Donna Calbough’s Coconut Pie Recipe


Tasty Traditions

By Gray Bennett | Photography by Kristina Armstrong

What could be sweeter than dessert? For some, beloved sweet treats often go hand in hand with a special tradition shared with family and friends. From family game nights to birthday celebrations, a nostalgic dessert always adds more meaning to the memories. Here, we spoke with four locals to learn more about what makes their tasty traditions so sweet. 


Donna Calbough With her daughter Teresa Dinger and two of her three grandchildren, hunter and haille dinger

In Donna Calbough’s family, it has become a tradition to pass down the recipe for coconut pie from one generation to the next. Calbough learned the recipe from her mother, and today, she shares her love for the recipe with her daughter and granddaughter. This pie has a special place at holiday gatherings, but it is also a way for Calbough to connect with her daughter regularly. “Knowing that my daughter and I share it as one of our favorites, I will occasionally call her to say I have made us a pie,” she says. “I’ll invite her to stop by and enjoy a warm slice with me.” This mother-daughter time is a sweet tradition made possible by a recipe filled with love and memories. Calbough shares that, for her, traditions are “the glue that binds a family.” Coconut pie is a comforting treat that continues to bring her family together in times of celebration and everyday life. No matter the occasion, a slice of pie and the company of loved ones is what makes this tradition sweet.


Donna Calbough cutting into coconut pie

Donna Calbough’s Coconut Pie Recipe

Donna Calbough
“I have been making this recipe for as long as I can remember. It is the recipe my mother always used, and she taught me to make itat a young age.”
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings


  • ½ cup plain flour
  • 2/3 cup + 4 Tbsp. sugar, separated
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. coconut flavoring
  • 1 tsp. vanilla flavoring
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, to taste
  • ¼ tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 pre-baked pie crust


For the pie filling

  • Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.
  • Separate egg yolks from egg whites. Reserve egg whites.
  • Use a double boiler to warm the milk. Add egg yolks and then add dry mixture. Stir constantly until mixture thickens.
  • Remove from heat, and add butter, coconut flavoring, and vanilla flavoring. Beat with an electric mixer until custard is smooth and add to baked pie crust.

For the meringue

  • Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until fluffy while gradually adding 4 tbsp. sugar and cream of tartar. Then add to pie and sprinkle shredded coconut on top before baking in the oven until golden brown. The pie can be served warm or refrigerated.
Keyword coconut cilantro rice, coconut pie, Family Recipe, Pie
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