Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Custard Pie

Today I would like to say a few words about custard pie- or the remains of custard pie I guess, in this case. It's hard to believe that just yesterday I took it out of the oven, still bubbling, the sweet scent filling the air and a sense of pride coming over me as I gazed at my accomplishment. There are times when modesty just has to take a back seat to reality. Frankly, this was a great pie. Oh sure, the crust wasn't just perfectly rolled out and pinched at the top, but the flavor, ah the flavor. It was flawless. I probably shouldn't be putting this in print as it will most assuredly make it's way to my eldest daughter Jennifer, but last night, just as Jan and I were sitting down to enjoy a piece of this lovely creation, we heard the familiar sounds of a car door slamming and boots starting up our back stairs. Company. Rats, I hate to confess, but I hadn't planned on sharing it. Of course had I known that we would be having company, I would have made two- one to share and one to eat later by ourselves. As it was, and I know I should be ashamed to admit it, we hid the pie until they left. I know it goes contrary to any Christian belief or good parenting or just common courtesy. I guess I have custard lust. I don't know what else to attribute it to.
I can't remember where or when I became so fond of custard. I'm sure I must have had it a few times as a kid. I vividly remember my best friend Don and I shoveling snow for a pittance back in Marion Ohio. We would do a walk or two, maybe a driveway, and then trudge through the white stuff to Isley's Dairy, a good four or five blocks from where we usually worked. We'd park our shovels outside the door and step in to the heat. A more welcome retreat would be hard to come by. Behind the counter, which seemed to stretch from one end of the building to the other, were stainless canisters filled with a rainbow assortment of ice cream. I was always partial to chocolate chip mint, at first because of the color, but afterwards for the taste as well. However, when the temps are hovering around zero and your hands and feet are just starting to come back to life in an itchy, painful sort of way, icecream isn't what comes to mind first. They sold hot chocolate here- just what the doctor ordered, and, what's this? There, perched on the glass shelves above the frozen treats, was an assortment of pies, all perfectly cut into large, thick wedges setting on clean white china plates, begging a closer inspection. Ah, cherry and apple, blueberry and peach and aha, down near the end was the custard. Perhaps the counter man had an ulterior motive- maybe hide the custard out of the main viewing area. At the end of the day he'd have no choice but to discard it, or take it home. No sense in letting it go to waste. We, however, spotted the tasty desert and thwarted his devious schemes. For a dollar of our hard earned money (about what we charged per sidewalk) we took our pie and hot chocolate and made our way to the nearest booth where we laughed and ate and talked with our mouths full. After the last crumbs were picked from the plate and the only chocolate left was what coated the sides and bottom of the mug, we'd gaze forlornly at our empty saucers and reluctantly don our hats and gloves and head out into the cold, cruel world. It wasn't uncommon during a normal,snowy Ohio winter to have as much work shoveling as we would care to do. It was a great way for young teenage boys to make a few bucks. Without fail though, at least part of our earnings always ended up at Isley's, and always we had the custard pie.
I'm going to give you the recipe for the custard pie I make. It's not my own recipe. It's one that I found in a cook book. I prefer to make my own crust, which is also very simple. First the crust recipe.
1 cup of sifted all purpose flour
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons cold water
Sift flour and salt together, cut in shortening with pastry blender(or fork) until size of small peas. Sprinkle water over mixture while tossing quickly with fork until particles stick together. Form into smooth ball.
Then of course you have to roll it out. It seems to help if you flour the rolling pin and the wax paper or whatever it is your'e rolling it out on.

Now for the custard recipe.
3 large eggs
1/2cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla (extract)
2 2/3 cups milk
1 unbaked pastry shell
Mix ingredients together and pour into pastry lined pan. Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees; decrease heat to 350 and bake for another 25 minutes or until a silver knife comes out clean. Center will be soft but will set later.
I don't know which cook book this came from, both covers are gone, but the recipe came from
Ruth Spears, VP
Kansas Epsilon Phi No4920
Witchita, Kansas

I don't know what a Kansas Epsilon Phi is, but the gal sure knows how to make custard pie. Thanks Ruth, wherever you are. Before I go, I need to thank Diane Maples also. She was the home-ec teacher at Hoonah High School back when I worked there. She had the unenviable chore of trying to teach young people the basics of cooking as well as other things domestic. I don't know how much those kids retained, but I sure learned a lot, so if she ever reads this, come on by Diane, I'll share a piece of pie with you. I promise.


  1. Thanks for the recipe dad I think I am going to make a custard pie, who knows I might even share hahahaha

  2. Custard Lust! Man that made me laugh!