Martha Hall Foose's Custard Pie
Try Martha Hall Foose's Custard Pie With Your Dinner Tonight
To me egg custard pie is an exemplary Southern dessert. Simple vanilla-flavored custard graced with a dusting of grated nutmeg atop a crisp crust is just what I would have served Miss Welty if I had ever had the chance to thank her for how much her stories have meant to me. I would have also thanked her for a gift that I have begun to appreciate, now that I am -- for lack of a better term-- grown up: the idea that you don't have to leave the place you love and know, that it is not a prerequisite that to understand home you must exile yourself to gain perspective. No, she led by example and temperament. I hope she would have enjoyed this gratitude pie. I think she might have, with her keenness for custards and all.
For the crust:
In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt with a fork to knock out any lumps. With fingertips or a couple of forks, cut the shortening into the flour mixture until the pieces area bout the size of peas. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons cold water over the mixture while tossing quickly with a fork until it begins to come together. Gather the dough and shape it into a smooth ball. Flatten into a dish and wrap in wax paper. Chill the dough for 1 hour or up to 3 days.
Roll the dough into a 10 inch round. Line a 9 inch pie pan with the dough and pat out any time air pockets. Fold the edges overlapping the pan under the crimp with your fingers or a fork, Brush the interior the crust with the egg white. Refrigerate while preparing the filling.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees
For the filling:
In a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, heat the milk and butter until the butter melts.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, and salt until smooth. Pour the warm milk and butter over the sugar mixture and gently stir to combine. Add vanilla and stir to incorporate.
Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Grate a little nutmeg over the surface of the custard. Bake on the center rack for 35-45 minutes, until the pie has completely puffed across the top. Transfer the pie to a wire rack and let cook completely. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until ready to serve.
This recipe was styled by chef Karen Pickus for Good Morning America.
*Recipe courtesy of Martha Hall Foose from her book, A Southerly Course; Clarkson Potter, 2011.