Brûléed vanilla custard = wonderful. Rich vanilla custard inside a buttery pie crust = amazing. Brûléed vanilla custard pie = supercrazywonderfulamazing. —Erin Jeanne McDowell
- Prep time 1 hour 15 minutes
- Cook time 1 hour
- Makes One 9-inch pie
- For the crust:
1 1/2 cups
very cold, unsalted butter
Ice water, as needed
All-purpose flour, as needed
Egg wash, as needed
- For the filling:
1 1/3 cups
vanilla bean, scraped
Superfine sugar, for finishing
In This Recipe
- Preheat the oven to 425° F. Have a 9-inch pie plate ready..
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour, and salt to combine. Add the butter and pulse until it’s the size of peas. Remove the mixture and transfer to a medium bowl.
- Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough just comes together. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4- to 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the dough to the pie plate, and work carefully to make sure it’s nestled all the way down to the base. Chill thoroughly: 15 to 20 minutes in the freezer is best.
- Dock the frozen dough all over with a fork. Place a square of parchment over the pie and fill with pie weights. Bake until just beginning to brown at the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pie weights, brush the base of the dough with egg wash, and return to the oven for 3 to 4 minutes more. Reduce oven temperature to 350° F. Cool the crust completely.
- While the crust cools, in a small saucepan, bring the cream, vanilla bean, and 1/3 cup of the sugar to a simmer over medium heat. Let cool to room temperature, and discard the vanilla bean.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, the yolks, and the salt together to combine. Pour the cream into the yolks in a steady stream, whisking constantly to combine. Strain the custard into the cooled crust.
- Bake until the custard is set around the edges, but still noticeably jiggly in the center, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
- When the pie is cool, sprinkle sugar in an even layer over the pie. Brûlée the sugar with a torch until evenly melted and caramelized. Let sit at least 5 minutes before serving.
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, The Book on Pie, came out on November 10th, 2020, and my pie merch collaboration with Food52 is out now too: https://food52.com/shop/merchants/manifest-food52/food52-x-erin-mcdowell