Vanilla Custard Pie

This little birthday pie hit all of the right notes: sweet, silky, cool and just a bit salty and crunchy. The custard filling is made with whole milk, which I can easily substitute my husband's lactose free milk for. It results in a creamy and rich, but not too rich filling. And, the homemade graham cracker crust got a boost from crunchy pecans and rich coconut oil instead of butter. 

vanilla custard pie

Vanilla Custard Pie

makes one 9-inch pie

Ingredients

Crust

  • 20 graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • pinch of salt

Custard

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • pinch of salt

Topping

  • 1/4 cup of dark chocolate chips
vanilla custard pie

Directions

Crust

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a food processor, combine graham crackers and pecans and process for about a minute, or until finely chopped. Add melted coconut oil, brown sugar and salt to food processor until combined.

Firmly press the mixture into a 9 inch pie plate, using your hand or a flat-bottomed glass. Bake the crust for 15-18 minutes. Remove from oven and cool thoroughly.

Custard

While the pie crust is cooling, add the milk, egg yolks, vanilla, sugar, cornstarch and salt to a heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Heat over medium-high heat while whisking frequently. Once the mixture comes to a boil, drop the heat and stir continuously for one minute. Take off the heat and cool the mixture in an ice bath. Add the cooled custard to the pie shell and place cling wrap directly on the surface of the pie so that no skin forms. Refrigerate for at least four hours before serving.

Topping

Just before serving, heat the dark chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Try heating for 30 seconds at a time. Stir after each 30 second interval. When chocolate is fully melted, use a spoon to artfully drizzle the chocolate over the custard. 

The pie is ready to cut, serve and enjoy!

Chocolate Budino

My first budino was a meyer lemon version. I later adapted it to regular lemons and now I've converted this versatile little recipe into a chocolate variety. A budino is typically a sweet Italian dish that's somewhere between a cake and a custard. Cooked in a water bath, the top is light and airy like sponge cake, while the bottom hides a custard layer of awesomeness. The process is simple, just follow the steps and enjoy the surprising results. With one little recipe, you've got endless varieties of dessert!

chocolate budino

Chocolate Budino

Adapted from Craig Stoll's recipe, Chef & Co-owner of Delfina, San Francisco.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 oz. 60% cocoa bittersweet chocolate, melted
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Mixing the egg whites into the chocolate mixture

Mixing the egg whites into the chocolate mixture

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray eight 3/4 cup custard cups or ramekins with nonstick cooking spray. Combine 1/2 cup sugar, egg yolks, flour and melted chocolate in large bowl; whisk until well blended. Whisk in milk.

Using electric mixer, beat egg whites and salt in medium bowl until frothy. Gradually add remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Fold beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture in 2 additions. Divide mixture among prepared custard cups. Place custard cups in roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into roasting pan to come halfway up sides of custard cups. Bake puddings until tops are golden and spring back when lightly touched, about 30 minutes. Remove cups from water. Serve warm or cold with whipped cream, if desired.

Separating the eggs

Separating the eggs