For me, there may be no better dessert than a custard pie–that indescribable richness of a good custard balanced with a salty, flaky pastry crust and nice dollop of whipped cream. It really doesn’t get much better. And it also serves as a wonderful platform for exploration of flavors. In this case, I’ve flavored my custard pie with stinging nettle powder.
I’ve used these words in previous posts, but I think they are an apt description: nettle powder is like matcha turned to eleven. That bright green, almost grassy flavor comes through with even a bit more intensity than matcha. In this case, it is only a few teaspoons in a whole pie, so the result is just a mellow, delightful custard pie that tastes of summer and lush, green plant life.
For more on nettles, check out my post about nettle powder and nettle lattes here, and my post about nettle dalgona here.
Baking is certainly not the ideal summertime activity (particularly in places like Colorado where nearly no one has air conditioning), but this pie is served cold and keeps well in the fridge. So make it on a cool, rainy day and enjoy it for a week.
Nettle Custard Pie
1 frozen pie shell
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 tsp nettle powder
3 tsp nettle powder
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Begin by pre-baking your pie shell. Line with parchment paper weighted with dried beans (or something similar) and bake at 375 for 8 minutes. Remove the paper and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until the crust is nicely browned all over. Remove the crust from the oven and lower the heat to 300 degrees.
To make the custard, begin by scalding the milk, cream, salt, and nettle powder over medium heat. Stir often, and remove the mixture from heat when it is just about to boil.
In a separate bowl, add the eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract, and beat until mixed well. Temper the egg mixture by pouring in a small stream of the hot milk while beating the eggs. Once the eggs are tempered, continue this process, pouring the milk in slowly, in a thin stream, while mixing.
Now your custard mix is ready and you can add it to the pie shell. I suggest pulling your oven rack out and pouring the custard mixture into the pie shell while it is already sitting on the rack. The mixture is still quite liquid at this point and will slosh with any movement. Cover the exposed crust with foil to keep it from burning, and carefully slide the rack back into the oven.
Bake the pie at 300 degrees until a thermometer inserted into the center reads between 175-180 degrees. This ought to take around 45 minutes, but ovens vary in temperature, so it may take longer or shorter than that. If the custard does not reach at least 170 degrees, it will not set properly.
When the temperature at the center of the pie is right, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool fully on a wire rack. Once it is cooled, put it in the refrigerator until it is time to serve.
Serve the pie with whipped cream and a dusting of nettle powder.