 5–6 minutes until slightly browned but still pale.
Remove the crust from the oven, then add the filling, followed by the topping on top.
Loosely cover the pie plate with foil, then bake for 20–23 minutes.
Remove pie and take out the foil. Lower the oven to 350°F (177°C), then return the pie to bake for another 25 to 25 minutes.
Check the pie every 10 minutes. If the top is browning too much, add the foil again and continue baking until the bottom crust is golden brown.
Cool the buko pie for 1 ½ hours before serving.
When working with the pie dough, it's important that the elements are cold. If possible, cover the mixing bowl with the flour mixture with foil or cling wrap, then keep it in the fridge as you wait for the butter to freeze. If the dough starts to get warm while rolling it, chill it in the freezer again.
Covering the frozen butter with the flour mixture gives you a better grip so it doesn't slip from your hands as you grate it.
Your hands are warm enough to melt the butter in the dough, so try to minimize contact by using a bench scraper to shape it.
Dividing the dough into thirds, then stacking them on top of each other helps create extra layers.
Chilling the dough in the fridge overnight hydrates the flour.
Place your pie plate in the fridge before using to prevent the butter from melting.
It's important to freeze your pie after shaping or filling, right before baking.
Brushing the dough with egg helps create a barrier between the pie crust and the filling, avoiding a soggy bottom crust.