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Sweetened coconut flakes - will they be a problem?

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I've been wanting to make a coconut custard pie. (Not to be confused with a coconut cream pie.) I want the end result to be similar what I remember as a child. I needed an old fashioned recipe, & plan on using the one Eagle brand (Borden) has posted on their web site. Their recipe doesn't specify whether to use sweetened or unsweetened coconut flakes. Every other recipe I checked clearly states UNSWEETENED coconut flakes. I've checked at all my local stores & none sell unsweetened. When I make the pie should I cut back on sugar? Toast the flakes at a lower temperature? (What temp should I use?) Or should I wait till the day I come across unsweetened flakes to bake this pie?

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  1. I am surprised you are seeing many recipes calling for unsweetened, since supermarkets sell sweetened, almost without exception. It's fine to use sweetened. In North America, if unspecified, the recipe means sweetened coconut. There was a thread about that just recently.

    Cut back on the sugar in the recipe by perhaps a teaspoon per cup of (loose) sweetened coconut used. If you are toasting the coconut in the oven, lower the temp by 25 degrees F and watch it. Or do a toasting test run with a tablespoon of coconut and time the results. If you are toasting in a pan on the stove, drop the heat a bit and stir constantly.

    1. You need to check health food stores. They always have it.

      1. Since the recipe from Eagle doesn't specify, my bet goes to sweetened coconut, since that is what is and has been normally available in grocery stores. Make the recipe with the amount of sugar specified. As for toasting the coconut, I have always toasted sweetened coconut flakes in a 350 degree oven, stirring after five minutes, and then watch it carefully. It goes from toasted to burned in the blink of any eye!

        1. I would assume sweetened (for American recipes) since that's what prevalent. Generally, I use sweetened in dessert type dishes and unsweetened in savory dishes, like curry.

          1. Unsweetened flaked coconut can be found at health food stores, or Whole Foods if you have one nearby. Maybe Trader Joe's also. But I agree with others that the Eagle brand recipe is probably written for sweetened coconut - particularly since, unless I'm missing something, it doesn't contain any added sugar - just what's in the coconut and the sweetened condensed milk.

            1. Do you have a co-op or other food store that sells bulk foods? That might work. Unsweetened coconut flakes are delicious and worth the search, if you can find them.