On Southern Dessert Tables, Egg Custard Pie is a Classic. Custards were brought to the Colonies by the British and remained popular in the South, especially when boiled or baked in small custard dishes- From fancy Crème Brule to humble Banana Puddings- we do love our custards! When times were hard and cooking was done to survive- Egg Custards were thought to be comforting and necessary. Filled with eggs and milk, ingredients on hand in most southern kitchens, Egg Custard Pies are rich but not overly sweet. Some even thought, the sick and recovering should be fed Custards – to fatten them up! Leave it to the Southern Sweet Tooth to make a Dessert out of a Comfort Food! Some custards are cooked then poured into a baked pie shell. Cooked Custards may Scorch. Filling an unbaked pie shell with the custard mix- is a bit easier. Custards aren’t hard to make, but then again…
- An Overbaked Egg Custard Pie? A telltale crack in the center.
- Under-baked Custard? Too thin and wouldn’t set up.
A Southern lady’s baking skill was tested by her Custard Pies! Egg Custard Pies aren’t made that often any more- but we still have fond memories! I can hear it now…
‘Florigene could charm a bird out of tree just being who she was- but when she baked her Custard Pies- a whole flock of folks came around’
My mother in law, Eleanor, was famous for her Custard Pies- Coconut, Egg and Chocolate Custard Pies. I wish I had kept count of how many times someone told her how much they loved her Egg Custard Pie- so Eleanor would surprise them with one! Quietly serving the pies to her family- I’m not sure we always appreciated her skill. Custard Pies seemed to be a favorite of hers. When she died, over and over folks whispered, ‘I loved Eleanor’s Custard Pies…’ More than a decade has passed since she crossed over from this life to the next, yet those pies are still remembered fondly. Recently, I had not one, but two friends exclaim over the virtues of Egg Custard Pies- yet neither could recall when they had last eaten a homemade one.
As the holidays approach, I think of my mother in law so often. Before, it seemed like stepping on sacred ground- to try to bake Egg Custard Pie. In fact, I would not even try to replicate her famous pie. The recipe I used is not hers- I don’t have it. I researched old cookbooks and found several that seemed close- my adaptation makes two pies- one to keep and one to share. And I changed it up to be more like a deep dish pie, by using a cake pan instead of the more shallow pie plate. The ingredients are always the same- it’s the method and the measure that differs from recipe to recipe. Eggs, Milk, Sugar, Vanilla poured into an unbaked Pie Shell and baked, then chilled. Here’s what I came up with-
Camellia’s Cottage Egg Custard Pie
- Preheat oven to 375º
- Line Two 8 or 9 inch Cake Pans with your favorite pie crusts.
- In a mixing bowl, measure 2 cups of Sugar, a pinch of salt, 1 Tablespoon- All Purpose Flour and 3/4 teaspoon of freshly grated Nutmeg.
- In another larger bowl, whisk 6 Large Eggs, beating until well combined.
- Add dry ingredients to whisked eggs, mixing until well combined.
- To egg mixture, add 2 cans of Evaporated Milk (not sweetened condensed) plus 1 cup of whole milk.
- Then add 1 tablespoon of Pure Vanilla Extract and mix until all is combined well. *The purists insist on straining this mixture- I didn’t.
- I poured portions of the mixture into a glass pitcher for ease of pouring the egg custard mixture into the Two Unbaked Pie Shells.
- Grate more Nutmeg over the top of the Pie Filling. *If pans are full- place them on a large sheet pan for baking.
- Bake Egg Custard Pies for one hour- checking after 45 minutes to see if Custard is set. *Mine were baked in 8 inch Pie Pans and needed the full hour.
- Remove from oven to cool, the filling will be puffed but will settle.
- Chill completely before serving so the filling flavors will be well developed.
- Makes 2 Deep Dish Pies.
- Keep refrigerated until serving. Any leftovers also should be kept chilled.
- *This is a rich but not too sweet pie. Approximately 8 servings in each pie.
My goodness, y’all! This Egg Custard Pie is good! And, next time- I might consider coating the top with granular sugar, then with one of those kitchen torches- Brule the top! Let’s just hope I don’t set the house on fire! This Fall, try making the comforting Southern Classic – Egg Custard Pie, for Sunday Dinner or even for the Holidays! Your Dessert Table will be even more popular!
Love y’all, Camellia
*all photographs are obviously mine