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Dawn Wells Coconut Cream Pie

Best known for her role as Mary Ann on the hit sitcom "Gilligan's Island", we decided to pay tribute and make her signature dessert.

Sadly Dawn Wells recently passed away and some of her fans asked if I'd do an episode to pay tribute. While my television knowledge is not on par with my film knowledge, it was fun to dive in anyway. Besides it would be fun to mix it up and do more classic television themed Hollywood Kitchen episodes in the future.

The Recipe

Dawn Wells wrote a cookbook inspired by "Gilligan's Island". I wanted to buy a copy, but when I looked online the prices ranged from $60 up to $300. Apparently they are very collectible.


-3 egg yolks

-dash of salt

-3/4 cup sugar

-3 cups milk

-2 tablespoons butter

-1/2 cup cornstarch

-1 cup coconut

-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

-1 baked 9 inch pie shell

-3 egg whites

-coconut for garnish


I don't have a double broiler, so I just used a saucepan and hotplate to mix up the ingredients.

Combine the egg yolks, salt, egg, sugar, milk and butter. As soon as it comes to a boil, mix in the cornstarch and water. I made a mistake here and should have made a slurry with the cornstarch and milk to avoid lumps. Cook over heat and stir with a wire whisk until it becomes thick. Add the coconut and vanilla and stir well before pouring into baked pie shell. If you have leftover mixture it can also be used as pudding. Beat egg whites with high speed mixture and add a tiny pinch of sugar and spread over the top of the pie. Instead of putting the entire pie in the oven, I toasted the coconut on a cookie sheet beforehand and sprinkled the toasted coconut on top of the pie.

Special Guest

My special guest of this episode was Dr. Annette Annette Bochenek. She is a film historian, scholar and professor and runs the blog Hometowns to Hollywood. Annette is a big fan of "Gilligan's Island" and met Dawn Wells.

The Final Result

This was definitely a success. It is rich, creamy and delicious! This would make a great item to take to a summer party. The next time I make it, I may even do so as a pudding and serve it in little cups with fruit topping and paper umbrellas.

There were a number of charities that were very important to Dawn Wells. Her charitable efforts included working as chair of the Terry Lee Wells Foundation, focusing on women and children in Northern Nevada, the Elephant Sanctuary and the Shambala Preserve.


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