Monday, July 6, 2009

Lemon Custard Pie

I always hate it when I forget a promise. Not too long ago my friend John M. said (on Face Book) that he was getting ready to enjoy a Nectarine Pie. That sounded so good to me, that the fact I had just put one of my Lemon Custard Pies in the oven didn't sound so special anymore. Nectarines are my favorite fruit. There isn't even a close second, although I truly love lots of different fruits and pies.

Since John is in California and I'm in Colorado, it was obvious that we couldn't exchange pies, so I offered to trade recipes. He admitted that his came from a Farmer's Market, so I wouldn't be getting a recipe from him, but I did promise to post my recipe on the blog. It's an original, made up of a combination of other similar pies, and more like a Key Lime Pie than anything else, actually, so I figured I'd just go ahead and put it here before I lose it. We had company then, and I lost track of time. I seem to do that more often than not.

So here you go, John. Hopefully you and Marrianne haven't been thinking I didn't want to share it with you.

Lemon Custard Pie
(I make this with a chocolate graham cracker crust.)

Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/2 Cups Chocolate Graham Cracker Crumbs
(Buy Chocolate Graham Sticks and put them in your food processor. Don't have one? Put them in a baggy and hit them with something.)
6 Tbsp Butter, Melted
2 Tbsp Sugar or Splenda (I tend to use Splenda now. Since I can't tell the difference, why not?)

  • Mix it all together in a bowl.
  • Pour it into the bottom of a 9" pie plate
  • Use the edge of a rounded measuring cup (or whatever) to press it firmly and evenly in place along the bottom and sides.
  • For this recipe, set aside for now. (For normal recipes, bake 15 to 20 minutes in 325° oven and allow to cool.)

Lemon Custard Pie Filling:
Preheat oven to 325°F.

4 Eggs, separated
1 (14 ounce) can Sweetened Condensed Milk (This is not the same as evaporated milk...)
1/2 Cup fresh Lemon Juice—from real lemons, preferably, but I've used concentrate in a pinch.
2-3 drops yellow gel food coloring makes it look nicer, but doesn't add to the taste.

  • In medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks. (Save whites in fridge for tomorrow's omelette.)
  • Use a stainless steel, glass or ceramic bowl. There's something in plastics and some metals that reacts with the acid in the lemons that can ruin the pie.
  • Gradually whisk in Sweetened Condensed Milk until smooth, and then whisk in lemon juice.
  • Stir in food coloring gel (works much better than liquid) if you want to pretty it up.
  • Cover the mixture and set aside to thicken, about 30 minutes.

Now you can preheat your oven to 325°

  • When the oven is hot, bake your crust for 15 to 20 minutes, timing it to come out 30 minutes after you finished whisking your pie filling. The crust must still be warm when the filling is added.
  • Pour the thickened filling into the warm pie crust and bake until the center is firm but still wiggles a bit when jiggled. This should only take another 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Transfer the pie to a wire rack and cool at room temperature.
Refrigerate until well chilled. Top with whipped cream to serve.

It's pretty much a no-fail pie. It's not too tart, not too sweet. You can easily adjust it for your own family's taste. You could always serve it with ice cream instead of whipped cream, I guess. I hope you enjoy it as much as my John does.


Ri said...

Thank you! This looks delicious and I'll have to try it soon.

And the nectarine pie was awesome. If you're ever near San Luis Obispo, check it out ( It's become our summer tradition and I be sure to stock a couple in the freezer to enjoy on a special occasion.

Kathleen said...

Well, you know, Ri, I think the next time I visit just might be a special occasion...

Izzy said...

hi i found this on a google search for lemon custard..

i think this is the best thing i have ever tasted!

you should post this on, as they don't have anything like it

Kathleen said...

Thanks, Izzy. I like playing with food—before and after I cook it. I'm glad so many people are enjoying it. BTW, I had an Aunt Izzy whom I loved immensely as a child, and lost her long ago. Your name brought back good memories.