With a fork, prick bottom and sides of unbaked pastry in pan at about 1-inch intervals. Bake in a 375° regular or convection oven until golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool on a rack.
Scatter coconut over bottom of pastry.
In a 2- to 3-quart pan, mix 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup cornstarch, milk, and egg yolks until well blended. Stir over medium-high heat until mixture boils and thickens, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour over coconut in crust.
In a small bowl, mix remaining 1/3 cup sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch.
In a deep bowl, with a mixer on high speed (use whisk attachment if available), beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt until very foamy. Add sugar-starch mixture, 1 tablespoon every 30 seconds, and continue to beat until meringue holds stiff, glossy peaks.
Spoon meringue onto hot pie filling. With a spatula, spread meringue evenly to rim of pie shell.
Bake in a 325° regular or convection oven until meringue is lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
Let pie cool on a rack about 3 hours. Cut into wedges and serve, or invert a large bowl over pie (it shouldn't touch meringue) and chill up to 1 day.
This pie turned out delicious! A few recommendations: use the baking instructions on the box of the refridgerated pie crust. I used the directions included with the receipe and it didn't work out quite right. Also, next time I think I will sprinkle the coconut right into the custard, or definately put a light layer on top. I didn't use the meringue recipe (I used whipped cream instead) but the custard turned out simply wonderful. Can't wait to make it again.
I loved this pie and so did my husband and friends we shared it with. Originally I was going to say that I would mix the coconut into the custard as it was a little strange having a layer of the coconut by itself, but then I read the reviews about it possibly keeping the crust from getting soggy - so maybe I won't do that! Either way, it still tasted great! I used a frozen pie crust, which was fine, but would probably try the refrigerator crust next time.
I love this recipe! I made it yesterday for my mother's birthday (it's her favorite pie next to lemon meringue). I used refrigerated pie crust then followed the recipe exactly. Placing the coconut on top of the baked crust, instead of in the cream, made the pie crust stay nice and crisp ... even a day after I baked the pie! I would make this recipe again and again. The pie is a little rich, but not too sweet. A small piece is just right. It would be the perfect ending for a backyard summer picnic or Easter dinner!
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