Make Kelis's Luscious Coconut Cream Pie

Make Kelis's Luscious Coconut Cream Pie
Al Powers/Retna

05/17/2011 AT 03:05 PM EDT

Hear the name Kelis and you might start craving a milkshake – thanks to her huge 2003 hit song.

In fact, the pop singer's name should really stir up visions of more substantial food since she's a topnotch cook who was recently a guest judge on Top Chef. And she's a trained chef, too.

Back in 2008, Kelis took a break from her music career to attend the prestigious culinary school Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. "It was amazing," she tells PEOPLE. "It's the best thing I've done for myself in a long time."

The experience, which she describes as "full-on culinary college," helped her overcome her fear of baking. "Baking used to freak me out," she says. "Now I understand that it's a science. I can be as creative as I want to be but I can't be lackadaisical and whimsical. I'm not afraid of it anymore."

Which is why you'll often find the singer making her own bread or treating guests to all sorts of scrumptious desserts. Below she shares a go-to recipe for coconut pie – with a slight modification. (The singer makes her own homemade pie crust.)

"I learned it from my mom," she says. "I love coconut and it's so easy that I'm able to throw it together when people come over at the last minute. I usually make two at the same time because it goes so quickly."

Want to try Kelis' pie? Check out the recipe and make it yourself:

Make Kelis's Luscious Coconut Cream Pie| Celebrity Diners Club, Kelis

Joseph De Leo

Coconut Cream Pie

Serves 8

• 1 9-inch frozen pie shell
• 3 cups milk, divided
• 1 cup plus 6 tablespoons sugar
• ½ tsp. salt
• 7 tbsp. cornstarch, divided
• 1 ½ cup sweetened flaked coconut, divided
• 3 tbsp. butter
• 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
• 3 egg whites
• ¼–tsp. cream of tarter

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Bake pie shell according to package instructions.

In a large saucepan combine 2 cups milk, 1 cup sugar and salt. Bring to boil over medium heat.

Meanwhile whisk remaining 1 cup milk and 1 tablespoon cornstarch in a bowl.

Add to hot milk. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens, 3-4 minutes.

Add 1 cup coconut, butter and vanilla and cook, stirring, until mixture thickens again, 3-4 minutes. Pour into baked pie shell and cool while making meringue.

To make meringue, beat egg whites, remaining cornstarch and cream of tartar at high speed in an electric mixer until soft peaks form, 1-2 minutes. Add remaining sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, 5 minutes.

Spoon meringue onto pie, swirling to make soft peaks.

Top with remaining coconut and bake until meringue is browned and coconut is toasted, 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Eager for more pie? Check out the next page for a recipe for High 5 Pie in Seattle, featured on Cooking Channel's new show, Unique Sweets.

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