July 14, 2012

Comfort food: Anna's Custard Pie


I've felt under the weather for the last few days due to a stubborn kidney stone, I'm missing my girly (did I really agree for her to be out-of-reach for two whole weeks?), and it was just time. Past time.

Time to bake.

So I made my mom's custard pie today. When I find myself missing her, too, it helps to think WWAD (What Would Anna Do)? And when the going got tough, Anna baked. Now she could bake just about anything -- all from scratch, thank you -- but my favorite non-chocolate dessert she made was her custard pie. And it's one of just a handful of her baking recipes that I can consistently duplicate.  (Besides there's just something special about using a recipe that's in my mom's own handwriting.)

You'll notice that the recipe says to use a rotary beater. I have many fond memories of my mom's rotary beater and wish I had it now. I remember waking to the sound of her making pancakes or waffles with that rotary beater so many mornings... Anyway, I just use a handheld mixer on low.

A quick confession: I don't make pie crust. I gave up trying long ago. Mama's pie crust was unique and so good, but I never could get the hang of "a handful of this and a pinch of that, then just play with it until it feels right." And I don't have her heavy metal pie tins, the best thing in the world to bake pies in (I wonder if Brenda got those?). But other than that, I think I do justice to Anna's Custard Pie.

{09/18/16 update: I did eventually learn to make a decent pie crust thanks to The Barefoot Contessa's recipe and a sassy red KitchenAid food processor I won from a food blogger's giveaway!)


Anna's Custard
1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees (will be turned down later)

2) Slightly roll one refrigerated pie crust, and place in 9" pie plate, crimping edge (or, if you want to show off, make your own crust)

3) In mixing bowl, beat 4 eggs slightly with rotary beater: 

4) Then beat in:
2/3 c sugar
1/2 t salt
1/4 t nutmeg (if you can grate fresh, it's amazing!)
2-2/3 c scalding hot milk*

5) Pour into uncooked pie shell. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, then at 350 degrees to finish -- about 25-30 more minutes.

Anna says: "Bake just until a silver knife inserted into side of filling comes out clean. Center may look a bit soft."
 Let it cool before cutting; store covered in refrigerator.
*On the scalding milk... I just put 2-2/3 c milk into a 4 cup glass measure, then microwave in 1 minute increments until very hot but not boiling. I think it took 3-1/2 to 4 minutes today. My highly scientific method of testing the temperature is to quickly stick the tip of my very-clean finger into the milk. If it's not just warm but hot, I consider it ready.

Oh, and by the way, don't substitute one of those low-cal fake sugars for the white sugar. It doesn't work. I didn't realize this until about the third Christmas I had made the sugar-free version for a friend and tasted a piece after a meal. Looked like custard pie, tasted like humble pie. Repeat after me: "Sugar is my friend; I'll just cut a smaller slice."


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2 comments:

  1. That recipe sounds amazing, Suzanne! Thanks for sharing; I'm trying to cook more, (or become a better cook for that matter!) :) I'd love for you to link this post up at Loving Life Wednesdays - I know others will love to hear about the yummy goodness too! Blessings, Lauren, lholmes79.wordpress.com

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  2. Great recipe! My grandmother had several custard-based recipes. One for a rice pudding that was out of this world. And I also remember my mom's rotary beater. Now I wish I'd saved it. Thanks for visiting me at Doorkeeper, Suzanne. Blessings!

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