Peach Custard

The other week I started thinking about Marlborough pie, the New England mix of custard, lemon, sherry, and apples. From a few articles I've read it seems to be experiencing a resurgence. Being a Southerner, though, I’ve never had it. It sounds good, and it high on the list once apples come back into season. Right now, and next week, and next month, it's peak peach season. But thinking about Marlborough pie and peaches, the thought process went “apple and custard=>fruit and custard=>Why should Yankees have all that fun when everyone know peaches are better than apples=>Peach and custard."

Then this week, leafing through older recipe collections, looking for this week’s bake, custard peach pie came up in two places. Duh. Peaches and custard are such an obvious combo, of course some baker threw them together centuries ago. It’s just that no one gave it a fancy name like Albemarle pie or John Boy pie. (And let’s not even talk about the cultural domination of the Northeast.)

It’s a pretty basic custard and peach pie. I made a few standard modifications, like blind baking the shell, adding some vanilla, spices, and brandy, but overall it was simplicity.

Thoughts after the first bake: It needs thicker slices of peaches. The custard broke, but I’m not sure if it was because it went too long or extra juice from the peaches. The custard works for a quick and easy treat, but it doesn’t rise to the richness a modern American palette expects. A richer custard, using only yolks would work better. Steeping the spices in the half and half would probably yield a subtler flavor and present better.

Ingredients

Pastry

  • Blind baked 9" standard shell

Filling

  • 6 Large fresh peaches
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • ¾c sugar
  • 1Tbls cornstarch
  • Pinch salt
  • 1½ c milk or half-and-half
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • ½tsp ginger
  • ½tsp nutmeg

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚.
  2. Slice the peaches and arrange in the baked pie shell.
  3. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and spices in a bowl.
  4. Whisk in eggs and milk.
  5. Pour over peaches.
  6. Bake for 40-50 minutes till custard is just set.
  7. Cool and serve.