Apple Pie and Custard

For the ultimate comfort pud, try James Martin's easy apple pie with home-made custard scented with vanilla and thyme
By James Martin
Apple Pie and Custard
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6-8
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Effort: medium


  • 500 g pack shortcrust pastry
  • plain flour, for dusting
  • 700 g cooking apples, peeled, cored and thickly sliced
  • pinches thyme
  • 50 g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 50 g brown sugar
  • 25 g butter
  • 1 egg, beaten

For the custard

  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 300 ml milk
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 100 g caster sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 190C/gas 5.

2. Roll out two thirds of the pastry on a floured work surface and use to line a 23cm pie dish.

3. Tip the apple slices into a bowl with a pinch of thyme and the sugars, then stir gently to mix. Pile the mixture into the pastry-lined dish, dot with a little butter and leave to cool.

4. Once the filling has cooled, roll out the remaining pastry and lay it on top. Seal the edges well, then make a small hole in the top for steam to escape. Make decorations from any pastry trimmings and seal them with a little water. Brush with beaten egg, sprinkle with caster sugar and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown.

5. For the custard: split open the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds into a heavy-based saucepan. Pour in the milk and cream, add the vanilla pod and thyme, then bring slowly to the boil.

6. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until they lighten in colour and thicken slightly.

7. Pass the custard through a sieve, discarding the vanilla pod and thyme. Rinse the saucepan and return the mixture to the pan. Put the saucepan over a low heat and cook the custard for 5-10 minutes, stirring all the time, until it thickens slightly and coats the back of the spoon - do not boil or the custard will curdle.

8. Serve with the hot apple pie.

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