Crafting Articles

The Kitchen Witch

Applesauce Custard Pie

It is my personal tradition to make something with apples for Samhain. Whether it’s an apple pie, a yummy apple kuchen, German apple cake or just simple baked apples, my home is always aromatic with the smell of apples and cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar at the end of October. To be sure – the smell of apple and cinnamon is present almost all year long!

I had made applesauce earlier in the week and I wanted to make something with the batch of applesauce that I had. I have more than one recipe for applesauce cake – including the famous one that Olivia Walton makes in the television story “The Homecoming” – but I thought I had seen a recipe for applesauce pie, so I looked through my cookbooks.

I found a recipe for “Applesauce Custard Pie” in The Art of Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking, by Edna Eby Heller. This has been one of my favorite cookbooks for years – it used to be my mother’s – she gave it to me back in 1985.

You can use store-bought applesauce if you wish; I just happened to have a large batch made because I wanted to use up old apples before I bought the new apples of the fall season. You can also purchase a ready-made pie crust – that might save you some of the problems I had with my crust! Sometimes they just don’t want to cooperate! However, it came out of the oven flakey and oh-so-buttery! It was worth all the melodrama with the rolling pin!

This is the recipe, scanned from The Art of Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking:

First I preheated the oven to 450?. Then I beat the eggs until they were nice and frothy.

Then I mixed together the sugar, cinnamon and salt in a small bowl. I was at the end of the container of cinnamon so I just dumped in what was in there so there was more than a half a teaspoon in the mix but I like the flavor of cinnamon, especially mixed with apples.

After mixing the sugar, cinnamon and salt well, I added them to the beaten eggs and stirred them in thoroughly.

Then I added the milk and the applesauce.

After stirring the milk and applesauce into the egg mixture, I poured the applesauce-custard mixture into the unbaked piecrust.

I put the pie into my preheated 450? for ten minutes, and then I turned the oven down to 350? for another thirty-five minutes, like the recipe said. But it wasn’t done yet. The middle of the pie was still visibly jiggly – I didn’t have to stick a knife in there to see if it was solid. So I let it go another ten minutes; and then another ten. Then it was done.

Let me tell you, that smells like heaven!

And it tastes great, too! The apple flavor from the applesauce blends perfectly with the cinnamon-and-sugar seasoning and the egg-and-milk custard gives the pie a creamy texture that melts in your mouth. My angst and drama pie crust did turn out perfectly buttery and flaky and of course the whipped cream on top just makes everything more magical and special!

So whether or not you want a tasty treat for your Samhain celebration or you just want another way of using applesauce, “Applesauce Custard Pie” from The Art of Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking by Edna Eby Heller is most definitely one of the best pies I’ve had in a long time.


Heller, Edna Eby. The Art of Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1968.

*all photographs by Polly MacDavid.


About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan but she gets along with a few of the masculine deities. She loves to cook and she is a Bills fan.

She blogs at She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.