Old Fashioned Custard Pie

Pie is such a versatile dish; you can make both sweet and savory pie recipes (though my favorite, hands-down, are sweet pies!). While there are always new pie recipes being baked up in kitchens around the globe, I tend to stick to the traditional, old-fashioned time-favored pie recipes and one my all-time favorites is Old Fashioned Custard Pie. This custard pie recipe is delicious, and if you grew up eating custard pie after a meal, then it’s probably as old-fashioned as your mom used to make.

Custard itself can be a variety of culinary preparations, but is usually based on a cooked mixture of milk or cream and egg yolk. Depending on the amount of egg or thickener used, custard will vary in consistency from a thin pouring sauce, such as crème anglaise, to a thick pastry cream, like crème patisserie that is used to fill eclairs. Custard is commonly a dessert or dessert sauce recipe and usually includes sugar and vanilla for sweetness and flavoring, although custard bases are also used for savory foods, such as quiche. Mixtures of milk and eggs, thickened by heat, have historically been a long part of French cuisine and custards baked in pastry were extremely popular during the Middle Ages. Interestingly, while custard is typically known as a French Cuisine, the Ancient Romans were the first to understand the binding properties of eggs. However in modern times, custard is sometimes applied to starch-thickened preparations and off-the-shelf products, such as Bird’s Custard.

If you’ve never eaten custard pie, then you could just be in for a very sweet and delicious treat! Custard pie is a pie recipe that includes uncooked custard being added to an uncooked or partially cooked pie crust, and then the dessert is baked together. In North America custard pie most commonly refers to a mixture of eggs, milk, sugar, salt and vanilla extract (sometimes with nutmeg combined or sprinkled on top for taste and presentation). Custard pie is not the same as a cream pie that is made with already cooked custard poured into a pre-cooked pie crust. Custard pie is the typical pie utilized in ‘pieing’ in the United Kingdom (which is the comical or political act of throwing or pushing a pie into an opponent's face). However, I prefer to eat mine!

A simple trick to make this easy custard pie recipe even easier, the writer (Gina) suggests utilizing an unbaked pie shell (she prefers Marie Callendar’s deep dish pie crust). That cuts out a lot of preparation time, not having to prepare pie dough. The other ingredients are simple and stay true to the old fashioned custard pie recipe: eggs, sugar, salt, milk, vanilla extract and nutmeg. To prepare this pie recipe you beat your eggs slightly, add sugar, salt, nutmeg, and milk. Beat all ingredients well, pour into your unbaked pie shell and bake in the oven or 35 to 40 minutes. When finished, remove from the oven and let cool before sprinkling the top of the pie with fresh ground nutmeg and serving (this will allow the custard to set further, so that it isn’t a wet mess while cutting and serving).

One of the simpler pie recipes, custard goes well with almost everything imaginable and it isn’t difficult to dress-up this old-fashioned custard pie recipe with fresh fruit or berries (I like adding raspberries or strawberries to the top, after the pie has baked and cooled – just before serving) to add a little extra flavor and tartness to the dish, but this simple pie is just as delicious on its own. If you like custard, you won’t be disappointed – this has all the flavor of the typical, old-fashioned custard pie you probably know and already love.

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