This is a great dessert for those who love coconut cream but aren't a fan of regular pie crust. The cream cheese layer makes it especially delicious, but it's easy to customize this dessert to make it your family's favorite. See options in Direction #10. =^..^=
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mist an 8 x 8" baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
Melt butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Stir in flour, sugar, and pecans until well-mixed.
Put crust mixture into the prepared 8 x 8" pan and even out with a large fork. (Or use your fingers. We won't tell.) =^..^=
Bake crust in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Watch closely & don't over-bake or the crust will be too hard to cut easily. Set aside to cool.
Put the coconut on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 5-7 minutes, stirring every 3 minutes. Watch carefully! (Don't ask me how I know this.) If the coconut is mostly browned, just stir it up and call it done. Set aside to cool.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a mixer. Add the powdered sugar & blend well. Put the mixer away...
...then GENTLY fold in 1 cup of Cool Whip with a large spoon. Put this in the refrigerator to stay cold while the crust and coconut cool.
Mix together the instant pudding and milk until the pudding thickens. (I just used vanilla instant pudding & folded in about 1/4 cup of the toasted coconut to the finished pudding.) Refrigerate until ready to use.
Once the crust has cooled, assemble the dessert. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the crust. Next, comes the pudding layer. Top with the remaining Cool Whip. Sprinkle toasted coconut over the Cool Whip.
Serve cold and refrigerate any leftovers. But don't expect to have any! =^..^=
OPTIONS: (1) Use homemade or prepared graham cracker crusts instead of the pecan crust. This would easily make two pies. (2) Skip the coconut altogether. (3) Consider chocolate pudding with mini chocolate chips on top instead of coconut. (4) If you don't like cream cheese, skip that layer. (5) Put banana slices between the cream cheese and vanilla pudding layers. You decide if you still want coconut in the pudding or on top. (6) Another idea if you don't like coconut, sprinkle chopped pecans or walnuts on top.
If you use any options or make up even more, please post them below. We love options!