Cream pies are custard pies which are thickened with either corn starch or flour and then topped with whipped cream. Always remember to add the thickening agent to the cold liquid ingredients first. If cornstarch or flour are added to hot ingredients they can lump and that's not a good thing.
Make sure once you have all the ingredients hot to bring to a boil and allow to boil for at least one minute. That will allow the thickening agent to reach its full potential to thicken the filling of the pie.
If the recipe says to cool the filling before adding the topping, cover with plastic wrap and press it gently against the surface to keep "skin" from forming on top as it cools.
Make sure the cream pie is completely cool before slicing. If not, you run a huge risk of the filling running all over the place. That is not a good thing either.
1 refrigerated pie crust (or homemade if you are so inclined)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cups half and half
4 egg yolks
3 T. butter
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
2 1/2 t. vanilla extract, divided
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
Garnish with toasted coconut if desired.
Fit pie crust into a 9 inch pie plate; fold edges under and crimp. Prick bottom and sides of pie crust with a fork. Bake according to package directions.
Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch in a large heavy saucepan. Whisk together half and half and egg yolks. Gradually whisk egg mixture into sugar mixture; bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Boil 1 minute; remove from heat.
Stir in butter, 1 cup coconut, and 1 t. vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap, placing wrap directly on filling; let stand 30 minutes. Spoon custard filing into prepared crust; cover and chill 30 minutes or until set.
Beat whipping cream at high speed with an electric mixter until foamy; gradually add 1/3 cup sugar and remaining 1 1/2 t. vanilla, beating until soft peaks form.
Spread or pipe whipped cream over pie filing.
Garnish, if desired.
From The Southern Living Cooking: 1,250 Recipes for Everyday Cooking