Custard Pie

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Yield: 9" pie, 8 to 12 servings.

Recipe photo

Plain old custard pie? Well, this recipe may be old (as in classic, treasured, revered), but it's hardly "plain" — unless your definition of plain is a rich/tender filling of cream, eggs, and vanilla, with a hint of nutmeg, nestled in a buttery crust. It's just plain good!

Custard Pie

star rating (5) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 9" pie, 8 to 12 servings.
Published: 11/14/2012

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, optional; for added flakiness
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening*
  • 1 teaspoon white or cider vinegar
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons ice water
  • *Can you substitute butter for shortening? Yes; your crust will be slightly less flaky.

Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups milk (anything from skim to whole, your choice)
  • 1 cup cream (heavy, whipping, light, or half & half, your choice)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg

Tips from our bakers

  • Can you use skim milk and fat-free half & half? Sure; your pie simply won't taste as rich.

Directions

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1) To make the crust: Whisk together all of the dry ingredients.

2) Add the shortening, mixing until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Add the butter, working it in until it's unevenly crumbly, with some larger chunks of butter remaining.

3) Sprinkle the vinegar and 3 tablespoons of the ice water over the dough while tossing with a fork. Add more water if the dough isn't coming together. Just as soon as the dough becomes cohesive (i.e., you can squeeze it into a ball easily), stop mixing; there should still be visible pieces of fat in the dough.

4) Flatten the dough into a disk and wrap it in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer; this resting period allows the flour to absorb the water, making the dough easier to roll out.

5) Roll the chilled crust into a 13" circle, and lay it in a lightly greased 9" pie pan. Make an upright (rather than flat) crimp around the edge, as pictured above; this will help keep the filling from sloshing out as you move the pie from counter to oven. Set the crust aside while you make the filling.

6) Preheat the oven to 325°F, with one rack set on the lowest level, one in the middle.

7) To make the filling: Start by combining the milk, cream, and salt in a medium-sized saucepan or microwave-safe bowl. Heat the mixture until small bubbles form around the edges, and steam starts to wisp from the surface; this is how you "scald" milk, if you've ever seen that technique mentioned.

8) In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Pour 1/4 of the hot milk/cream over the egg mixture, stirring well. Pour the egg mixture into the remaining hot milk/cream, stirring well. Pour the custard through a sieve, to strain out any possible bits of cooked egg. Stir in the vanilla extract.

10) Pour the hot filling into the crust. Sprinkle the nutmeg evenly over the top.

11) Set the pie on a baking sheet; it'll be easier to move into the oven that way. Place the pie/baking sheet onto your oven's bottom rack. Bake for 20 minutes.

12) Transfer the pie to the middle rack of your oven, and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until the custard is set at the edges but still a bit wobbly in the center. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the pie should read about 165°F; if the mixture goes above 180°F, you run the risk of the custard becoming watery.

13) Remove the pie from the oven, and place it on a rack to cool. When it's completely cool, refrigerate until you're ready to serve.

Yield: 8 to 12 servings.

Reviews

1
  • star rating 03/22/2015
  • Sandylc from
  • When I chose this recipe I decided to blind-bake the crust because I like a well-baked pie crust. I didn't bake it for as long as I normally would, however, since the recipe didn't ask for it at all. Wow, am I sorry that I didn't completely blind-bake that crust. Blonde, gummy-bottomed crusts are an insult to such a wonderful filling! I will make this pie again, but my crust will be mostly done and nicely browned before the filling is poured in to bake. I served this with raspberry sauce; it was a nice complement.
  • star rating 11/28/2013
  • Jade from Stafford VA
  • My husband is from hawaii and old fashioned custard pie is very popular there. It was a special request from him for Thanksgiving desert instead of pumpkin pie. This pie was easy to make, silky, rich, and absolutely delicious. I believe in total indulging in desert so I used whole milk and heavy cream. I omitted the nutmeg.
  • star rating 09/21/2013
  • spud14901 from KAF Community
  • I made this pie on a whim. I had never made a custard pie before and it came out great. I used half & half and heavy cream. I used my Thermapen Thermometer to check the temperature of the custard while baking. I found that once the filling hits 160 F, it only takes a few minutes to jump to almost 175 F.
  • star rating 11/22/2012
  • meushaw from KAF Community
  • I saw this on the blog this morning, and had it in the oven less than an hour later. Very easy to make, and everyone loved it!
  • 11/15/2012
  • Arlene from New jersey
  • No oven temperature!!!
    I have submitted a request to our web team to fix this recipe! Thank you for your keen eyes! Kim@KAF
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