Custard Pie

My Dad loved custard pie. He loved cherry as well, but I think custard was his favorite. I don’t think I will ever make a custard pie without thinking of him. Custard pie was something his mother always made. I think it’s the only pie I remember her making. I have her original recipe and I have a recipe from an old cookbook, Cooking From Quilt Country by Marcia Adams. The two recipes were almost exactly alike, except for the scalded milk. So I decided to try scalding the milk first, and it really does make a difference. So I’ve done that step ever since. If you’re in a hurry, you can skip scalding the milk. But it really does make for a lighter more delicate custard. The recipe from Marcia Adams is called Velvet Custard Pie. I think this is an apt description and the scalding is what makes for the velvety filling. Enjoy!

  • 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
  • 2 1/2 cups milk (preferably whole milk)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Grated Nutmeg (to taste)

Unbaked pie shell means the pie crust dough has been rolled out and placed in the pie plate. Flute the edge of the pie crust. Keep the pie plate with its dough in the refrigerator until ready to add the filling.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and adjust an oven rack to the lowest position. Put a half sheet pan (cookie sheet) on this rack so that the pan heats with the oven.

Scald the milk [Pour milk into a saucepan. Slowly heat milk over medium-low heat. The key here is to heat the milk, but not to bring it to a boil. Stir continuously to prevent milk from thickening, burning or sticking to the bottom of the pan. Look for steam and small bubbles around the edges of your heavy saucepan, then remove immediately from heat. Allow your scalded milk to cool before adding. (Scalded milk is milk that has been heated to 180 degrees F). Do not heat over 212 degrees F.  You can use a candy thermometer to monitor the temperature.]

Add the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt to a large mixing bowl. With either a hand mixer or stand mixer, thoroughly mix these ingredients. While still mixing the egg mixture on medium-low speed, add one cup of the scalded milk. Add the rest of the milk and continue to beat slowly.

Pour the custard mixture into the prepared pie shell. Sprinkle the custard with nutmeg. Carefully place the pie on the preheated sheet pan in the oven. Bake the pie for 40 – 50 minutes until it is golden brown. If you gently giggle the pie, the center of the pie should giggle just slightly. If it giggles a lot, bake for another 5 minutes. You can also test the doneness by inserting a table knife into the center of the pie. The knife should be clean after inserting it.

Remove the pie from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Let the pie cool completely before cutting and serving.

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