I Made Laura Bush’s Texas Coconut Buttermilk Pie—and I’m Still Dreaming of My Last Bite

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This is one of the easiest pies I've made, and it's also incredibly sweet and delicious. Make Laura Bush's Coconut Buttermilk Pie recipe and taste for yourself.

Delicious, rich and easy to make? Sign us up! Laura Bush’s Coconut Buttermilk Pie recipe comes together with only six ingredients to make the filling. Pour it into a prepared pie shell, and watch it bake up into a tender and oh-so-sweet confection.

I made this sweet Texas pie for my family to enjoy after dinner, and they absolutely loved it. It was fast to assemble and didn’t require any fussy decorating; just dollops of whipped cream and flakes of golden-brown, toasted coconut. And yet it’s still a pie pretty enough to bring to a party, just like these other gorgeous pies.

Is This Really Laura Bush’s Recipe?

It is, indeed! Although this pie doesn’t appear in the official collection of the former first lady’s recipes on the George W. Bush Presidential Library website, the office of the former president confirms that it is one of Laura Bush’s family recipes. They also share that the recipe was adapted by Chef Cliff Zimmer, who served as a personal chef to President Bush.

Buttermilk pies are a favorite Southern dessert, a Depression-era recipe that made good use of plentiful and inexpensive buttermilk. Combined with sugar, it makes a sweet-tangy custard-like filling, and this variation is even more flavorful thanks to shredded coconut.

Here’s another Laura Bush recipe you might know: Cowboy Cookies.

How To Make Laura Bush’s Coconut Buttermilk Pie Recipe

This is the official recipe from Laura Bush, and the only change is topping the whole pie with whipped cream and toasted coconut. The pie serves 8.

Ingredients

Laura Bush Texas Buttermilk Coconut PieNancy Mock for Taste of Home

  • 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell (store-bought, or make your own pie dough)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup (half a stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 to 1 cup coconut flakes, or extra sweetened shredded coconut, for garnishing
  • 2 cups sweetened whipped cream

Tools You’ll Need

  • Whisk: Use an all-purpose balloon whisk to make the pie filling.
  • Mixing Bowl: A medium to large mixing bowl will work to make this recipe.
  • Baking Sheet: It’s easy to toast coconut on a baking sheet for a pretty topping.

Directions

Step 1: Prepare the pie filling

Laura Bush Texas Buttermilk Coconut PieNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Move a rack one notch below the center of the oven. Whisk together the granulated sugar, buttermilk, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup of sweetened shredded coconut.

Step 2: Pour and bake

Laura Bush Texas Buttermilk Coconut Pie ready to bakeNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell. Place the pan on the lowered rack in the preheated oven, and bake the pie for 35 to 40 minutes—the filling and crust edges should be golden brown. Remove the pie to a cooling rack and let it cool completely.

Step 3: Toast the coconut

Laura Bush Texas Buttermilk Coconut Pie toasted coconutsNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Spread the coconut flakes or shredded coconut on a baking sheet. Place it under the broiler in your oven for 30 seconds to one minute, watching closely, until the coconut is lightly browned. This happens fast, so don’t walk away! Remove the pan immediately and let the coconut cool.

Editor’s Tip: If you haven’t used coconut flakes before, look for them in pouches in the natural foods section of your store, from producers like Bob’s Red Mill and Terrasoul. The large flakes are lightly sweet and look fantastic when toasted and used as a garnish on this pie.

Step 4: Finish the pie

Laura Bush Texas Buttermilk Coconut PieNancy Mock for Taste of Home

Spread or pipe the whipped cream over the top of the pie, then sprinkle the toasted coconut over the top.

It’s easy to make your own fresh whipped cream.

How to Serve This Coconut Buttermilk Pie

Laura Bush Texas Buttermilk Coconut Pie.Nancy Mock for Taste of Home

Not only is this pie delicious, but it’s versatile, too. You can serve it right away after topping it with whipped cream and toasted coconut. Or, to make it ahead of time, cover the cooled pie without the whipped cream for up to three days. Add the whipped cream and toasted coconut up to 24 hours before serving. Because this pie filling is made with eggs, it’s important to store any leftover slices in the fridge—they’ll last as long as three days.

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Nancy Mock
Discovering restaurants, tasting bakery treats, finding inspiration in new flavors and regional specialties—no wonder Nancy loves being a food and travel writer. She and her family live in Vermont and enjoy all things food, as well as the beautiful outdoors, game nights, Avengers movies and plenty of maple syrup. Find Nancy’s writing and recipes at her website: Hungry Enough To Eat Six.