Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Pantry Pies: Applesauce Custard

If you aren't familiar with the term Pantry Pies, I am certain you are familiar with the product.  Pantry pies developed in the era prior to refrigeration and year-round fresh produce in stores.  They are the pies that could be prepared using things a cook had on hand in her pantry during the winter months.  Canned and dried fruits appear in pies like raisin pie, dried apple pie, canned peach pies, and applesauce pies.  Pies with no fruit were also popular.  Pies like custard pie, chess pie, chocolate pies, old-fashioned cream pies, and vinegar pies are some of those types that are well known.  I've noticed these pies have given way to fresh fruit and cream pies.  Now that we have instant access to fresh and frozen fruit, and fresh dairy products all the time, we have forgotten about many of the pantry pies.  I made a steak salad for dinner last night, so I thought my family would enjoy a nice dessert.  Since we lost our minds and bought a ton of applesauce at a warehouse store, I thought I had better use applesauce.

I made a batch of pie crust and froze 1/2.  The other half I used for this recipe.  I will do a blog about making pie crust another time, but feel free to use frozen or refrigerated crusts from the grocery store.  I don't think they taste as good as homemade, but they work just fine.  Jiffy also makes a pie crust mix that is passable.  I like to make a large batch of crust when I'm doing it, then I have it on hand easily whenever I need some.  My sister just keeps the refrigerated crusts in her freezer and pulls out what she wants as she needs it.  

This pie is just a variation on custard pie.  Custard is pretty easy to make.  You just mix milk or cream, eggs and some sugar and vanilla together.  Poof!  Custard.  Just remember to add one egg for every cup of liquid.  The amount of sugar is based on personal preference.  I don't like super sweet pies, but you can adjust it however you like.  For my pie these are the basic ingredients I used:

1 cup applesauce (I had unsweetened)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

I literally just dumped everything into a bowl and mixed it up.

Next I just poured it into the pie crust.

Then I baked it for about 40 minutes.  It is done when knife stuck into it comes out mostly clean.

That's it.  Nothing fancy, but it was very tasty.  I served it with some cherry vanilla ice cream.  I could have added raisins to this pie too.  That would have been yummy.  It really is o.k. to play around with pantry pies a bit.  I could have used cocoa powder instead of applesauce for a chocolate custard pie too.  Remember,  homemade doesn't have to mean complicated.  Enjoy!