This story was originally published in October 2020.
Here it is, fresh apple season, and some of you will make pies, apple crisp and all kinds of apple desserts, and some will make applesauce. What else to do with applesauce besides spooning up mouthfuls? I could always make applesauce cake, but, really, how much cake can my household consume? (Answer: not that much.) So I was glad to have an interesting little clipping sent me by Ruth Thurston in Machias for Dried Apple Custard Pie.
The original recipe was sent to a newspaper (in the same tradition as Taste Buds!) by “Mrs. J.P., Glen Moore, Chester County, Pa.” As I read through it, I realized she cooked up dried apples in water and pushed them through a colander in order to turn them into applesauce. So I skipped the dried apple directions, and proceeded directly to the sauce. And since Mrs. J. P. noted that “thick sauce makes the best pie,” I let mine drain a little to make it a bit drier.
Charmingly, Mrs. J.P. advised her fellow cooks to use “top milk” which I remember from my childhood, but which, unless you buy your milk from a farmer, you’ll be hard pressed to find anymore. I used a combination of whole milk and cream. She advised, “If apples are very tart, a little more sugar and a little more flour can be used.” However, if you are using canned applesauce, be sure to taste it for sweetness before you add the recipe’s recommended amount of sugar.
She also wrote to use “cinnamon to taste,” but a penciled note recommends “1 teaspoon of cinnamon.” Here’s to a cook’s own judgment. Taste and decide what to do. How about nutmeg?
A touch of cloves?
Additional notes recommend starting the pie at 450 degrees for 10 minutes and then 350 degrees for 50 minutes. That helps the crust set up. The result is golden on top, smooth cutting.
I shave a few tablespoons out of the sugar measurement, otherwise it is a tad too sweet for my taste.
Thanksgiving is still a month or so away, but I’m thinking this pie works as a nice alternative to a classic apple pie. Especially if your pantry already has applesauce in it.
Apple Custard Pie
Yields 1 pie
Pastry sufficient for one crust
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup whole milk
¼ cup cream
2 cups applesauce
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon or to taste
Heat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line a 9-inch pie plate with the pastry.
Whisk the sugar and flour together in a medium sized bowl, then beat in the eggs, milk, cream, and applesauce.
Add the melted butter and cinnamon.
Pour into the pastry lined pie plate.
Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for 50 minutes until puffed and the center is set.
Serve with whipped cream.