How to Make Custard Pie Step-by-Step
Silky custard pies are as easy to make as they are delicious.
Rich and satisfying custard pies (sometimes called egg custard pies) come in many flavors, including vanilla, chocolate, pumpkin, sweet potato, and coconut. Because they all start with a base of sugar, butter, eggs, and cream, there are a few essential tricks to ensure the custard comes out smooth and creamy with a crisp, never soggy, crust. Here are our top tips to make perfect custard pies.
Try this recipe for Holiday Eggnog Pie.
How to Make Custard Pie
1. Pre-Bake the Crust
Custard pies are usually baked at a lower temperature than fruit pies to prevent the filling from curdling. But this leaves us with one problem: The crust won't crisp thoroughly at low temperatures. The solution is to pre-bake, or blind bake, the pie before adding the filling. Be sure to follow the directions for moisture-sealing the crust with an egg wash to further prevent a soggy bottom.
Sometime the crust can crack when you're pre-baking a pie crust. Plan ahead when rolling out the dough and reserve any scraps. Use these to patch the cracks before pouring in the filling; this keeps the custard from leaking through.
2. Warm Crust and Filling
The crust and the filling should be warm rather than chilled before baking to help the custard set and prevent the crust from getting soggy, Heat the pre-baked crust in the oven for a few minutes while you make the custard. If you've made the custard ahead of time, bring it just to room temperature before pouring it into the warm crust.
3. Bake In a Water Bath
Like cheesecakes, custard pies crack when they're over-baked. Why? Because the edges finish cooking before the center has set. As the pie filling cools, it shrinks, forming cracks. You can prevent the cracks by baking at a moderate temperature. Even better, you can bake your custard pies in a water bath. This prevents the outer layer of custard from baking too fast.
How to make a water bath:
- Choose a baking pan that's larger than your pie pan, and place it in the heated oven. To avoid burns or dropped pies, only use heavy-duty aluminum, glass or ceramic pie pans; disposable foil pans are too shallow, are hard to grip, and can buckle when you try to remove them from a water bath.
- Place the pie pan in the larger pan, and add the custard.
- Use a teakettle of hot water to pour in a depth of about half an inch; you can always add more water later, as it evaporates.
- Remove the pie from the oven when the edges are set but the center still has a little "wiggle." If the filling has started to puff up and soufflé, you've waited too long!
- If your pie plate has handles or a deep rim, you can remove it from the water bath in the oven, leaving the water to cool before discarding. Otherwise, bring the whole pan out of the oven very slowly and steadily.
- Remove the pie from the water bath to cool on a rack.
4. Store It Correctly
Once the pie has cooled enough to hold the pan in your hands, transfer it from the counter to the fridge. Always store custard pies in the refrigerator, as they're made with eggs and milk. Custard pies will last for up to four day sin the fridge.