I’m still laid up with a busted ankle today. Hopefully this is the last day of this, but I’m still going stir-crazy in a motel room in town. I’m going to try heading back to the farm tomorrow, but I’m not totally sure how it’s going to work. I grudgingly let a bunch of boys come and watch the 49ers game on the motel tv since the other option seemed like it wouldn’t go over very well (which was this: “… but how am I supposed to sit in bed and feel sorry for myself if I have a bunch of laughing, happy people around?”)
I finally unwrapped my foot this morning and poked it a little bit, which was exciting. It’s a nice blue-ish gray, a shade that might be called Weathered New England Beach House, and still pretty puffy . Other than poking at my foot, the only other productive activity I can think of is writing more blog posts. I’ve already replied to e-mails and looked at new recipes and ordered some supplies for holiday craft projects… I think writing about pie is a reasonable next step.
Anyway, this is such a delicious pie recipe that despite the fact that all of these pictures are old, from the Days Before The Blog, I’m going to share it. I’m sure I’ll make it again this fall and update these pictures with something newer and fancier.
Marlborough Pie is a traditional recipe from New England. It may not look like much at all in the above picture, but it’s one of the best pies I’ve ever eaten. I heard a dude on NPR do a program about regional apple pies and he said Marlborough Pie was his favorite. The crust can be either a traditional pate brisee or puff pastry, and the filling is this wonderfully luscious and sophisticated, slightly lemony apple custard. It’s a perfect way to use home-canned apple sauce and fresh eggs to make a wonderful fall dessert. It’s somehow rich and light tasting at the same time, and you could serve it after a big holiday meal without sending everyone spiraling into food comas.
My family has been eating this pie for as long as I can remember. We used to go to Old Sturbridge Village in Massachusetts every Thanksgiving, a fantastically nerdy family vacation. Looking back, it was actually pretty fun. I remember the crisp November air while we walked to all these different houses and watched “costumed historians” do reenactments of Thanksgiving dinners from the 1800’s. As an eight year old, I was always super annoyed that the actors were eating turkey and pie while I was walking around in the cold.
Eight Year Old Me: “Hey Lady, lemme have some of that pie.”
Later in the evening, though, we would go to the big restaurant in the village and have a wonderful dinner. Another traditional New England dessert we’d have was Indian Pudding, which looks like a bowl of gross brown schlop, but is actually this steamy spiced molasses and cornmeal custard served with vanilla ice cream. Everyone should also be eating this, it’s delicious. As a child, I really thought our Sturbridge trips were so dorky and annoying, but as an adult, I think it’s pretty great that my parents took us there so many times.
Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t call it Apple Custard Tart or something so it doesn’t remind me of cigarettes.
Cook Time: around 2 hours, including baking time
One single 9″ Pie Crust: Use whichever recipe is your favorite, or click here for instructions from Martha (please note that this recipe is for a double pie crust, not a single pie crust, so split it in half).
For the Custard Filling:
- 3/4 c. unsweetened applesauce*
- 1/4 c. heavy cream
- juice and zest from 1 lemon
- 1 c. sugar
- 3 fresh eggs, beaten
- 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 c. butter
- 1/4 c. sherry (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, lemon zest. Gradually beat in the eggs, lemon juice, applesauce, sherry, and heavy cream and ginger.
Lay out the pie crust in a 9″ pie dish. Pour in the custard filling. Put the pie in the oven for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Reduce heat to 350 and cook for 45 more minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
This pie will set much better if you let it cool and don’t serve it piping hot out of the oven.
*I use a chunky gravenstein applesauce from our pantry for this, but if you want to have a perfectly smooth custard you can puree the applesauce first or even run it through a chinois to take out any clumps. I like leaving it chunky and calling it rustic.