Buko pie is one of many desserts that originated from the Philippines.
Made using young coconuts, it’s sweetened with condensed milk and topped off with buttery meringue.
Here’s everything you need to know about this delicious treat so you can enjoy your own homemade version at home!
What Is The Main Ingredient In Buko Pie?
The ingredients are pretty simple when it comes down to it – just young coconuts (or “bukos”), condensed milk, and flour.
But there’s more to it than meets the eye, as you’ll soon see.
Young Coconuts (or “Bukos”)
When we talk about coconuts, we don’t mean those big ol’ ones sitting on our countertop or perched atop your kitchen cabinets.
We mean young coconuts, which have been harvested before they reach maturity.
These coconuts haven’t yet started producing oil, but their flesh is still edible.
They look like regular coconuts, but are smaller and thinner.
If you want to prepare buko pie, you will most likely find fresh young coconuts either locally or online.
If you live outside of Manila, you may be able to buy them fresh at a local market.
You might not think of condensation as something used to cook food, but it actually has its origins here in Asia.
The process involves heating water until the vapor pressure reaches equilibrium with atmospheric pressure.
This causes droplets of moisture to form around the steam molecules, resulting in water vapor instead of liquid water.
That means you can easily get rid of excess fluid by cooling the mixture down quickly.
Nowadays, people use an electric kettle to create condensed milk, which is then mixed into other recipes.
It’s also common to add flavoring agents such as vanilla extract, cocoa powder, or even coffee grounds.
Condensed milk is available in cans, cartons, jars, and boxes, depending on where you shop.
To bind all these different components together, you need some sort of dough.
In the case of buko pie, you’re using flour to help thicken the filling, and meringue to provide additional sweetness and texture.
You could also try making a gluten-free version by substituting rice flour for wheat flour.
How Do You Make The Crust For Buko Pie?
To create these pastry shells, start by melting some unsalted butter on low heat.
Once melted, add the flour into a bowl and stir until well combined.
Next, combine the eggs with two tablespoons of water and whisk them together.
Add half of the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix thoroughly.
Then pour in the remaining egg mixture and continue mixing until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
Afterwards, transfer the dough onto a work surface and knead it lightly.
You want to shape the dough into an even circle before rolling out.
To roll out the dough, use a rolling pin or dough cutter to cut several circles, each measuring approximately 2 inches (5 cm) across and 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick.
Once rolled out, place the balls of dough on top of each other and press down gently to flatten slightly.
Place the flattened dough back over a piece of parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap.
After 15 minutes, remove the plastic wrap and let the dough rest for another 5-10 minutes.
While the dough rests, begin preparing the custard.
In a medium saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer, bring 4 cups (1 L) of whole milk up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 C).
When the temperature reaches its maximum, remove the pan from the stovetop and set aside to cool completely.
When the milk has cooled, add 3 tablespoons of cornstarch and stir vigorously to break up any lumps.
Next, slowly pour in the condensed milk while stirring constantly.
Continue cooking over medium heat until the mixture becomes clear again, about 6-8 minutes.
Remove the pan from the stovetop and allow to cool further.
Lastly, whip the cream cheese with an electric hand mixer until soft peaks form.
Now, it’s time to assemble the pies.
Take one ball of dough and lay it flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Using a paring knife, score the center of the dough as evenly as possible, making sure not to go too deep.
Try to keep the scores close enough to resemble lines instead of triangles.
Place one scoop of custard inside the scored line, then add 2 teaspoons of whipped cream cheese followed by one teaspoon of caramelized banana slices.
Repeat until there are five layers of each ingredient.
Top the last layer of custard with some of the meringue and bake at 350 F (180 C) for 20 minutes.
Allow the pies to cool completely before serving.
What Is The Filling For Buko Pie?
The filling for buko pie consists of coconut cream and fresh coconut meat (or grated coconut).
Coconut cream is the milky liquid inside the coconut that contains fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals.
It also has an intense taste that makes it perfect as a topping for other dishes.
Fresh coconut meat or grated coconut is what gives buko pie its signature crunchy texture.
Both are available in supermarkets and grocery stores all over the world.
You may even find them frozen if they aren’t sold fresh.
When choosing ingredients for your buko pie, choose fresh ones whenever possible.
Fresh coconut meats have more flavor than canned ones and don’t require any additional processing before use.
Canned coconut milk should be used only when fresh options are not available.
Step 1 – Buy the right ingredients
To start making your buko pie, you must first buy the right ingredients.
If you want to ensure that you get the best results, you should avoid buying cheap products.
Instead, look for high-quality ingredients such as those listed below.
- Coconut milk
- Condensed milk
- Vanilla extract
- Yeast dough mix
You will also need eggs, baking powder, salt, flour, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice.
These items are important to help you achieve the desired outcome of your buko pie.
How Do You Bake Buko Pie?
The process of making buko pie is simple enough to make in an afternoon if you have all the ingredients on hand.
You just need to prepare some dough first.
- Put flour into a bowl and add salt.
- Pour water onto the dry mixture until it forms a thick paste.
- Knead the paste together until it becomes smooth.
Prepare the filling
After kneading the dough, put it into an oiled pan or baking dish.
Press down firmly to remove any air bubbles that may form while working with the dough.
Then spread out the dough evenly across the bottom of the pan before adding the liquid ingredients.
Next, mix together the condensed milk and eggs until well combined.
Finally, stir in the grated coconut and sugar before pouring over the top of the dough layer.
Use a spatula to carefully lift the edges of the dough up and over the filling so as not to disturb the custard underneath.
Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius (400 Fahrenheit) and allow the pan to come back up to room temperature.
Then, brush the sides of the pan with the melted butter and sprinkle with granulated sugar.
Bake for 15 minutes before removing the cover and giving the pie another 5-10 minutes to brown on the surface.
How Do You Serve Buko Pie?
You can eat buko pie in just two ways — either as a dessert or a breakfast food.
It works best when paired with coffee, but if you want something savory, try pairing it with eggs.
As a dessert, you can slice into the pie to get your fill of its creamy filling.
However, if you’re looking for more of an experience, you might prefer eating it by scooping out bite-sized pieces with a spoon.
One thing you should be aware of before trying to make buko pie at home is how much liquid goes into each serving.
Buying pre-made ones on store shelves can help cut down on the amount of water needed to create them.
But if you don’t have access to those, here’s what you should know about making your own version.
- Use 1 cup (250 mL) of coconut cream per 8 ounces (225 g).
- Add 2 cups (500 mL) of condensed milk per 8 ounces (225 g)
- Combine all three ingredients together until well mixed
- Transfer half of the mixture to a bowl and set aside.
- Pour remaining half into a baking dish.
- Top with meringue and bake for 15 minutes at 350 F/180 C degrees.
- Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving.
If you’d rather opt for buko pie as a morning snack instead of as a dessert, you may also use coconut cream as a topping over your favorite cereal.
You won’t necessarily need any condensed milk because this type of coconut milk has enough sweetness on its own.
What Are Some Variations Of Buko Pie?
The name “buko” refers to both the fruit and the dish itself.
It comes in two varieties: white buko (or fresh) and dark red buko (also known as dried), depending on whether or not they have been juiced first.
Fresh bukos come in small, medium, large, and extra-large sizes, while their dried counterparts generally only come in three different sizes.
White bukos are smaller than their red cousins, but both are also available canned and jarred.
In addition to buko, other ingredients used to make buko pie include evaporated milk, eggs, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, vanilla extract, sugar, and even chocolate chips!
What Are Some Common Toppings For Buko Pie?
The most popular topping on buko pie is whipped cream or ice cream.
It adds both sweetness and texture to the dish.
Some people also add caramel sauce as well.
Other options include fresh fruit such as strawberries, mangoes, bananas, and even pineapple slices.
This method uses egg whites instead of whole eggs.
Meringues tend to be more crumbly than other types of pies due to their lack of fat content.
However, they have a crispier exterior because of the way in which they are baked.
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar (plus 1 tablespoon if making chocolate chip)
- 3 large egg whites
- Pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and the egg whites until completely combined.
- Add the salt, vanilla extract, cream of tartar, and butter. Whisk again until there are no lumps.
- Place an 8-by-12-inch baking sheet in the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Once hot, remove the pan from the oven but leave the oven open for 10 minutes while the oven warms up.
- Using a spatula, spread the mixture evenly across the bottom of the prepared baking sheet.
- Return the baking tray to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Open the door and check to make sure the edges aren’t browning too much by gently lifting them with a pastry scraper or knife. If necessary, return it to the oven for another 5 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let cool slightly before cutting into squares or triangles.
You don’t necessarily have to use heavy whipping cream here — any type will work.
Just remember that when adding dairy products to food, it tends to become less palatable over time since these ingredients contain proteins that break down after extended exposure to heat, light, air, and moisture.
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- Optional: pinch of salt
- In a medium bowl, whip the cream with an electric mixer set to high speed until stiff peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and continue beating until smooth.
- Serve immediately.
How Do You Store Buko Pie?
Since young coconuts have limited shelf life, they should be eaten as soon as possible after being harvested.
You can buy fresh ones in markets or online if you live near an area where these fruits grow.
If you want to make buko pie ahead of time, you can keep them refrigerated until ready to use.
When making the filling, only add enough water to cover the fruit, then leave it overnight before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.
How Long Does Buko Pie Last?
When baking buko pie, make sure not to overfill the pie shell or else the filling will spill out during cooling time.
- Use a 9-inch (23 cm) round pie pan to bake the buko pie.
- The bottom layer should be slightly thicker than the top layer because they will cook separately.
- You may use an 8-inch (20 cm) square cake pan instead if desired.
Once baked, let cool completely before removing the sides of the pie shell.
Then fill in the center with the coconut mixture and place back on the rack to continue cooling until firm enough to slice.
It takes approximately two hours to fully set up after being filled with the coconut mixture.
You can cut slices as soon as they have cooled down but keep them refrigerated until serving time.
- 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (125 mL) water
- ⅔ cup (160 mL) evaporated milk
- ⅓ cup (80 mL) unsalted butter
- 4 egg yolks
- ¾ cup (175 mL) all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) lemon juice
- 10 cups (2.8 L) grated fresh coconut
- Meringue topping (recipe below)
In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and ½ cup (125 mL) of water.
Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the sugar.
Boil without stirring for 3 minutes, then remove from heat and add the evaporated milk, butter, and egg yolks.
Whisk well to incorporate the ingredients into each other while incorporating the eggs.
Once incorporated, return the saucepan to low heat and whisk constantly until thickened and smooth.
Remove from heat and stir in the salt, vanilla, and lemon juice.
Set aside to cool.
When the custard has cooled, fold in the grated coconut and pour the mixture into a clean bowl.
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
Line the inside of a 9 inch (23 cm) round pie plate with parchment paper and grease lightly with oil.
Pour the prepared coconut mixture into the prepared pie plate and gently spread to create an even thickness across the entire surface.
Bake for 30 minutes and reduce temperature to 300°F (150°C) for another hour.
Turn the oven off and leave the pie inside for 2 more hours.
While the pie bakes, prepare the meringue topping by beating together the egg whites, cream of tartar, and powdered sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
Increase speed to high and beat until soft peaks form.
Reduce speed to medium and slowly drizzle in 1/3 cup (75 mL) of cold water until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold in the remaining 1/3 cup (75 mL) of water along with the vanilla and chocolate chips.
Spread the meringue evenly onto the hot pie and carefully transfer to the refrigerator to harden overnight.
Cut into 12 equal pieces when ready to serve.
What Are Some Tips For Making Buko Pie?
First, make sure to use fresh, ripe coconuts – if they aren’t very soft, then they won’t work well in the recipe.
If you have trouble finding these, you can buy them online or in specialty stores like Asian markets.
Once you’ve got your ingredients ready, here are some tips on how to bake buko pie.
- To cut up the coconut, first remove the husk by peeling back the outer layer until you reach the hard shell underneath. Then pry open the top of the coconut with a knife and crack out the meat inside into small pieces. Repeat this process several times until all of the innermost part of the coconut has been removed.
- Next, place the coconut meat into a blender or food processor along with the condensed milk and sugar. Pulse until smooth (try not to over-blend). You may also want to add a little water to help blend better.
- Pour the mixture into an 8 x 12 baking dish or pan lined with parchment paper. Place the pan in the fridge for 24 hours before serving to let the coconut flavors seep through the coconut cream. This will result in a more flavorful pie than just mixing it together right away.
- After letting the coconut mix cool down, spread it evenly across the bottom of the prepared pan. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate again overnight.
- The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the coconut filling, and sprinkle with granulated white sugar. Spread the topping evenly across the whole surface of the filling.
- Place the uncovered baking tray in the center rack of the oven. Bake the pie for 30 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 300 degrees F and continue to cook for another hour. Remove the tray from the oven once the edges start turning golden brown, but don’t worry too much about having perfectly browned sides as the meringue will finish cooking while cooling in the refrigerator.
- While the pie bakes, prepare the meringue topping – whisk egg whites until stiff peaks form. Add 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, and gradually fold in the remaining sugar until combined. Once whipped, pour the mixture onto the cooled coconut filling and gently spread it across the entire surface. Return the pie to the oven for 15 – 20 minutes.
- Take the pie out of the oven when the meringue turns golden brown, which should take around 45 minutes total. Allow the pie to cool completely before cutting and serve.
FLAKY PIE CRUST
- 3 cups flour sifted
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cups lard chilled
- 6 tablespoons cold water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup coconut water
- 1/2 cup all-purpose cream
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 4 cups young coconut meat
- 1 small egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Making the crust Salt and flour should be mixed together with a balloon whisk. Use a pastry mixer to combine after adding the butter and shortening. As you mix the ingredients, gradually add a tablespoon at a time of cold water. Gather the mixture after everything has been thoroughly combined, then divide it into two equal halves. Each piece of dough should be flattened on a flat surface and rolled out with a rolling pin until it is large enough to fit an eight- or nine-inch cake pan. Note: To prevent the dough from adhering to the flat surface, sprinkle flour on it or use a silicon mat. Place the first dough layer on top of the cake pan. The base will be this. The second flattened dough should be set aside.
- This will be required following the placement of the mixture in the cake pan.
- The filling is prepared by heating a pan and adding the milk. Allow to boil.
- Stir in the white sugar granules.
- The young coconut meat should be added and cooked for 3 minutes.
- Add the cornstarch mixture, which has been diluted in fresh coconut water, and stir constantly while cooking. Cooking will thicken the consistency.
- Switch off the heat and let the mixture cool.
- The oven should be preheated at 375 degrees.
- In the cake pan, arrange the cooked filling.
- Over the filling, place the second crust, and press the edges together.
- Use a fork to make slits in the secondary crust. This will act as vents for exhaust, which will stop the crust from deforming.
- Until the color turns golden brown, bake for 45 to 55 minutes. Note: Baking times can change; be sure to check the crust’s color to see when baking is finished.
- After cooling, serve. Enjoy and share!