Buko Pie…a hometown specialty!

I read an interesting story about Buko pie (Young Coconut) pie and that it originated from a city in my hometown of Laguna, Philippines.

The creators of this Filipino pastry were the Pahud sisters who were locals of the city of Los Baños, Laguna. Soledad Pahud returned to her family in the Philippines after she worked as a maid in the United States. While she was working abroad, she learned to make apple pies.  In the process of starting up a bakeshop business, Pahud tried to recreate the American dessert with the help of her sisters. As apples were not native to the Philippines, Pahud along with her family improvised and replaced the ingredient with “buko” or young coconuts. Using “buko” as the ingredient for the pie filling was recommended by one of the sisters named Apolonia because of the resource’s abundance locally. The Pahud sisters’ bakeshop business grew into what is now Orient Buko Pie Bakeshop, their own bakery specializing in buko pies. The sisters also created their own variations of the buko pie which include apple buko pie, pineapple pie, and tropical pie.

The thought process behind my Buko pie curiosity derived from a close friend of both my husband and I. He recently visited the Philippines for a month’s vacation. So as an ode to his wondrous adventure comes my humble version of Buko pie…

Original recipe adapted from Memories of Philippine Kitchens

For the basic pie pantry (Makes enough for one 9-inch double pie crust)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 baking powder
  • 2 sticks (1/2 lb) organic unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons ice water

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  1. Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl. Cut the butter into the flour using your fingertips or with a pastry blender (or pulse in a food processor) until the consistency resembles a coarse meal with visible bits of butter.
  2. Drizzle 4 tablespoons ice water evenly over the mixture and gently stir with a fork or pulse until incorporated.  Pinch off a small handful of dough; If it does not hold together, add more water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring or pulsing after each addition.
  3. Place the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the ball of dough in half, and into disks about 1/2-inch thick. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least one hour or up to 2 days.

For the pie filling:

  • 1 cup young coconut juice
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup organic heavy cream
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 package (equates to 4 cups) Bob’s Red Mill unsweetened shredded coconut

For the egg wash:

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon milk

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  1. In a small bowl whisk together coconut juice and cornstarch until smooth.
  2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine heavy cream and sugar and bring to simmer about 3 minutes, or until sugar dissolves.  Add-in coconut; continue to simmer and stir.  Slowly pour-in coconut juice-cornstarch mixture.  Bring to simmer, stirring continually until thickened, about 2 minutes.  Set aside and let cool completely
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F.  Meanwhile, roll out pastry, divide dough in half and roll each piece out (14-inch circle, 1/8-inch thick) on a lightly floured surface.  Use one of the pastry circle to line a 9-inch pie pan, pressing crust into the sides and bottom of the pan.  NOTE:  Before pouring-in the filling, I used pie weights and place the crust in the oven for about 15 minutes to prevent crust from bubbling– this is optional).  Otherwise, pour-in the cooled coconut filling evenly over the pastry.  Fit the second dough circle on the top of the pie and flute the edges as desired.  NOTE:  I wanted to give the pie a rustic look so I opted to not trim the bottom of the pie crust;  I did trim the top crust to use excess dough for decorative purposes, as pictured.
  4. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk with the milk to make the egg wash.  Brush the top of the pie with the egg wash.  Then using a kitchen fork, prick 6 vent holes on top of the pie.
  5. Place pie on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 350°F and bake until the crust is golden brown, 30-40 minutes.  Cool slightly before serving.

Buko Pie