Mary Ann’s (Dawn Wells’s) Famous Coconut Cream Pie

Being a fan of classic television as well as classic film, I was particularly saddened to learn of the passing of Dawn Wells. Wells, of course, famously portrayed the wholesome Mary Ann Summers on Gilligan’s Island throughout the show’s three-season run and three feature films. A delightful individual both on and off-screen, television audiences the world over fell in love with her portrayal of Mary Ann.

I was lucky to be able to meet Wells in-person at the Chicago Autograph Show. Wells was every bit as warm, cordial, and kind with her fans as her beloved character was on the show.

I was happy to be invited to appear on Karie Bible’s Hollywood Kitchen once again to recreate Mary Ann’s Famous Coconut Cream Pie. Wells was proud of her work on the show and released the Gilligan’s Island Cookbook, featuring recipes from her family, fellow Gilligan’s Island cast members, and some fun recipes inspired by the show and its characters.

The Mary Ann character on the show is essentially a caricature of Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. Both are farm girls from Kansas and even sport the occasional gingham dress patterns. Crucial to island life, Mary Ann is the main cook on the isle, keeping her fellow castaways well-fed with tropical fare and her coveted coconut cream pie.

Following her recipe, the cream pie is easy to make. The meringue can be a little tricky if you haven’t made a meringue before but some whipped topping also makes for a great-tasting pie.

Karie and I worked through the recipe and really enjoyed the final result! We opted for pre-made crusts to save time and started working on the filling first.

The recipe produced a bit more filling than could fit in a standard 9-inch pie crust, so I did pour some leftover filling into a small bowl. As a stand-also, just the filling itself is delicious! It definitely makes for a mouth-watering coconut pudding.

Next up, we whipped up some meringue. I had a hard time keeping the meringue fluffy when sugar was added, so I’d advise to skip on adding in any sugar. The pie filling is sweet enough as-is.

After the pie was filled and topped with meringue, I dusted on some coconut flakes and popped it into the oven for about 5 minutes to toast the coconut and cook the meringue. The final result led the pie to take a more golden-brown hue.

The final result was well worth it! I think we definitely made Wells (and Mary Ann!) proud of our attempt.

You can also check out Karie’s experience with the recipe on her Hollywood Kitchen website here.

Additionally, the Dawn Wells Hollywood Kitchen episode is also available for viewing. Karie and I enjoyed chatting about Wells’s life, career, and legacy, while working on recreating her wonderful pie. You can view the episode here:

While Wells will certainly be missed by her many fans, friends, and family, her cheery legacy will definitely continue on.

About Annette Bochenek

Dr. Annette Bochenek of Chicago, Illinois, is an avid scholar of Hollywood’s Golden Age. She manages the Hometowns to Hollywood blog, in which she writes about her trips exploring the legacies and hometowns of Golden Age stars. Annette also hosts the “Hometowns to Hollywood” film series throughout the Chicago area. She has been featured on Turner Classic Movies and is the president of TCM Backlot’s Chicago chapter. In addition to writing for TCM Backlot, she also writes for Classic Movie Hub, Silent Film Quarterly, Nostalgia Digest, and Chicago Art Deco Society Magazine.
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1 Response to Mary Ann’s (Dawn Wells’s) Famous Coconut Cream Pie

  1. Robin R. says:

    Thank you Annette! That looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it myself.
    Pillsbury crusts never let me down. I like to focus on the insides also.

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