Erin McDowell’s Carrot Cake Custard Pie

I can’t lie, I was super excited to get my hand on Erin McDowell’s new release The Book on Pie. I admire her work greatly and knew I could turn to her for some pie inspiration. I chose this pie to make because I love hybrids. Is it a cake? Is it a pie? It’s both! The flavor is reminiscent of the cake of course, but the texture is both gooey, moist and chewy almost like a pecan pie. What I love most on this is the whipped cream, tangy from cream cheese which is always the best part of carrot cake anyway, right? Overall, I highly recommend this pie if you’re a fan of carrot cake.

For the crust, she recommends a pie dough flavored with cardamom and lemon or a cookie crust. I personally chose her oatmeal cookie crust because I thought it would pair well (and I was right), but any standard pie crust will work well. For garnish, she uses micro or baby carrots as a garnish, but I chose to make my own little marzipan carrots just for fun.

Makes one 9-inch pie


Carrot Cake Custard Pie:

  • 4 large eggs (200 grams)
  • ¼ cup (58 grams) heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons (56 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup (216 grams) light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (85 grams) honey
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 ¼ cups (223 grams) loosely packed grated peeled carrots, about 4 medium
  • ¼ cup (33 grams) all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup chopped toasted pecans or walnuts
  • One 9-inch pie crust, parbaked, brushed with egg wash, and cooled completely

Extra-Thick and Creamy Whipped Cream:

  • 8-ounce (226 grams) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • ½ cup (60 grams) confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 cups (462 grams) heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For Decoration

  • Micro, baby or marzipan carrots (optional)


Make the Pie:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F with a rack in the center.
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, melted butter, brown sugar, honey, vanilla, cinnamon and salt until well combined. In another bowl, toss the carrots with flour until well combined and then toss in the nuts. Fold this mixture into the custard with a silicone spatula.
  1. Place the parbaked crust on a baking sheet and pour in the custard. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake until the custard appears set around the edges (it may still be a big jiggly in the center – that’s OK), 30 to 35 minutes. Cool complete, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Make the Whipped Cream:

  1. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the cream cheese and sugar until light and fully on medium-low speed 2 to 3 minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl halfway though mixing.
  1. Raise the speed to medium and add the cream in a slow, steady stream. Try to pour the cream down the side of the bowl to prevent it from being splashed by contact with the whip, then continue to whip to soft peaks. Scrape the bowl well and whip to medium peaks. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.

Decorate the Pie:

  1. Pipe the whipped cream into an even layer on the surface of the chilled pie top with mini carrots, if using and then sliced and serve. The pie can be made up to 24 hours ahead and refrigerated until ready to serve.


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AnnMarie Mattilahttps://pastryathome.com
AnnMarie Mattila is a writer for Pastry Arts Magazine, as well as a freelance baker and pastry chef in New York. She has a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University and is also a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education.
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