Tembleque de coco pie with dulce de leche sauce

‘Tembleque de coco’ means coconut pudding – so this recipe is a Latin spin on a coconut cream pie. One summer I roomed with a girl from Puerto Rico, who first exposed me to this creamy, velvety, yet surprisingly simple dessert. I came up with this pie as the grand finale for a 3-round cooking competition that my coworkers cleverly roped me and a dueling labmate into. After too much office bickering over who has superior cooking skills, it was suggested that we throw down Iron Chef-style and put it to a vote by our peers. I seized the opportunity to make my cooking prowess official! I have to give a shout out to Aaron Aziz for being a worthy contender, but could he really expect to stand up to the surly vegetarian? He doesn’t even have a food blog! Maybe we’ll rematch next year. I’m sure my lab mates would heartily encourage that suggestion.



  • 2 cans coconut milk (about 4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • juice of 1 small lime
  • Cinnamon
  • Toasted coconut flakes

Dulce de leche:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • optional: pinch of nutmeg and/or cinnamon


The dulce de leche takes several hours to make. Combine all dulce de leche ingredients except for baking soda in a large (4 quart) saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer (gentle boil), then add the baking soda and reduce heat to medium-low (keep at a bare simmer). Stir the mixture frequently, and cook uncovered for at least 1-2 hours until the mixture is a dark caramel color and thickens. Cook until it reaches a desired consistency, then cool and strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove chunks.

For the tembleque pie, start with half the recipe for pie crust (you’ll make the bottom crust only). Cook the crust (alone) for 20-25 minutes at 425 degrees, until it browns slightly. Take out the crust and cool. To make the pudding, combine the corn starch, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Whisk in the coconut milk over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens, then remove from heat, add the lime juice, and pour pudding into the cooled pie crust. Let chill in the fridge at least an hour before serving. Once the pudding firms up, sprinkle the pie with cinnamon and toasted coconut. Drizzle with dulce de leche and eat!


One Comment Add yours

  1. Caitlin M says:

    I want. That looks awesome.


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