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Filipino Buko-Coconut Pie

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]AsianInAmericaBukoPieTopShotOutdoorJulyWe live 50 miles west of New York and folks often ask me to recommend the best Filipino restaurant in the city. I don’t know why people assumed I know which is the best, but when asked, I am happy to give suggestions.

Often, I name restaurants I’ve been to. I give the pros and cons. The deal breaker for me is how close to authentic Filipino flavors the food is. I’m talking about the kind of food I grew up with in the Philippines. The dishes must have home cooked flavors made from fresh, well-chosen ingredients.

A few years ago, I took  cooking classes from Chef Romy Dorotan at the Purple Yam Restaurant in Brooklyn. I didn’t mind the 2-hour drive to Brooklyn from our home. The lessons were worth it. To this day, I am still cooking those recipes I learned. Each time I do, the outcome is better and better. Just like this Buko-Coconut Pie. It is because Chef Romy’s cooking methods begin and end with care.

AsianInAmericaBukoPieCrustLatticeUnbakedJulyBuko (say “boo-koh”) translates to coconut. This pie which Chef Romy taught us is found in the cookbook “Memories of Philippine Kitchens” which was written by his wife, Amy Besa and himself.  They serve this pie at their restaurants : both of the Purple Yams in NYC and Malate, Manila.

I baked this buko pie in my American kitchen.  The sweet-coconut aroma of the rich, thick filling blended well with the buttery pastry. I closed my eyes and imagined for a moment that I had been transported back to the Philippines. Yes, the tropical flavors and coconut-like scent were so authentic, it was amazing.

When I served slices of buko pie to my sons, I disclosed the recipe was Chef Romy Dorotan’s. My homemade buko pie must have been so wonderful that my sons said “Romy is a genius!”

The late Doreen Gamboa Fernandez, the one who started it all for us with her food writings on Philippine cuisine once said about Chef Romy Dorotan “ … there is the creative imagination of Romy, Filipino culinary artist bringing to life food no one tasted before.”

Taking a cue from the quote of the late Ms. Fernandez, the doyen of Philippine food writing, I baked this Buko Pie and wrote a feature on Chef Romy Dorotan and Amy Besa.  For the complete story of this dynamic culinary couple, read my article “Purple Yam Spreads the Love” on PositivelyFilipino.com, the premiere online magazine about the Filipino. Click here.



Filipino Buko - Coconut Pie

The Filipino Buko-coconut pie is made with a filling of bottled sweet macapuno (coconut sport), coconut milk and heavy cream. I don't have access to fresh coconuts so I used the bottled sweet macapuno. I chose to make a lattice-type pie crust on the top to showcase the pristine, white thin coconut strips peeking out from under the crust. This recipe was  adapted from the “Memories of Philippine Kitchens” cookbook. Serves 8 to 10 for a 9-inch pie pan. Serve this buko pie a la mode with a side of homemade ube-purple yam ice cream (recipe in a past blog post here) for a truly authentic Filipino dessert.
Course: Dessert, Merienda, Snacks
Cuisine: American, Asian, Filipino
Keyword: Filipino Buko coconut pie
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 601.91kcal


  • Pie plate: 9-inches in diameter


  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour for pie crust
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup or 1 stick chilled, cut in small pieces unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup Crisco shortening chilled
  • 4 to 6 Tablespoons ice water
  • 2 cups bottled macapuno strings bottled Macapuno is coconut sport; found in Asian markets
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream for pie filling
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 whole egg for egg wash
  • 1/4 cup water room temperature, to combine with egg, for egg wash
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar for pie filling granulated sugar (optional if using sweet bottled macapuno); add sugar only if using fresh coconut strings (buko).
  • for serving ice cream, any flavor


  • How to make the pie crust: Sift the flour, salt and baking powder by whisking with a wire whisk in a large bowl. Add the butter and Crisco shortening to the flour mixture and cut with a pastry blender or pulse in the food processor. The texture should look like little peas. Add the ice water, a tablespoon at a time.
    Mix the pastry dough until it is smooth. Mix by hand or continue to use the food processor. The pastry should hold well together and look smooth.
    Place the dough on a floured surface. Divide into 2 disks and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate overnight so that it gets firm and easy to handle.
  • The next day, roll out one pastry disk to fit the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan. Prick the bottom crust with a fork. Line the pie shell with parchment paper on top, enough to cover it. Place pie weights or dried beans on parchment paper. This prevents the pastry from puffing up while baking.
  • Bake the bottom pie crust at a preheated oven of 350 F degrees for 15 minutes. When done, take out of the oven and set aside while you prepare the filling.
  • How to prepare pie filling: Whisk together in a bowl the coconut milk and cornstarch till smooth and there are no more lumps. Set this aside.
  • In a large sauce pan, over medium heat, combine the heavy cream and 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar. Mix well and let this simmer in about 3 to 4 minutes. Very slowly, add the coconut milk and cornstarch mixture. Then add the bottled macapuno strings, including the syrup. Incorporate it well.
  • Cook this mixture till it thickens in about 2 minutes. Pour into the pre-baked pie shell.
  • To prepare the top pie crust: Roll out the second pastry disk on a floured surface. Place the pastry on top of the filled pie.
    Or make a lattice top pie crust by slicing the pastry dough in 2-inch wide strips. Layer alternately in horizontal and vertical positions, like a basket. (See photo above).
    Seal the edges with egg wash. Using your thumb and forefinger, shape and seal the sides of the pie. Brush the entire pie top with egg wash.
  • To bake: Bake the pie in a preheated oven of 350 F degrees for 40 minutes. Then check the pie and turn it around inside the oven, for even baking. Bake for another 10 minutes more.
  • When done, cool the pie on the counter. Serve with ice cream on the side. Keep remaining pie refrigerated. This pie will keep for a week stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Cook's comments: In the original recipe of the cookbook, the authors used fresh coconut meat for this pie. Here in the USA, I don't have access to fresh coconuts unless I drive at least 2 hours away to Chinatown. So I substituted with bottled macapuno strings and canned coconut milk, both from the Asian supermarket.
  • Recipe notes: Macapuno is known as coconut sport. The bottled macapuno is either in strings or balls with heavy syrup. This is a Philippine-made coconut product and can be found in Asian supermarkets or online sources. Keep refrigerated.
  • Hello, Friends! All the images and content here are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to use my photos or content on your website  without my permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write it in your own words and simply link back to this blog to give proper attribution. It’s the legal thing to do. Thank you.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 601.91kcal | Carbohydrates: 93.2g | Protein: 6.35g | Fat: 23.59g | Saturated Fat: 15.73g | Cholesterol: 68.55mg | Sodium: 218.96mg | Potassium: 156.78mg | Fiber: 1.75g | Sugar: 50.75g | Vitamin A: 728.88IU | Vitamin C: 0.86mg | Calcium: 49.68mg | Iron: 2.5mg

Notes on Nutrition: The nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and specific brands of ingredients used.

Did you like this recipe?I have more Filipino Instant Pot recipes in my newest cookbook Instant Filipino Recipes: My Mother’s Traditional Philippine Cooking in A Multicooker Pot by Elizabeth Ann Besa-Quirino. I also have more classic recipes inspired by my mother’s cooking in my popular cookbook: My Mother’s Philippine Recipes. If you’re learning how to cook Filipino food or a fan of Philippine cuisine, buy my cookbooks and books on Amazon.com sold worldwide in paperback and Kindle format.

Copyright Notice: Hello, Friends! Please DO NOT LIFT OR PLAGIARIZE my original recipe, stories, photos or videos. All the images and content on this blog are COPYRIGHT PROTECTED and owned by my media company Besa-Quirino LLC. This means BY LAW you are NOT allowed to copy, scrape, lift, frame, plagiarize or use my photos, essays, stories and recipe content on your websites, books, films, television shows, videos, without my permission. If you wish to republish this recipe or content on media outlets mentioned above, please ASK MY PERMISSION, or re-write it in your own words and link back to my blog AsianInAmericaMag.com to give proper attribution. It is the legal thing to do. Thank you. Email me at [email protected]

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  1. Hi Betty! Thank you so much for sharing the Buko Pie recipe. I would love to try it. Do you mind telling me what brand of bottled macapuno you use? I bought one before but I had a feeling it wasn’t real macapuno but merely boiled coconut meat with sugar. I can buy fresh coconuts here in Houston but my problem is how to crack them open!

    1. Hi Bebett. I hesitate to recommend a specific brand because you might not find it in your area. I just buy the first thing I see on shelves at the Filipino grocery. If you have problems with the quality, suggest you talk to the manager so they’re aware and go with another supplier. But some of the bottled Macapuno I find here are ‘Barrio Fiesta’, ‘UFC’. Enjoy and thanks for the blog visit 🙂

        1. You’re welcome, Bebett. Yes, talk to the store manager if any products don’t look good. Even if you’ve opened it, bring it back and show them what the problem is. The store owner wants to protect his name, too. I know we can do that with American groceries. Trader Joe’s listens to customers and takes a product off their shelves when buyers complain. Hope this helps you.

  2. im about to make this pie, how ever confused as to how much sugar to use as it doesnt mention sugar in the ingredients, yet im suppose to mix heavy cream with sugar? Amount of sugar is not mentioned im gonna have to guess if i dont hear from u. Thankyou

    1. Hi Sandy. I apologize for the typo. I’ve adjusted the ingredients list to include 1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar to be added to the heavy cream. Sorry for the inconvenience. Thanks for the blog visit & please let me know how your Buko Pie turns out. Enjoy 🙂

  3. hi maam! 🙂 good day!
    im very interested to making this recipe and im just wondering what are the measurements when using real coconut strips and milk? im from cagayan de oro (philippines) and we have a good supply of coconuts here kase. 🙂 im hoping i’d get a reply from you ????

    1. Hi Ann Julie, Crisco is the brand for a vegetable shortening in solid form, colored white. For baking, it makes baked goods fluffy and flaky. It’s available year round and in major supermarkets. If you can’t find it, you can substitute butter or margarine in equal amounts. Good luck!

  4. Hi!! Beautiful recipe. It was really yummy! The only problem was it was a bit gooey. I used tapioca flour instead of cornstarch. Is that okay?

    1. Thanks, Marj. Glad you liked this buko pie recipe. Sorry, I’ve never used tapioca flour for this pie. When baking, I’ve found it is best to stick to the recipe 100% — baking is a chemistry and I don’t attempt to change the ingredients. Hope that helps. Enjoy your pie 🙂

      1. Yes! I bought a box of cornstarch yesterday and I will make two today hahaha!! Thank youuuu so much. I really appreciate your reply. God bless you.

        1. Thanks, Marj. Makes my day when friends like you recreate my recipes from the blog. You’ll do great. Enjoy and share/tag us on my Instagram, Twitter or Facebook blog page 🙂

          1. Hi! After my 3rd attempt. (I used cornstarch on my 2nd and 3rd) they were still running. I couldn’t find a heavy cream so I’ve been using pouring cream. Should I give it a whip first before putting it in the pan with sugar?

          2. Is heavy cream different from pouring cream? That’s what we have here in NZ. And I noticed all my pies came pur runny.

          3. Hi, Marj. Sorry I’ve never used pouring cream. Can you find Nestle’s cream in NZ? It might be a better substitute because of its heavy, thick consistency.

  5. If you don’t mind me asking. Can we drain the syrup from the bottles of macapuno? I am just worried if you don’t drain the syrup it might come out too sweet since the recipe calls for 1.5cups of granulated sugar. Your reply is truly appreciated. Thanks by the way for sharing the recipe. One of my comfort food .

  6. Oh myyyy!!! After my 5th attempt I finally figured what’s wrong. I wasn’t cooking it long enough to achieve the right thickness. Thank youuuu so much. And about the sweetness I made it 1 cup sugar instead of 1.5 since I didn’t want to drain the macapuno. Thankkk you so much.

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