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Among the Greatest Hits of American pies two centuries and more ago, this delicious dessert was often seasoned with rosewater or orange flower water, fragrant echoes of its origins in Middle Eastern kitchens


A confection which has literally stood the test of time, this lovely pie puts almonds to memorable use in a custard fortified with ground almonds, giving it a substantial texture and flavor I crave as I make it.  You can start out with thinly sliced almonds and grind them in a food processor or even a mortar if you’re looking for an old-school culinary experience. Or make it like this version, with prepared almond paste, available in the baking section of many supermarkets and specialty stores. I use almond extract for extra almond oomph, but tonight I forgot to put it in, and nobody around here missed it. I still love the fragrant touch and flavor accent, but this makes clear to me that it’s great option, but not worthy of an extra trip to the store.

Nancie’s Almond Custard Pie

1 unbaked 9-inch piecrust


1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, melted

4 eggs

1 cup prepared almond paste

2 teaspoons almond extract (optional)


Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine the sugar, salt, and melted butter. Stir well, using a whisk, a wooden spoon or a hand-mixer on low speed, to mix them evenly. Add the eggs, one by one, beating well after each egg. Add the almond paste and almond extract. Beat well, until the almond paste is evenly mixed into the filling. Scrape the thick filling into the piecrust and bake in the 350 degree F oven until the filling puffs a little and browns handsomely, and is fairly firm all the way through — a little jiggle in the very middle is fine; 35 to 45 minutes. Place on a cooling rack or a folded kitchen towel and cool to room temperature.

About the Author
Nancie McDermott is a food writer and cooking teacher, and the author of ten cookbooks. Her passion is researching and celebrating traditional food in its cultural context, and her beloved subjects are two seemingly different places with much in common: the cuisines of Asia and of the American South. Nancie gained her Southern kitchen wisdom as a Piedmont North Carolina native,and her Asian culinary research commenced soon after college, when she was sent to northeastern Thailand as a Peace Corps volunteer.
  1. Will Reply

    This is a favorite of my daughters. They only had slivers for breakfast and were dismayed when they got home from school to find an empty pie tray. They are good kids, butr for once they wish that their mom was not so generous with her delicious creations.

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