I had to tweak several recipes to come up with a coconut cream pie that I prefer best. I like the fact that I cut back on the amount of coconut, which, in my opinion, makes the pie too dry. I also use coconut extract instead of the vanilla in the filling to give it more of a coconut flavor.
1Bake 9" pie crust and cool completely. Seperate egg whites from yolks.
Combine sugar, cornstarch and butter in medium saucepan. Gradually add in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened.
2Beat egg yolks then add small amount of mixture to yolks, about a tablespoon and mix well. (This is called tempering). Repeat this twice more then add egg mixture to filling and cook over medium heat an additional minute or two. Fold in the coconut and then fill baked crust and place plastic wrap over filling to keep warm while making meringue. This also prevents a film between filling and meringue.
Preheat oven to 350. Using electric mixer, beat 3 egg whites until frothy. Add salt and cream of tartar. Beat until well combined. Beat in half the sugar and combine well then add remaining half of sugar, beating another minute or so. Add vanilla and beat another minute or so until stiff peaks will hold.
4Remove plastic wrap from filling. Spread meringue on pie making sure it touches the outside edges. Sprinkle a little coconut on top of meringue. Bake on 350 for approximately 10 minutes or until golden brown.
5*You can dilute the evaporated milk or you can use any milk you want. The pie will still be good but not as rich. I've made this pie with 1% milk, half & half and diluted evaporated milk. I do prefer the original way best but feel free to do either.