Maple Sugar Pie

This classic custard pie, from writer and food stylist Erin Jeanne McDowell, is popular in some parts of the Midwest and Canada, where it's made with lots of maple. The cream cheese pie crust provides a nice counterpoint to the sweet filling, which is silky smooth and sinfully rich.
Prep
25 mins
Bake
48 to 59 mins
Total
2 hrs 24 mins
Yield
one 9" pie
Maple Sugar Pie

Instructions

  1. To make the crust: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the butter pats, tossing them in the flour until well coated. Work the butter into the flour by pressing the pieces between your fingers, flattening the squares into big shards and continuing to toss them through the flour as you work.
  2. Add the cream cheese and work both it and the butter into the flour just until the pieces are about the size of walnut halves.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Start by adding 3 tablespoons ice water, mixing with a fork or dough scraper. Add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and continue mixing just until the dough comes together. As the dough begins to form, you can knead it a few times to make sure it's evenly moistened, but it's important to not over-hydrate the dough, which should never be sticky. It should hold together in a ball, but still feel almost dry to the touch.
  4. Form the dough into a disk and wrap it in plastic. Chill for at least 30 minutes, and as long as overnight. When you're ready to roll, remove the dough from the fridge. If the dough has been refrigerated longer than 30 minutes, let it rest at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes before rolling, to allow the butter to soften up a bit.
  5. Preheat the oven to 425°F, preferably with a baking stone on the bottom rack.
  6. Roll the dough into a 12" to 13" circle, and place it in a 9" pie pan. Tuck the excess dough under at the edges, working all the way around and pressing lightly to help the dough "seal" to the outer edge of the pan. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Crimp the edges as desired.
  7. Prick the chilled dough all over with a fork. Cut out a piece of parchment or foil slightly larger than the pan, place it over the dough, and fill it with pie weights or dried beans.
  8. Bake the crust until the edges barely begin to turn golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, remove the liner and weights, and bake for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, until the middle no longer looks damp. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F. Cool the crust before filling.
  9. For the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour. Whisk in the maple syrup, milk, cream, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the mixture (or add the vanilla). Stir with the whisk instead of whipping; you don't want to add air bubbles to the mixture.
  10. Pour the custard into the cooled pie crust over the back of a spoon (this removes any bubbles). Use a toothpick to pop any remaining bubbles on the surface of the pie.
  11. Bake the pie until the custard appears set on the outside but is still slightly wobbly in the center, 28 to 32 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar before slicing and serving
  12. Refrigerate any leftovers.