Food & Drink

Ma Ma’s Egg Custard Pie

Chef Alex Harrell learned this dessert from his grandmother, “Ma Ma.” Today, it’s on the menu at his New Orleans restaurant, Angeline

Photo: Margaret Houston

As a child, Alex Harrell would visit his grandmother in Chipley, Florida, and he could count on her custard pie to be waiting in the fridge. “It was one of her staples and such an easy pie to whip up—just milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla, plus a little bit of nutmeg if company was coming over,” he says. He now serves the custardy treat at his restaurant, Angeline, in New Orleans, and like his grandma did on special occasions, he tops it simply—with berries, peaches, or nutmeg.

Photo: Courtesy of Alex Harrell

Harrell and his grandparents in 1974 at their home in Chipley, Florida.


    • 3 eggs, beaten

    • ¾ cup sugar

    • ¼ tsp. salt

    • 1 tsp. vanilla

    • 1 premade pie shell

    • 1 egg white

    • 2½ cups milk, scalded

    • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Whisk in scalded milk.

  3. Brush the inside of the pie shell with the egg white to prevent the shell from getting soggy.

  4. Pour filling into crust and sprinkle the ground nutmeg over the top.

  5. Bake for 40­­–50 minutes until set. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving. Top as desired—with fresh berries or fruit.