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Trouble-free egg custard pie

Here's the completed pie, ready to be enjoyed!  Follow the directions carefully and it will never fail you!
Here's the completed pie, ready to be enjoyed! Follow the directions carefully and it will never fail you!
photos: Daniel Dedmon

Egg custard is an old-fashioned dessert that goes back quite a long time in American cooking. This simple mixture of eggs, sugar, milk and flavoring can be used as a baked custard by itself or placed in a pie shell to serve as a pie. Surprisingly, many cooks find this simple concoction one of the hardest recipes to make for it to turn out well.

One common complaint with cooks when it comes to making egg custard is that the custard is "watery" after it's baked. This is supposedly caused by overbaking. As a rule, a custard pie is done when a silver knife inserted about one inch from the side of the pie emerges clean. It may be slightly soft in the center, but it will set up as it cools. Made correctly, it's a very good pie.

The recipe I'm passing along is for a "Standard Egg Custard Pie". This is a very basic pie and it can be made with mostly egg yolks, if you happen to have some that need to be used. If you use the yolks, use two yolks for every whole egg called for. This is a rule to remember for any recipe where you may have some egg yolks left from another dish and you want to use them. If desired, cream or half-and-half can be used for part of the milk in the recipe to make the pie extra rich. Follow the recipe carefully and it'll be a successful dessert!

This recipe can be mixed with an electric mixer or an egg beater. Sometimes, I like to use the blender for making an egg custard pie. You beat together the eggs with sugar and salt. Then, nutmeg is added, along with scalded milk and vanilla extract. It's now ready for the pie shell. To prevent spills in transferring the pie to the oven, place the pie shell in the oven and fill it there.

There are two baking times for this pie. First, it's baked at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. The temperature is reduced to 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Once again, use the silver knife test to check for doneness.

Another wonderful pie is one I shared last year is for a "German Chocolate Pie" that's much like the famous cake, flavored with chocolate, pecans and coconut. It's a great dessert and easy to do. If you missed the recipe, here's the link so you can get it once again:

Also, if you're in the mood for a good chicken dish, here's the link to a video demo for "Pollo al Forno", which is an Italian chicken dish. To see it, click on this link:

If you've never had good luck with egg custard, let this recipe guide you into making a successful dessert!


  • 3 whole eggs OR 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups scalding hot milk (see note below)
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 9-inch unbaked pie shell

Brush pie shell with egg white and set aside. With a rotary beater, beat together the eggs, sugar and salt. Beat in nutmeg, hot milk and vanilla. Pour into pie shell. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes and reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 10-15 minutes more. Bake just until a silver knife inserted 1 inch from the side of the filling comes out clean. The center may still look a bit soft but will set as it cools. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Note: for a richer pie, use Half-and-Half in place of milk.

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