Brûléed vanilla custard = wonderful. Rich vanilla custard inside a buttery pie crust = amazing.
- For the crust:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons very cold, unsalted butter
- Ice water, as needed
- All-purpose flour, as needed
- Egg wash, as needed
- For the filling:
- 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
- 2/3 cup sugar, divided
- 6 egg yolks
- Pinch salt
- Superfine sugar, for finishing
Preheat the oven to 425° F. Have a 9-inch pie plate ready.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour, and salt to combine. Add the butter and pulse until it’s the size of peas. Remove the mixture and transfer to a medium bowl. Add ice water 1 tablespoon
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4- to 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the dough to the pie plate, and work carefully to make sure it’s nestled all the way down to the base. Chill thoroughly: 15 to 20 minutes in the freezer is best. Dock the frozen dough all over with a fork.
Place a square of parchment over the pie and fill with pie weights. Bake until just beginning to brown at the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pie weights, brush the base of the dough with egg wash, and return to the oven for 3 to 4 minutes more. Reduce oven temperature to 350° F. Cool the crust completely.
While the crust cools, in a small saucepan, bring the cream, vanilla bean, and 1/3 cup of the sugar to a simmer over medium heat. Let cool to room temperature, and discard the vanilla bean.
In a medium bowl, whisk the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, the yolks, and the salt together to combine. Pour the cream into the yolks in a steady stream, whisking constantly to combine. Strain the custard into the cooled crust. Bake until the custard is set around the edges, but still noticeably jiggly in the center, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
When the pie is cool, sprinkle sugar in an even layer over the pie. Brûlée the sugar with a torch until evenly melted and caramelized. Let sit at least 5 minutes before serving.
I prefer the pie to be served chilled, but room temp works too.