Perfect Rum-Vanilla Cream Pie

Photo: Johnny Miller
1 9-inch pie

Consider this pie from our Pies & Tarts book comfort food for grown-ups. Rum adds a spirited kick to both the custard filling and the whipped cream topping. A vanilla bean does double duty, as well: Its seeds dot the filling, and the pod infuses the whipped cream topping with a delicate flavor.


  • All-purpose flour, for dusting

  • ½ recipe Pate Brisee for Pies and Tarts

  • 1 cup granulated sugar

  • ¼ cup cornstarch

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 2 ½ cups milk

  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and scraped, pod reserved

  • 4 large egg yolks

  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon (2 ½ ounces) golden rum, preferably Appleton

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons and softened

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar


  1. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a 13-inch round, 1/8 inch thick. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim dough, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Tuck overhang under, flush with rim, and crimp edges. Pierce bottom of shell all over with a fork. Refrigerate or freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line shell with parchment; fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until edges begin to turn gold, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove weights and parchment. Bake until crust is golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes more. Let cool completely on a wire rack. (Crust can be wrapped in foil and stored overnight at room temperature.)

  3. Combine granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk in milk and vanilla seeds, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until bubbling and thick, about 7 minutes (about 2 minutes after it comes to a boil).

  4. Whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl until combined. Add milk mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking until completely incorporated. Return mixture to saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it returns to a boil, 1 to 2 minutes.

  5. Pour mixture through a fine sieve into a large bowl, and stir in 1/4 cup rum. Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until butter melts before adding next piece. Let cool, whisking occasionally, about 10 minutes.

  6. Pour custard into crust. Press plastic wrap directly on surface of custard. Refrigerate until custard filling is firm, 4 hours or up to 1 day.

  7. Meanwhile, place cream and vanilla pod in a bowl. Cover, and refrigerate 4 hours or up to 1 day.

  8. Just before serving, remove pod from cream, and discard. Whisk cream until soft peaks form. Add confectioners' sugar and remaining 1 tablespoon rum, and whisk until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch star tip (such as Ateco #826 or Wilton #8B), and pipe whipped cream over pie. Serve immediately.

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