This Old Fashioned Custard Pie is a simple, easy recipe passed down from my grandmother. Rich and creamy nutmeg scented custard nestled inside a flaky buttermilk pie crust. Our Thanksgiving table wouldn’t be complete without it!
Most people I come across don’t know about custard pie. “Coconut custard?” they always ask. Nope. Just plain old custard. Sugar, eggs, milk and vanilla baked into a pie crust and dusted with freshly grated nutmeg. It’s beyond simple. And simple foods are my jam.
This is one of those “don’t reinvent the wheel” situations. Some people in our family don’t really care for custard pie, but others love it. I’m one of the others. It’s so creamy, not overly sweet and for me personally, really nostalgic. There’s something about the flavor of nutmeggy custard in a flaky pie crust that takes me right back to my childhood. Of all the pies to eat for breakfast the day after Thanksgiving, this one is my absolute favorite.
Grandma’s recipe is just made with milk, but I’ve gone ahead and swapped in half of the milk for cream. Heavy cream. The hard stuff. Growing up, my mom would actually make her custard pie with skim milk, because that’s just what we had in the fridge. It produces a lighter, eggier texture, and I loved it just the same. The cream, however, gives it a richness that’s almost like creme brûlée. It’s SO good. But if you want to make this recipe with skim milk, be my guest.
While grandma would have absolutely no part of a store bought pie crust, I’m here to tell you that you need to do what you need do in order to get this pie on your table – even if it means forgoing the homemade crust. We’re all busy and if a lousy pie crust is going to deter you from making this pie, well then that’s just ridiculous. Frozen and refrigerated pie doughs have come a long way in the past few years, and if the idea of making pie crust from scratch gives you anxiety, then by all means nix it.
That said, if you are up for making pie crust from scratch (and really, you should), then run, don’t walk, to make my latest version. What makes it different from the pie crust I’ve always used before? BUTTERMILK. You know, that elusive dairy product that only old southern ladies keep stocked in their fridge? Hear me out! It’s cheap, it’s versatile (hello, pancakes) and believe me, it stays good LONG after its expiration date.
Bobby Flay and his executive pastry chef were raving about this buttermilk pie crust and after making it myself, I’m now completely obsessed. It’s SO flaky and has an incredible amount of flavor, but what I love about it even more is how nicely it rolls out. Grandma is partial to her all-shortening pie crust, and while I still love it, there’s just something about this buttermilk pie crust that I can’t get over. It’s a game changer.
If you’re looking for a pie that’s a bit different than what your family normally serves on Thanksgiving, but still want a recipe that’s simple, old timey and universally pleasing, this Old Fashioned Custard Pie is it. Grandma would never steer you wrong!
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This Old Fashioned Custard Pie is a simple, easy recipe passed down from my grandmother! Rich and creamy nutmeg scented custard nestled inside a flaky buttermilk pie crust. Our Thanksgiving table wouldn’t be complete without it!
For the Crust:
- 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons or 1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold, cut into cubes
- 1/4 cup buttermilk, plus more as needed, very cold
For the Filling:
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup sugar (increase to 2/3 for a sweeter pie)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- fresh whipped cream for serving
Make the Crust:
- Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor.
- Add the butter and pulse until it forms pieces about the size of peas. Add 1/4 cup buttermilk and continue pulsing until it just starts to form a shaggy dough. Be very careful not to overmix. The dough should barely be coming together. Add more buttermilk 1 tablespoon at a time if needed. If your house is dry, you will definitely need to add more.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently press it together to form a disc. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. This step can be done up to 2 days ahead and kept refrigerated, or up to one month ahead and kept in the freezer.
- Unwrap the disc of dough and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Dust a rolling pin with flour and begin rolling out the dough, rotating it 1 inch after every 1-2 rolls. This will help ensure the dough doesn’t stick to the counter, and will also keep it in a round shape. Use a measuring tape or the pie plate to determine when the dough has reached the right circumference. It should measure about 3 inches larger than the pie plate. If the dough does not roll out perfectly round, use a knife or a pizza cutter to trim the edges and even it out.
- Gently roll the dough onto the rolling pin and carefully transfer it to the pie plate. Press it in to fit, then tuck the loose pieces under and use your fingers or a fork to crimp the edges. Place in the freezer for at least 15 minutes, or longer if you have time.
Make the Filling an Bake the Pie:
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Crack the eggs into a medium bowl. Remove the pie crust from the freezer, then dip a pastry brush into the egg whites and brush the pie crust all over.
- Bake the pie crust for 10 minutes. Keep an eye on it to make sure the edges don’t fall down. Let cool.
- Add the sugar, salt, vanilla extract, heavy cream, milk and nutmeg to the eggs. Whisk together vigorously until very well combined. There should be no visible bits of egg white or yolk remaining.
- Place the pie plate on to a foil lined sheet pan to prevent any spills, then pour the mixture into the cooled crust. Carefully place into the oven, lower the temperature to 325 degrees F and bake for about 1 hour. The filling should still be wobbly in the center – if it doesn’t jiggle, it’s overcooked.
- Allow the pie to cool to room temperature, then place in the refrigerator until ready to serve. The pie should be served chilled. Top with whipped cream and more grated nutmeg for garnish if desired.
*If you prefer, you can skip the homemade pie crust and use a store bought dough instead.
Keywords: pie, easy, custard, buttermilk, nutmeg, thanksgiving, dessert