Sunday 25 January 2015


A pie cooling on the window sill is such a pretty sight. The aroma is a scent sent from heaven. The prospect of the first bite just thrills the imagination. Baking a pie might seem a task if you think about it but it actually is an enjoyable activity once you start the process. I am not an avid pie maker but have always wanted to know how to make the perfect pie. The perfect pie has to have a great tasting filling and a crisp, flaky and buttery crust.

I wish I could say that this is how my mother used to make egg pie. My mother could cook up a storm but can't bake a pie even if her life depended on it.
Memories my mother and pie is of her holding my hand as I press my nose against the baker's glass cabinet. One of the perks of being a small child is that most good things are at eye level.  Egg pie is the only pie offered at our local panaderia (bakery). What's not to like about egg pie?  The soft vanilla scented custard filling with the extra brown top surely delights. But that's about it. The pastry is usually disappointing. It tasted like cardboard and had the texture of plywood.

Egg pie starts with a liquid egg custard mix which is baked in a pie crust. The aim is to cook the liquid filling into a soft flan but still result in a crisp crust. I pre-baked the pie shell to make it crisp and less likely to absorb the liquid filling. I heated up the milk before using it for the custard. This gave the mixture a headstart for it cook and set fast before it has the chance to make the crust soggy.
I have finally made the perfect egg pie! The crust is buttery, flaky and crisp. For a richer, tastier filling I used mostly egg yolks, with just enough egg whites to bind. The taste is sheer heaven, a taste that only eggs could give. It is the perfect combination of tastes and textures, exciting yet mellow and comforting. I wish my mother could taste this. Boy, will she be so pleased.

Pie crust recipe from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook.

Ingredients for the pie crust:

1 1/4 c. of plain (all purpose) flour
1/4 tsp. salt
125 gms./1/2 c./1 stick/1/2 brick of cold butter, cut into small cubes
about 2 T. ice cold water 


Put the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine.

Add in the butter and pulse until the mixture forms coarse crumbs with some bigger pieces the size of peas.

Add in the ice cold water in a trickle while the machine is running. Do not over process. Squeeze a small amount of dough together. The water is enough if it holds together. If it remains crumbly, add a few drops more of cold water.

Tip the pastry mixture onto a sheet of cling film. Form into a ball. Wrap with the cling film and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Pre-heat the oven to 180° C/350° F.
Transfer the chilled dough onto a floured surface and roll into a circle to fit a standard pie dish. Brush off excess flour.
Using the rolling pin, lift the pastry onto the pie dish. Mould the pastry in using your knuckles to guide it. Crimp the edges.

Prick the bottom with a fork.

Cover the pastry with a circle of baking paper then fill with pie weights or dried beans.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until the edges begin to colour. Remove the baking paper and weights. Return the crust to the oven and bake again until light golden brown (about 15 minutes).
Ingredients for the filling:
7 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1 egg white
1 tin of sweetened condensed milk
1 small tin of evaporated milk (2/3 c.)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Lower the oven temperature to 140° C/275° F.
Whisk the egg white until soft peaks form. Set aside.
Put the condensed milk and evaporated milk in a saucepan and heat until steam starts to rise from the surface. Take off the heat.
Whisk the egg yolks and whole egg in a mixing bowl. Add about half a cup of the hot milk to the mixture while whisking to temper the eggs. Add the remaining milk and vanilla while continuing to whisk.

Strain the egg yolk mixture.
Add 1/4 c. of the egg yolk mixture to the egg white mixture and fold in.

Pour the remainder of the egg yolk mixture into the baked pie crust.

Pour the egg white mixture gently on the surface and even out with a spatula.

Put the prepared pie on a baking sheet to catch any drips.
Bake for about 40 minutes to an hour, on the lowest shelf, until there is only a slight wobble left in the middle.
Leave to cool before slicing.

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