Tropical fruits were all the rage in the 1800s, as Americans and Europeans took great care to import bananas and pineapples.

But people scratched their heads over how to ship coconuts. It was the French who decided to shred and dry the coconut meat for easier shipping from Ceylon, and voila, a new ingredient emerged. From here it was a short hop, skip and a jump into delicious desserts such as custards and pies. And anyone who enjoys this creamy confection, is likely to whip one up for any occasion.

On National Coconut Cream Pie Day, we celebrate this exotic flavor that is now a part of our favorite recipes.