Dandelion cream pie is a fun way to enjoy fresh wild dandelions in the spring. The petals taste like honey, and they make a surprisingly good edible flower pie!
Every spring, I get the littles outdoors during the dandelion season, and they harvest bright sunny blossoms until their fingers turn yellow. When they were toddlers, it started out as a way to get them interested in nature, and it worked like a charm.
I told them that dandelions are delicious edible flowers (which is true) and promised that if they filled their harvest baskets we could make dandelion cookies. They dutifully went to work, as they’ll never turn down a promise of cookies.
Over the years, I had to get more creative, as they’d bring in baskets of blossoms, hoping for a new surprise baking project.
Thus far, we’ve made these tasty, honey-flavored blossoms into dozens of treats, including:
- Dandelion Shortbread Cookies
- Dandelion Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Dandelion Marshmallows
- Dandelion Honey
- Dandelion Gummy Bears
- Dandelion Ice Cream
This year, my youngest baby buddy went out with his harvest basket and quickly filled it with honey-flavored blossoms. He skipped alongside me in the cool spring air, and I asked, “So, what should we make this year?”
Without hesitation, he exclaimed, “DANDELION PIE!”
“Oh…well…ummm….are you sure? We could make anything, really. Are you sure?”
I tried to talk him out of it because, honestly, this mama had no idea how to turn dandelions into a pie. I’d finally met my match.
But he was adamant that only pie would do, and a promise is a promise.
I sat on the porch and dug through my favorite pie cookbook, and flipping past page after page of pies that just wouldn’t work. How do you bake dandelions into a pie?
The petals are the sweet part, with all the honey flavor, and you don’t use the whole intact blossoms. A jar of dandelion petals is like a cup of shreads.
How do you turn tiny shreads of plant material into a pie?
And then I flipped the page to coconut cream pie…
Wait, dandelion petals aren’t all that different in texture than shreaded coconut. Sure, they have a different flavor, but how else do you turn tiny flavorful plant shreads into a pie besides a tasty cream pie?
Thus, dandelion cream pie was born.
I started with the coconut cream pie recipe from America’s Test Kitchen’s Pie Cookbook, but you can use any coconut cream pie recipe provided it’s made from scratch (rather than with boxed coconut pudding).
Some recipes use flour as a thickener, some use corn starch, it doesn’t really matter, choose your favorite as they both work well.
I’d recommend using honey as the sweetener, or if you’re really ambitious as we are, you can make your own dandelion honey from dandelion petals and use that as the sweetener. You can replace the sugar 1:1 with either honey or dandelion honey.
Second, I’d recommend letting the filling cool before stirring in the cleaned dandelion petals. We made this several times, and the petals have a much better flavor (and texture) if they’re raw. If the pudding filling is hot, it’ll cook the petals and they won’t be as good.
You can also just use dandelion honey as the sweetener, and skip the dandelion petals in the actual pie if you think you won’t like the texture.
I love it, as did my son, but my daughter thought the petals gave it a weird texture.
She loved the flavor, but said she’d like it better if it was just flavored with dandelion honey rather than including the actual petals. To each their own, make it however you want.
Be sure you clean the petals really well, and by that, I don’t mean washing. I mean removing all the green parts (the sepals) from the blossoms and only including the yellow petals.
A cup of cleaned petals requires about a quart of whole blossoms.
The original recipe calls for sweetened shredded coconut, along with 1/2 cup of sugar. I only used 1/2 cup of dandelion honey, and I thought it was just right, but I tend to like low-sugar recipes. Opt for 3/4 cup if you like sweeter treats.
I also don’t sweeten the whipped cream topping, but I imagine most people would prefer it with a bit of sugar or honey. The original recipe calls for 1 Tbsp of sugar and 1 cup of heavy cream.
For the crust, you can blind-bake a regular pastry pie crust, or you can use a graham cracker crust as I did. We make a lot of pies, and I can whip up a pie crust just fine…but I really hate blind baking crusts. They just never quite come out right.
I think the graham cracker crust goes better with the dandelions anyway, since graham crackers have a natural honey taste.
Most of the yellow color comes from the inclusion of 5 egg yolks, and our free-range chickens love dandelions too. The same carotenoids that give dandelions their color go into the egg yolks of free-range chickens, giving them those intense, deeply colored yolks.
These Ameraucana Chickens may lay blue-colored eggs on the outside, but their yolks are deep orange/yellow from all the dandelions in their diet.
All those yolks help add richness to the pie, and they’re cooked until they thicken into a traditional cream pie filling. (So no, they’re not raw, don’t worry.)
Dandelion Cream Pie (Edible Flower Pie)
Dandelion cream pie is a creative way to use edible flowers in season.
Dandelion Pie Filling
- 3 cups whole milk, divided
- 1/2 cup honey or dandelion honey, see notes
- 5 large egg yolks
- 5 Tbsp. corn starch
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup dandelion petals, yellow parts only
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (from about 12 full sheet crackers)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Whipped Cream Topping
- 1 cup heavy cream (or whipping cream)
- 1 Tbsp. Honey (or dandelion honey)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
- Prepare the crust by combining all ingredients in a food processor and pulsing until they come together into a coarse sand. Press the crumbs into the bottom of a 9'' pie pan and chill in the freezer until needed.
- Mix 1/4 cup of milk with the honey, egg yolks, cornstarch, and salt until it comes together into a smooth paste. It's going to be thick, but be sure there aren't any clumps of cornstarch.
- Add the remaining 2 3/4 cups of milk into a saucepan and heat it on the stove until just steaming (but not bubbling), about 180 F (80 C).
- Slowly whisk the hot milk mixture into the yolk mixture to temper it, adding just a little at a time so the yolks don't cook.
- Once tempered, pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat until it thickens. This should be about 180 F (80 C).
- Remove from heat and continue stirring so that the bottom doesn't scorch. Pour into a separate container to cool to room temperature.
- Once at room temperature, stir in the dandelion petals and vanilla (if using).
- Pour the filling into the prepared, chilled graham cracker crust. Chill the whole pie for at least an hour (or longer).
- Once chilled, make the whipped cream by whipping cream on high with a hand mixer until it forms stiff peaks. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Top the pie with whipped cream and serve.
This pie calls for 1/2 cup honey or dandelion honey, which is a simple syrup made with dandelion tea and sugar. You can also use plain sugar in place of the honey, but the pie won't have as intense of a "honey" like dandelion flavor. Add more sugar if you'd like a sweeter pie, increasing to 3/4 cup of honey, sugar or dandelion honey.
Edible Flower Recipes
Dandelions aren’t the only edible flower you can use in your kitchen!
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