Raspberry custard pie keeps summer going
In the 21st century, the idea of something being “in season” has lost its meaning.
Asparagus for Thanksgiving dinner? No problem. Almost all fruits and vegetables are available throughout the year. Although local, seasonal and farm-to-table are watchwords for many consumers, the plain truth is that more than half of our produce is imported.
When my parents were growing up, the idea of eating seasonally was a given. When strawberries arrived in early June, it was a time to indulge to the fullest and then move on to the next fruit to ripen. Any fruit not eaten was turned into jam to serve as a reminder of the summer’s bounty.
My father’s birthday is in late June, just as local raspberries are appearing. To celebrate the occasion, my mother always made a raspberry custard pie. I’m sure she got the recipe from my grandmother, as there is only a list of ingredients and no instructions.
Pies are an essential part of Pennsylvania Dutch and Amish tradition. While we think of pie as a dessert, in times past they were eaten throughout the day. Custard pies of all types were especially popular. Eggs and milk were always available, and whatever fruit was in season was added for variety.
Although the local raspberry season has long passed, thanks to globalization you can still enjoy this summertime treat any time of the year.
Raspberry Custard Pie
- 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 11/2 cups half-and-half
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- 2 cups raspberries (half pint box)
Line a 9-inch pie pan with the dough and trim to a 1/2 inch beyond the edge of the plate. Flute the edges, and set aside.
Mix the sugar, flour and salt. Add the half-and-half, slightly beaten eggs, vanilla and melted butter. Blend well.
Distribute the raspberries evenly into the bottom of the pie shell. Pour the custard mixture over the fruit. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then turn down to 325 degrees and bake until custard sets, 45 to 60 minutes. You can test for doneness by slightly jiggling the pie. It should be firm about 2 inches in from the edge, and have a slight jiggle in the center.
Cool completely, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.
— Julie Falsetti, a York native, comes from a long line of good cooks. Her column, From Scratch, runs twice monthly in The York Dispatch food section. Reach her with questions and comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.