Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Caramel Custard Pie

Sorry for the long lag time between posts.  I’m finding it difficult to get motivated to do much more than what absolutely has to be done these days: breathing, eating, running the occasional errand, getting lots of sleep.  But I think it’s a good sign of having turned a corner that I pulled out my camera this morning, for the first time since my dad’s memorial service, and started looking outward again.  A girl can hope, anyway.

Last night, feeling the need to eat a few more of my feelings, I decided to make a batch of caramel sauce.  I haven’t had great luck with caramel in the past–probably because candy-making is such an exact science and, as we all know, I’m inclined toward approximations.  But I tracked down a recipe and committed to following it precisely.  I measured out the sugar and water–with actual measuring cups–and cooked the sugar syrup for the precise number of minutes specified by the recipe before adding the milk.  And still, what I wound up with was a saucepan full of vaguely caramel-colored, very sweet milk.  It was tasty, to be sure, but I wasn’t going to pour it over ice cream.

I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away, though.  I started thinking about what I might be able to do with a saucepan full of sweet milk–and that’s when I remembered that The Hubs had recently mentioned how much he loved his grandmother’s custard pies.  I whipped up some eggs, added them to the mix, and poured the custard into a pie shell to see what would happen.


This is a really delicious pie.  It’s very sweet, in the manner of caramel candy, so you’ll need to be in the mood for that level of sugary goodness.  It bakes up toasty brown on top, slightly lighter in the middle, and the custard filling is nice and creamy.  If you prefer a custard that’s more like Jello than pudding, though, feel free to add another egg.

Because I was baking on the fly, I used a packaged pie crust and was pleased to discover that it held up to the custard pretty well without any pre-baking.  If you have the time, though, it’s always good to pre-bake your empty pie shell for 10 minutes or so, to prevent a soggy bottom crust.



Caramel Custard Pie


1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 eggs
1 pie crust, packaged or home made


Whisk together the sugar and water in a large saucepan. Over low heat, continue whisking until the sugar has dissolved. Turn the heat up to medium and allow the sugar syrup to come to a boil. Continue whisking until the syrup turns light amber, about 5 minutes. Your time may vary, depending on the temperature of your burner, so keep an eye on the syrup--it will go from amber to burned very quickly. Once your syrup turns amber, work quickly through the next step.

Stand back from the saucepan and stir in the milk. The mixture will foam up--that's why you need a large saucepan--when you add the cool milk to the hot sugar syrup. Use a long-handled spoon to stir until the milk has been incorporated. Add the vanilla and cinnamon, then stir again. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow this mixture to cool for about 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Fit the pie crust into a deep-dish pie plate and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs together. Continue whisking as you add a small amount of the milk mixture. Be patient; the idea here is to warm up the eggs very gently. Add too much of the milk and you'll end up with scrambled eggs. Continue pouring small amounts of the milk into the eggs until everything has been combined in the large mixing bowl.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the pie is set at the center. Allow the custard to cool and stabilize before slicing.


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2 Responses to “Caramel Custard Pie”

  1. 1

    Egg Custard Pie | Never Enough Thyme - Recipes and food photographs with a slight southern accent. — October 17, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

    […] The Family Foodie’s Caramel Custard Pie […]

  2. 2

    Margo — December 27, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

    This reminds me of a sugar cream pie from Indiana. They’re delicious – yours looks like one I made.

    Also, I’m not a talented candy maker and I’ve been able to make caramel sauce several times, even with no candy thermometer. I used a recipe on Angry Chicken’s blog that she calls butterscotch, but it’s the same elements, just a different method. Good luck!

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