A few weeks ago I bought a copy of Ladies Home Journal and noticed they had a new feature where along with a recipe, they included a story about its origin. In this case, the recipe was for a vanilla cream pie and the author of the story recalled how her father said it was the pie that made him propose to her mother. If it weren’t for this pie, Sue Marquis might not have been born! And even though I don’t know her personally, that was enough to get me to try it. That, plus we love cream pies and it had been a while since I’d made one with simple vanilla.
Simple is pretty much the key word here. The pie is made with readily available ingredients and can be whipped up in a matter of minutes. It does require a good amount of chilling, so it’s not exactly a spur of the moment recipe; but it’s worth making and might even become a regular at your house. The whole milk filling is not over-the-top rich and the dash of nutmeg makes the pie taste almost like eggnog in pie form. In fact, I might try adding some rum flavored whipped cream around the holidays and call it that! It’s a great little pie, to be sure, but I did make some small changes. I reduced the sugar in the crust to 1 tablespoon and added a ring of piped sweetened whipped cream. For the non-modified version, use LHJ’s. Below is how I made it.
- 12 graham crackers, broken
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 1/2 cups cold whole milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon good really quality vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- Garnish: Sweetened whipped cream
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Crush or grind the graham crackers and set aside ¼ cup of crumbs to use as garnish. Mix remaining crumbs with sugar and butter and press into a 9 inch pie plate. Set on a baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes.
- In a 3-qt saucepan, whisk together sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Whisk in the milk and egg yolks. Heat mixture over medium, whisking constantly until mixture begins to bubble. After mixture starts to bubble, set timer for 1 minute and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, nutmeg, and butter; place over an ice bath to cool slightly (I only did this for about 5 minutes) before pouring into baked crust. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for five hours or overnight.
- Before serving, pipe sweetened whipped cream around the edges. Sprinkle reserved graham crackers in the middle.