In a medium heatproof bowl, combine the sugar, salt, cornstarch, and egg yolks and whisk until well blended.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the half & half to just under the boiling point. Whisk about 1 cup of the hot half & half into the egg yolk mixture to temper the yolks so they won’t curdle, then, continuing to whisk, add the remainder of the half & half in a steady stream.
- Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water) and cook, whisking constantly, until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Remove from heat and allow filling mixture sit for 2 to 3 minutes to cool slightly, then whisk in the butter, vanilla, coconut extract, and 1 cup of the coconut. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard so that a skin does not form and allow to cool for about 30 minutes or until it reaches room temperature.
- Spread the filling evenly in the prebaked pie shell. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip with whipped cream and pipe it over entire surface of pie. Then pipe the rest of the whipped cream on top in decorative swirls. (If you don’t have a pastry bag, you can do both steps using a spatula). Sprinkle the remaining 3/4 cup of coconut on top of the whipped cream.
- The pie is best served the same day, but it can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
For Graham Cracker Crust
- Position a rack in the lower third of oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, blend together the graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar.
- Drizzle in the butter and mix with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened.
- Press the mixture evenly over the bottom and about halfway up the sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until lightly golden. Cool completely before filling.
For Fresh Whipped Cream
Using a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or a large mixing bowl using a handheld mixer), whip the cream on medium speed until it starts to thicken. Add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until the cream holds nice soft peaks.