1Separate eggs and beat yolks and set to side. Save egg whites for meringue or an egg white omelet. Mix flour, cornstarch, salt and sugar and stir well in a medium sized pan. Add milk to pan. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly. Boil 2 minutes, then temper egg yolks, and add all back in to pan. Cook again until it comes to a bubble, and boil 1 more minute. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla, stir till butter is melted then add the additive. Stir well and pour into pie shell. If adding meringue to top, do that now but if using whipped cream then wait till later.
2Notes: Notes: First to temper eggs, stir a ladle of hot filling into egg yolks then add another and stir and another and stir. Then pour it all back into pan.
3For Meringue: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together the sugar and water until the sugar is completely moistened. Cook until the syrup boils. Turn the heat to low. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks form. Bring the sugar syrup to 236 degrees and slowly drizzle the sugar syrup down the side of the mixing bowl into the whites with the motor of the mixer running. Beat the whites for an additional 2 minutes until shiny.
Top the custard with meringue. Seal the edges carefully with meringue, and transfer to the oven. Bake until browned, about 10 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
4For Stabilized Whipped Cream: When Pie is completely chilled, Soak gelatin in water for 5 minutes. After sitting. dissolve gelatin over hot water in double boiler. Let this cool. Whip the cream slowly adding sugar till its all incorporated. Continue to whip on high till it forms stiff peaks. Spread on Pie.
On each of these sprinkle the top with coconut, for whipped cream topping it goes directly into the ice box, sprinkle coconut on the meringue before baking it.
5Additives: Now the different flavors and any changes:
Coconut: just add one can of coconut except for a small handful to put on top.
Banana: Slice the bananas and dip in acidulated water, I usually just add a tablespoon of lemon juice to a cup of water then dip my slices in and out to drain. Then I layer the bananas in the bottom of the pie crust, then pour the filling over it. Takes 1-2 bananas
Pineapple cream pie: I small can of crushed pineapple drained well, then stir it into cooked filling.
Cherry Cream Pie: Take 1 jar of maraschino cherries and drain them and then roughly chop them. Stir them into filling with 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract
Chocolate: Add 4 ounces semisweet chocolate to pan with milk and then cook it as above. Please note it will look weird and more like freckly until right at the end, but I promise it will come together.
Peach cream: Add a drained can of peaches that have been diced.
And so on, you are limited only by your own imagination.
Now a couple of biggies as far as I am concerned. These recipes were made up when I was a little girl or before, at that time, milk was different and most families had their own source of milk. The pie will be just fine as it is written but to get closer to how they tasted when I was a little girl, use half and half in place of the milk. It will knock their socks off.
Also you are not limited in your meringue and whipping cream to the way it says. I like to use brown sugar instead of white sugar in my whipping cream for the fruit based pies. I also will sprinkle a wee bit of cinnamon in it also. At times I will put only half the amount of vanilla and add equal amount of almond extract. I also have been using the French vanilla extract a lot.