I’ll admit it guys: I don’t love apple pie. It’s kinda boring. But I LOVE this Apple Custard Pie! Fruit pies are just better with a creamy custard layer, what can I say. The flaky crust and cinnamon streusel don’t hurt either. My new favorite fall dessert!
Last week Eric and I took the kids to Disneyland for the week. Yes, I said “for the week,” not “for the day.” This is because Eric’s sister, Britta, was in charge of planning the trip, and she is absolutely obsessed with Disneyland. She is crazy, but I can’t complain because I had to do basically zero planning for the trip. Thanks Britta!
Disneyland is totally fun for a day or two, but a week is a bit much for me. Jim Gaffigan said it best: “If you haven’t been to Disneyland as an adult, just imagine you’re standing in line at the DMV……and that’s it.”
I felt this way BEFORE I spent a week at Disneyland 8 months pregnant. But we survived, I didn’t go into labor, and the kids LOVED IT. I have never seen my kids walk for so long and complain so little. Charlotte got to meet tons of princesses, and Truman got to ride the carousel at least 50 times, because when you’re 3-years-old and your mom is 35-weeks-pregnant, you ride the carousel a lot. They were in heaven.
One of the best parts of the trip was the Halloween party. It’s a special event at Disneyland: adults and kids alike dress up, there’s a Villain Parade, and candy everywhere, in addition to the normal rides. It was so fun to see all the amazing costumes.
Eric and I knew we wanted to dress up, but both of us are pretty lazy and cheap when it comes to costumes. My friend Rachel (hi Rachel!) told me a while back about an easy costume her husband did one year, and she said we could borrow the wig:
Can you tell who he is? Bob Ross of course!! We decided to turn me into a “Happy Little Tree.” I wore a green shirt, made a sign, and took the fall leaves off my mantle and wrapped them around my neck. I was feeling pretty proud that we spent so little money and effort on it.
But I was not prepared AT ALL for the reactions we got. Eric walked around all night with whispers following him: “That’s Bob Ross!” So many people stopped to compliment him that he started counting after a while: over 20 people told him how much they loved his costume. Some came up and told him how much they loved his work. “I watch you every Sunday night to help me relax before bed.” One Disney worker, directing us on our path, told us to “take a happy little step to the right.” The highlight of the night was when we went on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and one of the Disney workers saw us and started laughing so hard SHE CRIED.
I’m telling you guys, if you ever need a cheap and easy costume, grab a blue button-up, an afro wig, and a pallet.
(Also I want you to know that since linking to Bob Ross above, I’ve been listening to him painting “nice little bushes” and “happy little trees” while writing the rest of this post. Why is it so addictive??)
I know I said this already, but I just have to tell you again: I’m not an apple pie lover. I know, I know, it’s totally un-American. But I just think it’s boring. Mushy bland apples in a mushy crust with too much or too little cinnamon…ugh.
But I wanted to do something with apples for fall, so I started looking at my favorite fruit-pie recipes to see if I could adapt one for apples. Here are 3 of my favorite fruit pies:
Peach Custard Pie
Cranberry Custard Pie
Rhubarb Custard Pie
Are you noticing a trend here? CUSTARD MAKES EVERYTHING AMAZING.
And thus, behold: Apple Custard Pie.
Plus Cinnamon Streusel, because streusel makes everything better. (This recipe is adapted from the Peach Custard Pie up there. It’s a summer favorite, and the only way I will eat peaches in pie form.)
Apple pie is good. Apple pie with a layer of custard AND streusel on top? Better. WAY better. Normally an apple pie is full of apple pie filling. This one is only HALF full of apple pie filling: the rest is custard and streusel. How can you argue with this ratio?
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Apple Custard Pie with Cinnamon Streusel
- 1 pie crust, 9 inch
- 5 large apples, **
- 1/2 lemon
- 4 tablespoons butter, 1/2 stick
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
For the custard layer:
- 1 & 1/3 cup sour cream, + 1 tablespoon
- 5 large egg yolks, not the whites
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 & 1/2 cups white sugar
- 6 tablespoons flour
For the streusel topping:
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter, cold, cut into chunks
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Prepare the pie crust and arrange in a DEEP pie plate, crimping edges. Set aside.
- Peel and core the apples. Slice them very thin (think 1/8 inch or so--I used a mandolin but a sharp knife works too).
- Put them in a bowl and squeeze lemon juice on them after every apple you slice, tossing to coat. This is to add flavor and also to keep the apples from browning.
- In a large skillet, heat 4 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice.
- Add the apples. If you used a lot of lemon juice, don't add all of it. Add 1 teaspoon maximum.
- Cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Turn the heat up to high and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the liquid is bubbling and has reduced somewhat. (See photo above).
- Pour the apples into the unbaked crust and set aside.
- Make the custard. In a medium bowl, whisk together sour cream, egg yolks, and vanilla.
- Add the sugar and whisk well.
- Gradually add the flour while whisking. Whisk out any lumps.
- Pour the custard over the apples, but be careful not to overfill! See photo above. How much you need depends on the size of your pie pan. I used all but about 1/3 cup of the custard.
- Place the pie pan on a baking sheet in case it spills over the edge.
- Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes. The custard should be starting to set and be golden on top when you take it out of the oven. Decrease the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
- Meanwhile, make the streusel. In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup flour, 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, and 1/4 cup sugar. Use a fork or pastry cutter to cut in 4 tablespoons cold butter. Cut until you have pea-sized chunks of butter. Keep refrigerated until you are ready to add it to the pie.
- Once the pie has baked 20 minutes, remove the pie from the oven and add the streusel topping.
- ( Don't forget to LOWER the oven temperature to 375.)
- Use a pie crust cover*** to cover the crust so it doesn't burn.
- Bake an additional 20 to 25 minutes at 375, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Let sit at room temperature for at least an hour or 2 before cutting into it. I can never wait this long so I always put it in the freezer for 45 minutes or so. Serve with ice cream and caramel sauce! (Recipe below)
More recipes you will love!
If you want to make this pie REALLY decadent, make this Caramel Sauce to go on top! It’s sooo good. You can see the drizzle in the photos above.
Caramel Apple Upside Down French Toast Bake: << this is an AMAZING breakfast.
4-Ingredient Apple Cider Doughnuts: <<canned biscuit doughnuts ftw! This glaze is so good.
And here’s the recipe for the Cranberry Custard Pie I mentioned. Cranberry season is coming!!! Hooray!!
Hey there. I tried this the other day. I encountered two issues while cooking. The first was reducing the sugar, spices and apples in a skillet. So much water was constantly cooking out of the apples I could never get it to thicken up. And the apples were really starting to cook to a soft texture. So I didn’t want to leave them in too long considering they were also going to bake for awhile. During my “on the spot trouble shooting” I may have burned the sugar. Haha. So there was some apple rinsing that occurred. After that I just coated the apples in dry sugar and spice and placed them directly into the pie. Which tasted fine. But it wasn’t the amazing buttery, sugar glazed apple I was hoping for. Any tips on how to reduce that mixture more effectively? More butter? Less heat?
The second was not so much a problem with baking or taste. Just with presentation. My custard layer really wasn’t a layer. It just ended up co-mingling with the apple. So I ended up with an apple filled custard. Again, it tasted very good. And was very similar to a pie I’d made before. But not quite right for this recipe. Have you ever had this problem with the layers?
Anyway, thanks for the recipe. Five stars because even with me messing it up it tasted great. Haha
Hi Robby! I’m so glad you enjoyed this pie despite the challenges you encountered making it.
To ensure that your apples come out glazed and delicious, I recommend making sure that the heat isn’t too high while you’re cooking them. This means that the water can evaporate slowly without the apples cooking down too fast. One thing I’ve learned about apple pie filling is that apples don’t soften in the oven; whatever degree you’ve cooked them to before adding to the pie is the way they’ll stay.
Since your apples were rinsed and coated in a dry sugar and spice mixture, rather than cooked into a softer filling, it makes sense that the custard was able to co-mingle with the apples, as you say. When they’re cooked into a filling, it forms a less penetrable layer that the custard should sit on top of nicely.
Thanks so much for your comment, and I’m so glad it tasted great!
Help! My streusel topping melted. What happened?!
Hi Jessica! I can’t be certain since I wasn’t there, but did you forget to chill the streusel before adding? It should be cold when it goes in the oven.
Wow! I made this pie yesterday and it is incredible! I used a very large pie dish, so all the custard fit and it did not spill over at all. I had vanilla ice cream, but it just didn’t seem to need it. Will be saving this recipe and will use it again.
Oh I’m so glad you loved this pie Sherrill! You know a pie is good when you don’t even need the ice cream :) Thanks for coming back to comment, that helps me out so much!
How can I substitute the pumpkin pie spice? I don’t like allspice or cloves
Hi Dee! I would replace with 2 teaspoons cinnamon! Enjoy!
I made this recipe yesterday for Thanksgiving. I’ll admit, I didn’t use your pie dough recipe as I am a newbie pastry baker and don’t have a food processor so I wanted a recipe that accommodated that. I’m with you, I’m not an Apple pie fan, but I do love streusel and custard. It was delicious! I added toasted pecans to the streusel and it sent it over the top! Awesome.
Ooh, love the pecans in the streusel Stacey! Great idea!
Are you using a regular 9″ pie crust or deep dish?
Hi Joe! You need a very deep pie dish!
Would there be a way to convert these into like mini pies and bake them in a cupcake tin?
Hi Nicole! i’m sure you could. I’ve never done mini pies before so don’t have any tips. But in theory it should work just fine! Enjoy!
A delightful recipe! Made as written. This was not overly sugary sweet and the natural sweetness of the apples was the highlight of the dish. This is my new favorite apple pie. I used one Granny Smith, two Fuji, and two Gala apples.
So happy to hear you loved the pie! I agree, the apples are the star in this one! Thanks for sharing what combo of apples you used!
Amazing! I used a pre-made Pillsbury crust because I had one on hand, added some ground cardamom as well because I love it with apples! Also, I messed up and did one a commenter below did and added the streusel too early, OOPS! I baked the first 20 min uncovered as instructed and then when I lowered the temp, I just covered the whole thing with foil & put my pie rim on so it wouldn’t get too brown. Turned out great! Great recipe, thank you!
Yay! So glad you loved the pie Annj! Cardamom is one of my favorite spices, I so totally need to try it in this pie! Thank you for commenting, it’s so good to hear from you!
We loved it! I made it a month ago and my husband said it was the best pie he’s ever had. Now I’m making again today for my husband’s birthday!
YAY! SO happy to hear it was a hit Sarah! happy birthday to your husband! Thanks for reviewing!
I am making this for Thanksgiving. Do you not need to pre-bake the pie crust? Does it not get soggy?
Hi Johnna! For this recipe you don’t need to bake the crust ahead. Enjoy!
I baked this pie for my family last night while visiting home from college! Served with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce and it was a huge hit! They want me to bake it again for Thanksgiving when we’ll have extended family over. Thanks for the great recipe!
Woohoo, recipe success! I’m so glad you and the family enjoyed it Zoey! Custard ftw. Thanks so much for commenting!
What do you do with the leftover custard? I have quite a bit!
Hi Brittany! Pour it into a ramekin and bake it!
Big hit with my wife! So much better than traditional apple pie, especially next day when it comes out of the fridge and the custard has set nicely.
I made a couple of adjustments. I cut the sugar in both apples and custard by half, and it still came out perfectly sweet. Used plain cinnamon instead of pumpkin pie spice. I decided to forego the streusel and baked the pie for 40 minutes at 300 degrees after the initial 20 minutes at 400. Someone complained about too much liquid coming from the apples. Here’s what I do: Use a strainer to collect the liquid. Apples go on top of the pie crust, the liquid back into the pan. Boil on high until it becomes syrupy, then sprinkle it over the apples.
I’m so glad you both liked it Rainer! It’s hard to beat apple desserts in the fall, right? Thanks so much for the comment and tips!
Doh! I jumped ahead and added the struesel before baking it! …and then I read the instructions to bake custard before adding struessel…sigh. I have it in the oven now; and am hoping it will still turn out. Thats what I get for getting in a hurry, and baking at 4:30 am!
How did it turn out? I think it wouldn’t be too bad, your streusel might be a little more crisp than you want it though.
Gosh, this looks so good. And I love custard pies. I’ve printed your recipe and I’m likely going to make it next week when we are expecting company! Thank you.
Hey Diane! Custard pies are just the best, right?? I hope your pie turns out lovely and you impress all of your guests :) Let me know how it goes!
I made this pie tonight and the only thing I can say is, “WOW!” It is completely delicious. The custard layer took longer to bake than the recipe indicated; mine went about 10 minutes longer but firmed up really nicely. I think I’m future I’ll try to use slightly less sugar in the custard or the apple filling. It’s very sweet, but not cloyingly so.
I’m so glad you liked it Ariel!! Thanks so much for all your helpful tips! I love this apple pie so much, I’m glad you got to try it.