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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Try traditional pie recipe

Last time, I shared with you a different type of pie, the savory pie. Today, I want to share some traditional pie recipes. I think that homemade pie is the definition of comfort food. With so many different varieties, there’s one to please everyone.

The recipes I’m sharing today have a very personal connection to me. The first, Magic Custard Pie, is one of my mother’s recipes. She has inspired me tremendously every time I step in a kitchen. It’s these tried and true recipes that I use to create new dishes. Of course there are some, like this one that I leave alone.

The second one is a Boston Cream Pie. My dad was born in Boston. Every year, my mom would go to the local bakery and get a Boston Cream Pie as his birthday cake. It’s no wonder that it’s one of my favorite desserts. Enough of this trip down memory lane. Let’s head to the kitchen!

Magic Custard Pie

2/3 cups sweetened condensed milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups hot water


3 eggs, slightly beaten

9-inch unbaked pie shell

Mix condensed milk and hot water. While stirring, pour gradually over eggs. Add salt and vanilla. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake in hot oven (400℉) for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to moderate (350℉) and bake 35 minutes longer or until the custard is set and the crust is done (a knife blade inserted will come out clean when the custard is done.)

Boston Cream Pie

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour

2/3 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup cooking oil

2 egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 egg whites

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Pastry cream, recipe follows

Ganache, recipe follows

Pastry Cream Filling:

2 cups whole, 2 percent fat, or 1 percent fat milk

1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out

6 egg yolks

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 tablespoon unsalted butter


8 ounces semisweet chocolate

1 cup heavy cream, boiling


Preheat oven to 350℉.

In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add milk, oil, egg yolks, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed until combined. Beat an additional 3 minutes on high speed and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on medium to high speed until soft peaks form. Pour the egg yolk mixture over the egg white mixture and fold in. Gently pour the batter into a 9-inch greased pie pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched. Invert the pan onto a wire rack. Cool completely.

Pastry Cream Filling: In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture, reserving the empty saucepan.

Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Let cool slightly. Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. (The custard can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Refrigerate until 1 hour before using.)

Ganache: In a medium bowl, pour the boiling cream over the chopped chocolate and stir until melted.

To assemble pie, remove the cake from the pan. Cut the cake in half horizontally. Place bottom layer on a serving plate or board, and spread with the pastry cream. Top with second cake layer. Pour chocolate ganache over and down the sides of the cake. Store in refrigerator.

So, whether it’s sweet or savory, a pie is great comfort food. There is something to me that is so satisfying about food inside a crust. It’s no wonder that I love to experiment with egg roll wrappers but that’s another subject I’ll cover soon.

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