Cherry pie with vanilla custard


1 pie

Cherry pie with vanilla custard is something that always reminds me of Belgium. Belgium is known for its chocolates but in general we love quite a lot of different types of desserts. One thing I always missed here in Ireland is not having a bakery in every town with freshly baked bread and pies every day. In general, my favourite pies would be the ones with vanilla pudding/custard in it, and if it’s then topped with any sort of red fruit I am in heaven. This cherry pie recipe uses a vanilla custard base, and is then topped with soft cherries in a cherry jelly. The custard recipe is one that was passed down from my grandmother to my mother. It’s a recipe I regularly make when I’m craving vanilla pudding pots with chocolate sprinkles. The cherry part of the recipe is based on another Belgian tradition: meatloaf with warm cherries in a cherry sauce. The only difference here is that I’m using starch to thicken the sauce as we need it to set rather than to be a liquid sauce.

For this recipe I’m using tinned cherries, but you can make it with fresh ones in Summer too. It is a lot of work though, a lot. The amount of cherries and sauce we are using in this recipe means you’ll have to remove the pit from more or less a kilo of cherries. You’ll also need to get cherry juice which will require a lot of thickening.




Adjust Servings
850g tinned cherries in syrup (= 2 tins)
4tbsp cornflour
75g granulated sugar
7tbsp caster sugar
1 lemon
50g custard powder
750ml full- fat milk
7g (= 1 sachet) vanilla sugar This can be hard to find in Ireland. It is sold in Polish shops but you can also replace it with a few drops of vanilla essence with 7g of caster sugar
1 sheet of shortcrust pastry dough


Follow the instructions on the pie dough packaging
Make sure to place a sheet of baking paper on top of the dough along with some baking weights (rice, ceramic beans, ..) to prevent it from puffing up.
5 minutes before the base is supposed to be ready: remove the baking weights and baking paper to allow the centre of the pie to dry up too.
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Meanwhile we can start on the custard
Take about 10 tablespoons of milk from the 750ml of milk. Add it to a jug and mix in the custard powder. Add the remaining milk along with the vanilla sugar and the caster sugar to a small pot. Bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, turn off the heat.
To avoid lumps in the custard, it's now important to balance the heat between the cold milk with the powder and the hot milk with the sugar. To do so, add a few tablespoons of hot milk to the cold one, one at a time. Make sure to mix well after each table spoon. Add about 10 tbsp. Then poor the milk with the powder into the milk with the sugar. Mix very well and turn the heat back on to allow the custard to thicken. Continue to mix while it thickens for a few minutes. Once it's thick enough you remove it from the heat immediately. Remember that this is going to be the base of the pie, if it's too runny it will just slide away when you start cutting the pie.
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Let the pie base and custard cool down for a few minutes
Then pour the custard onto the pie base. Make sure there's enough space for the cherries to go on top. If you have any leftover custard you can pour it into small bowls and eat it with some chocolate sprinkles.
Let the pie cool down completely before adding the cherries. Don't add it to the fridge at this stage, if it's still a bit warm it will cause condensation in your fridge.
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Now we can move on to the top of the pie: the cherries!
Strain the juice of the tinned cherries into a jug, then take 500ml and add it to a pot. Add the lemon juice along with the granulated sugar and cornflour. Let it simmer at medium heat until you get a thick syrup.Mix well to avoid lumps. Tip: sieve the cornflour in the sauce, this will also help avoid lumps.
Add the cherries to the syrup and let it cool down for 10-15 minutes.
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Carefully pour the cherries and the syrup on top of the pie
Allow it to cool down completely. Once it's cooled down you can store it in the fridge for 2-3 days - if you can wait that long.
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