CUSTARD PIE

Plain old custard pie? Well, this recipe may be old (as in classic, treasured, revered), but it's hardly "plain" — unless your definition of plain is a rich/tender filling of cream, eggs, and vanilla, with a hint of nutmeg, nestled in a buttery crust. It's just plain good!

CUSTARD PIE

INGREDIENTS
CRUST
  1. 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  2. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  3. 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, optional; for added flakiness
  4. 4 tablespoons butter
  5. 1/4 cup vegetable shortening*
  6. 1 teaspoon white or cider vinegar
  7. 3 to 5 tablespoons ice water
  8. *Can you substitute butter for shortening? Yes; your crust will be slightly less flaky.
FILLING
  1. 1 1/2 cups milk (anything from skim to whole, your choice)
  2. 1 cup cream (heavy, whipping, light, or half & half, your choice)
  3. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  4. 4 large eggs
  5. 2/3 cup sugar
  6. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  7. 1/4 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
INSTRUCTIONS
To make the crust: 
  • Whisk together all of the dry ingredients.
  • Add the shortening, mixing until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Add the butter, working it in until it's unevenly crumbly, with some larger chunks of butter remaining.
  • Sprinkle the vinegar and 3 tablespoons of the ice water over the dough while tossing with a fork. Add more water if the dough isn't coming together. Just as soon as the dough becomes cohesive (i.e., you can squeeze it into a ball easily), stop mixing; there should still be visible pieces of fat in the dough.
  • Flatten the dough into a disk and wrap it in plastic wrap or waxed paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer; this resting period allows the flour to absorb the water, making the dough easier to roll out.
  • Roll the chilled crust into a 13" circle, and lay it in a lightly greased 9" pie pan. Make an upright (rather than flat) crimp around the edge, as pictured above; this will help keep the filling from sloshing out as you move the pie from counter to oven. Place the pie crust in the refrigerator to chill while you preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack set in the middle.
  • To blind-bake (pre-bake) the pie crust, line the chilled crust with foil or parchment paper, and fill it with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the crust for 20 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and gently remove the foil or parchment with the weights or beans. Return the crust to the oven for 10 to 15 more minutes, until it's golden brown all over. If the edges of the crust start to become too brown, cover them with a pie shield or strips of aluminum foil. Remove the crust from the oven and cool completely while you make the filling.
  • Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.