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Lemon-Basil Custard Pie with Red Berries


This custard is delicious with its gentle herbal undertone of basil that lightens but adds depth to the rich custard. The red berries on top, tossed in sugar, complement the baked custard with a delightful freshness.

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  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 lemon-basil sprigs, plus more, with flowers, for serving
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 10 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 8 ounces fresh raspberries, halved or cut into thirds if large (about 2-cups)
  • Fresh elderberries or currants, kept in clusters (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sugar


Servings 8
Preparation time 45mins
Cooking time 645mins
Adapted from


Step 1


Pulse flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor to combine. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some larger pieces remaining. Add ice water; pulse until dough just starts to come together. Pat dough into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or overnight.

Let dough stand at room temperature until pliable. Roll out on a lightly floured surface to an 11-inch round, about 1/8-inch thick. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate, fold over edge, then crimp. Freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line pie-crust with parchment and fill with weights or dried beans. Bake 25 minutes, then remove parchment and weights and continue to bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool.


Meanwhile, bring milk, cream, and lemon basil just to a boil in a medium pot. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep at least 2 hours (or overnight in the refrigerator).

Preheat oven to 350°F. Return milk mixture to a simmer; remove lemon-basil sprigs. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a bowl, then whisk in cornstarch and salt until mixture is pale and thick, about 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in hot milk mixture until smooth. Pass mixture through a fine sieve into piecrust; skim any foam from surface with a spoon. Bake just until set in center (if browning too quickly, tent edges with foil), about 30 minutes. Let cool completely. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or up to overnight.

Berries: Gently toss strawberries, raspberries, and elderberry clusters with sugar in a bowl. Let stand until juicy, about 5 minutes. Spoon berries and juices over chilled pie, top with lemon-basil flowers, and serve.

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