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Vintage Custard Pie Recipe from 1845 –

Custard Pie Recipe – Vintage

Posted by Warren

Makes one 9-inch pie, single crust, custard filling

The New England Economical Housekeeper, H.W. Derby, 1845

custard pie recipe of 1845

This custard pie recipe you can say is the original. It is creamy and smooth and not very sweet. The recipe is almost 200 years old. If you want to dress it, pipe freshly whipped cream over the top and dust it with toasted coconut. This recipe is about 200 years old.

Custard Pie Recipe

The New England Economical Housekeeper, H.W. Derby, 1845

176. Custard Pie.
* For a large pie, put in three eggs, a heaping table-spoonful of sugar, one pint and a half of milk, a little salt, and some nutmeg grated on. For crust, use common pastry.


A Cookbook with vintage pie recipes

Mrs. Esther Allen Howland’s book was very popular in the 1800s. It was printed for over 40 years, with different titles, editions and revisions.

A good portion of the cookbook are of pie recipes. The rest covered medicinal, household and morality items.

Custard Pie Recipe – Old Fashioned of 1845


Pastry dough – single crust

The secret
of making
a flaky pie crust.

1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter

1/4 cup ice cold water

1 teaspoon cold canola oil



1 1/2 pint milk (scalded)

heaping table-spoonful of sugar

3 large eggs

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

pinch of salt


1. Prepare the pastry: Roll the pastry and line a 9-inch pie plate with the bottom crust. Roll out the remaining dough for the top crust. Chill the pastry and partial-bake.

2. Heat the milk until a thin skin appears on top of the liquid.


Milk or cream is the most common base for custards. Heavy cream makes a richer and more flavorable custard.

3. Preheat the oven to 350° F.

4. Mix the eggs, sugar, nutmeg and salt in a separate bowl. Do not over beat to the point air gets incorporated into the mixture. This will make your custard grainy.

5. Whisking the egg mixture constantly, slowly add about a third of the hot milk. This will temper the eggs. If this is done too quickly, the eggs will cook, and you will have scrambled eggs in your custard.

6. Now add the rest of the milk whisking slowly

7. Slowly pour the mixture into the cooled partially baked pie shell.

8. Cover edges of pie with foil or use a pie crust shield.

9. Set the pie on the lower center oven rack and bake for 20 minutes, turn the pie 180° degrees. Continue baking until the center is set, about another 20 minutes.


Overcooked custard
will have
a pronounced ???eggy??? flavor.

10. When ready the filling will be firm. The edges of the filling may puff up a little. You should not see much browning.

11. Shake the custard gently to check for doneness. When the custard ripples on the surface that move back and forth like jello it is properly done. You do not want waves of concentric, circular, rings when giving the shake test.

12. Transfer the pie to cool and set in refrigerator to chill.

Custard Pie Success

Custard pies tend to give off a lot of moisture even when they are fully cooled. Instead of covering the custard pie with plastic wrap cover it with foil. The foil collects the moisture in the area away from the pie. Do not reuse the foil unless you wipe off the moisture with a towel.

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