Hey there and welcome back! Thank you for joining me this week and I promise you won’t regret it. This week I wanted to do a little something different and share a recipe with you and include some the history of the dish.
This week I bring you a custard pie!
Custard has always been something that intimidated me and I am not so sure why. Maybe I thought it was like cheesecake where it’s almost like a science to prepare and pull off without a crack, or maybe I was just scared to give it a whirl, but I sure am happy I did.
Before I get into the recipe, I wanted to share a little of the history of custard and what I have found leading to this point.
What I learned was custard has come quite a long way from when it began. It seems custard began as just egg and milk thickened with heat and baked in pastry but here is what I didn’t expect – it was often paired with meat, fruit or fish and the custard was used to bind it together. While this initially sounded odd to me, I thought this must be where the quiche came from and after a little more digging, I was correct; an egg base paired with savory ingredients baked in a pastry.
In my mini-research project, I found that custard originated as a British confectionary and then made its way to China where it was known as dim sum, and on to Portugal where it is known as pastéis de nata. In doing this research I realized I have nothing to be afraid of when making a custard pie, because I have actually already made dim sum custard tarts, but we can talk more about that endeavor another time.
Here is what I deduced: no matter where you have a custard pie or tart it is a rich, creamy, eggy center in a pastry of some kind.
Depending on where you are – Britain, China, Portugal or the US – may determine the exact kind of crust which is the vessel holding the creamy goodness.
Additionally, I learned that custard isn’t meant to be over the top sweet, but rather holds a subtle sweetness in the midst of a smooth, creamy, eggy pillow. I almost feel like custard is a nice way to cleanse the palette at the end of a meal and I enjoyed a slice with a nice, hot cup of coffee.
Is your mouth watering yet? Are you ready for the recipe for this wonderfully tasty and easy custard pie?
For this recipe you will need:
• 9 inch unbaked pie crust – I used a deep crust
• 1 ½ cups milk
• 1 cup heavy cream
• ¾ cup sugar
• 4 large eggs
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• ¼ teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In two bowls separate an egg white from the yoke, put one in each bowl. Beat the egg white and brush it on the unbaked pie crust and pre-bake it for 7 minutes. Let’s stop here for a minute so I can say this – if you want to make a crust from scratch you go for it. I don’t have skills like that, although a good friend just gave me her pie crust recipe and I do plan to try it, but I didn’t have her recipe at the time I made this pie.
While the pie crust is pre-baking, whisk together the three whole eggs, plus the spare yoke and whatever is left of the egg white you used to brush the crust with. Then add in the sugar, salt, cream, vanilla and milk and mix well.
This next part is important – place the pre-baked pie crust on a foil lined cookie sheet prior to filling. I learned after filling the pie crust that I needed the cookie sheet and had to set it down and made a mess. Once you put the pie crust on a foil-lined cookie sheet, then fill your crust with the filling. I felt like I had a little more filling than the crust would hold, and looking back should have just put the extra filling in a ramekin and baked it on it’s own, but I didn’t.
Bake for 40-45 minutes, remove from the oven and let cool. When I removed my custard from the oven, I felt like it was a little more “wiggly” than I thought it should be, but once it cooled it was absolutely perfect.
You can spice this up by adding nutmeg and/or cinnamon on top prior to baking. I wanted to keep it as a blank slate so I could enjoy it with fruit or coffee without any conflicting flavors, and that is exactly what I did. I sliced a piece the next morning once it had chilled all night, and paired it with a fresh cup of hazelnut cream coffee and it was perfection!
Don’t be afraid to make this your own however you desire. Challenge yourself to make crust from scratch if that is your thing – I am not sure I am ready for that just yet. Whatever you do, do it with love and as always, I am sending love from my kitchen to yours!