Special equipment: 9 1/2-inch glass pie plate
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together coconut flakes and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon on a sheet tray and toast coconut until edges are golden, stirring occasionally. In a small saucepan on medium heat, melt 1/2 cup of the sugar until it becomes a golden brown caramel. Working quickly and with purpose, before the caramel hardens, pour the syrup into the pie plate, tilting the plate to completely cover the bottom. In another small saucepan, bring the coconut milk and evaporated milk to a simmer. In a large bowl combine the remaining sugar, cinnamon, eggs, salt, and vanilla. Pour a little of the milk mixture into the bowl and whisk well to temper the eggs. Whisk in a little more milk, then pour the entire egg mixture into the pot. Strain custard then pour into pie pan. Place pie pan inside a roasting pan. Fill pan with hot water to about an inch up the side of the pie pan. Bake until the center sets, about 45 to 50 minutes. Remove custard from oven and let cool 1/2 hour in the water bath. To serve, invert custard onto a serving plate. Top with toasted coconut and slice into wedges.
Recipe courtesy of Sunny Anderson, 2008