Prepare my homemade pie crust recipe through step 6, or begin with a store-bought pie crust.
When your pie crust is thoroughly chilled and ready to use, prepare a pie plate with the pie crust and sprinkle the chopped sweetened shredded coconut evenly into the bottom of the pie crust.
Adjust the oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt and whisk until smooth. Add the flour or cornstarch and whisk again until everything is combined. Some small flour bits are ok, but whisk or press out any larger chunks.
Pour the custard mixture evenly into the pie crust over the shredded coconut. Take care not to overfill the pie dish (some shapes and depths of pie plates will be a tad too small for all of the filling-- only about 3-4 Tablespoons' worth of custard filling).
Pour the mixture into the unbaked pie shell. Attach a pie shield or wrap the edges of the crust in foil.
Bake pie for 80-90 minutes, removing the pie shield/foil about 20 minutes before pie is done baking. You will know the pie is done when edges are set and the middle still has a bit of jiggle to it. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before serving. Top with homemade whipped cream and toasted shredded coconut, if desired. Store leftovers covered tightly in the refrigerator up to 5 days. Coconut custard pie freezes well, up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
Homemade pie crust: my recipe makes a double pie crust. You can freeze the second pie crust, or just halve the recipe. Pie dough can also be made up to 5 days in advance and sit wrapped tightly in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
Whole milk: it is important to use full-fat milk in this pie to insure the custard sets properly.
Flour/cornstarch: this is solely for giving structure to the pie. Cornstarch is gluten free, if you're using a gluten free pie crust and want to keep the whole pie free of gluten. Weight measurements are 24g of cornstarch or 23g of all-purpose flour.