At first glance it may seem as if there are a lot of steps for this vanilla custard pie but really it is very simple with "staple" ingredients. The steps are for clarification. Basically it's just heating milk and whisking it into egg mixture very slowly, then bake for about an hour… It is my most requested pie. Serve with a dollop of fresh whipped cream or some rhubarb syrup (yum!).


Recipe Summary

1 hr 5 mins
1 hr
2 hrs 20 mins
15 mins
1 9-inch pie


Original recipe yields 6 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a double-layered cookie sheet (to protect from overbrowning the bottom) with foil.

  • Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until it begins to steam. Do not scorch or boil.

  • Whisk 1 egg white in a bowl. Lightly brush on the inside and top of the frozen pie crust. Place crust on the prepared cookie sheet. Set aside while making custard filling.

  • Whisk remaining eggs and yolk, sugar, vanilla extract, salt, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, and lemon zest together in a bowl until well mixed. Dribble in the steamed milk very slowly, whisking the whole time, about 2 minutes; it will be very frothy.

  • Pour the frothy custard mixture into the prepared pie crust. Sprinkle top with 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Transfer to the oven very carefully.

  • Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and bake until a knife inserted near center comes out moist but mostly clean, about 45 minutes more; start checking 8 to 10 minutes before the hour is up due to variations with ovens.

  • Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 30 minutes before transferring to a refrigerator to set.

Cook's Notes:

You can use 1 cup cream with 1 1/4 cups milk instead of all milk, if you like. Substitute 1 drop of edible lemon essential oil for the lemon zest if you want.

The egg wash apparently keeps the crust from getting soggy. May also do egg wash and pre-bake for 7 to 9 minutes for extra flaky crust.

Transfer the pie very carefully to the preheated oven. Any spill over will be messy and burn. Trust me here, be slow and careful. I cover the edges with a crust shield to help prevent it from getting too brown.

It is really rather forgiving and can be tweaked to your tastes, preferences, and flavors. Try adding a bit of coconut or making with canned coconut cream. Just don't overcook or cut before it's cooled, and keep the ratios of wet to egg about the same.

Nutrition Facts

437 calories; protein 10g; carbohydrates 57.9g; fat 19.2g; cholesterol 142.6mg; sodium 420.3mg. Full Nutrition