This traditional, lightly sweet egg custard pie with apples is made perfect for apple season with layers of thinly sliced apples. With or without a crust!
A traditional egg custard is made with milk and eggs that are blended and baked. This custard pie is a cross between that sort of custard and cheesecake. Because who doesn't love cheesecake, and this one is only very lightly sweet, which makes it extra special before we even start talking about the apples.
You can make this pie with or without a crust, as it bakes up stable enough to be sliced crustless. But the light, flakiness of a bottom pie crust is the perfect contrast to the creaminess of the filling that's studded with fork-tender apple slices. So I highly recommend making it with the crust.
Speaking of those apples, be sure to slice them thin, but not paper thin. If they're so thin they're practically see-through, they'll melt right into the custard as they bake.
The apples are settled into the filling in two layers, one in the middle and one on top. The top layer of apples browns a bit, thanks in part to a light drizzling of honey right before the pie goes into the oven. The middle layer of apples bakes just to fork tender and makes for an absolutely dreamy combination of textures.
Ingredients and Substitutions
As often as I can, I try to offer suggestions if you have other dietary preferences or restrictions. With some recipes, I'm a bit more optimistic than others.
I'm afraid with this custard pie with apples, as it relies quite heavily both on dairy and on eggs, I'm not too optimistic. But here are my best guesses:
Dairy-Free: First, for the crust: rather than using my recipe for extra flaky gluten free pie crust, which is made with butter and sour cream, I recommend using my recipe for traditional gluten free pie crust, and replacing the butter with butter-flavored Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening.
The filling of this custard pie is made with both cream cheese and mascarpone cheese, and each presents a challenge to making this pie dairy free. I haven't tried to replace dairy in this pie, but you might experiment with dairy-free cream cheese as a replacement for both cheeses.
Egg-Free: As usual, my recommendation is that, for up to 2 eggs, a “chia egg” (1 tablespoon ground chia seeds + 1 tablespoon lukewarm water, mixed and allowed to gel) for each is usually a relatively safe bet.
But this recipe has very few ingredients, and it calls for 3 eggs. I'm afraid I don't feel confident about that replacement at all.
Flour: This recipe calls for 1 tiny tablespoon of tapioca starch/flour. You can also use my gum free gluten free flour blend in its place, or even 1 tablespoon of plain old cornstarch. It helps stabilize the filling as it bakes, especially as the apples release their moisture during baking.
Click play ▶️ below to watch me make this easy custard pie with apples.
Then make your own!
Custard Pie With Apples
1 single gluten free pie crust, parbaked
2 large Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
3 eggs (150 g, weighed out of shell), at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon (9 g) tapioca starch
Honey, for drizzling
- Preheat your oven to 375°F. Prepare the pie crust according to the recipe instructions, including parbaking the crust. Allow the crust to cool while you prepare the filling.
- Peel, core and slice the apples in half from end to end. Slice the apples thinly (about 1/8-inch thick, no thinner). In a medium-size bowl, place the sliced apples, 1/4 cup (50 g) of the granulated sugar, and the ground cinnamon and toss to coat the apples completely. Set the apples aside. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, remaining 1/4 cup (50 g) sugar, salt, eggs, vanilla, and tapioca starch, and beat on medium speed until smooth and pourable.
- Pour about half of the filling into the prepared pie crust and smooth into an even layer. Arrange the apple slices on top of the filling in a single layer, top with the remaining filling, and finish with another single layer of apple slices. Drizzle the apples on top of the filling with about 1 tablespoon of honey in an even layer.
Place the pie in the center of the preheated oven and bake for about 35 minutes, or until the custard is set and doesn’t jiggle when the pan is moved from side to side. It will be mostly firm to the touch in the center, and the filling will be puffed. Remove the pie from the oven and allow it to cool to room temperature before placing in the refrigerator to chill until firm (about 3 hours). Allow the pie to sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving.