I never used to think I would like coconut cream pie, partly because I don't ordinarily like custard-y desserts but mostly because all the coconut cream pies I had seen had mile-high whipped cream topping and I don't do whipped cream, aka flavored air with calories. Then when I was in culinary school, we made coconut cream pie and once I tasted it, my reaction was "where have you been all my life??" What helped me get over my unwarranted prejudice is by then I had already gotten hooked on the CIA's pastry cream recipe and this coconut cream pie recipe was very similar in how the pastry cream was made; the main difference was the addition of coconut. I also tried the pie without whipped cream and I was hooked.
The recipe below is straight from my CIA recipe binder so the directions are sparse and this is enough to make a full-size pie (at least an 8-9" pie). If you end up with more filling than you need, separate out what you need for the pie before you add the coconut and use the leftover as regular pastry cream. Or you can do what I did and bake it as mini pies, as many as you have crusts and filling for.
20 ounces milk
2 ounces sugar
1.5 ounces egg (1)
1 ounce egg yolk (2)
5 tablespoons cornstarch
2 ounces sugar
1 ounce butter
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
¾ cup shredded coconut
Unbaked pie crust(s)
1. Line pie pan(s) with pie dough, prick the bottom, line with parchment paper and beans or pie weights and prebake. Let cool.
2. Combine eggs, cornstarch, sugar and a little of the milk to make a paste.
3. Boil the milk with the sugar, temper the starch and bring back to a boil.
4. Add butter, vanilla and coconut.
5. Pour custard into pie pans and put into refrigerator.