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Think outside the pumpkin pie box: KLG's sister-in-law shares custard pies

Kathie Lee is letting people into her home, life and faith through her new book, "The Good Gifts: One Year in the Heart of a Home." In it, she chronicles the 20th anniversary of life in the Giffords' home with recipes, memories and scripture. One of those recipes are from her sister-in-law Sandy Epstein: Coconut custard pie, chocolate custard pie and meringue pie.Pie crust/shellsMakes 2 pie shells

Kathie Lee is letting people into her home, life and faith through her new book, "The Good Gifts: One Year in the Heart of a Home." In it, she chronicles the 20th anniversary of life in the Giffords' home with recipes, memories and scripture. One of those recipes are from her sister-in-law Sandy Epstein: Coconut custard pie, chocolate custard pie and meringue pie.

Pie crust/shells

Makes 2 pie shells

* Tips: Use extra flour on rolling pin and surface when rolling out pie crust. Roll it out on a piece of wax paper, it lifts easier to put into pie dish.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Crisco shortening 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon White vinegar 
  • Some cold water if needed (no more than 2 tablespoons) till right consistency

In a large bowl add: 2 cups flour, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1 cup Crisco shortening. Use a pastry cutter to mix the flour, Crisco and salt until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add 1 egg, 1 tablespoon White vinegar and some cold water to the bowl. Using a spoon mix everything together.

Then use your hands to divide dough into two balls for two crusts (do not over handle this mixture or it will dry out). Roll each shell out on a piece of waxed paper with some flour sprinkled on it so it won’t stick (it also lifts easier when putting it into pie shell).

Then lift and place the rolled out dough into the pie shell and flute the edges of the crust by pressing between your thumb and forefinger. You can add any leftover crust to the second pie shell. Using a fork, poke holes in pie crust before baking so it won’t shrink.

Bake the pie crusts for 10-12 minutes on 400 degrees until light brown and crust is completely baked. Keep an eye on it! and try not to overbake.

Custard pies

Custard ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 can carnation evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pre-baked pie crust

In a bowl, thoroughly mix the sugar, flour, eggs and milk and set aside.

In the top of a double boiler combine the evaporated milk and water. Whisk in sugar-flour mixture until smooth. Cook over simmering water, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens to a pudding-like consistency. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla.

Add ingredients for one of the following flavor variations: Chocolate custard pie, banana creme pie, coconut custard pie, and Never Fail Meringue.

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Chocolate custard pie

  • Custard pie mix
  • Pre-baked pie crust
  • 1 bar of milk chocolate

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake the pie crust and set aside.

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While the custard pie filling is cooking (see above for recipe) add chocolate to hot mixture and stir until it melts completely. (Do not use baking chocolate). Then pour into baked pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. After pie cools, top with whipped cream and refrigerate.

Banana cream pie

  • Custard pie mix
  • Pre-baked pie crust
  • Bunch of bananas

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake the pie crust and set aside.

Cook the custard pie filling (see above for recipe). 

Slice bananas and put them into the bottom of a cooled baked pie crust. Pour prepared custard on top of bananas. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. After pie cools, top with whipped cream and refrigerate. 

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Coconut custard pie

  • Custard pie mix
  • 1/2-3/4 cup (or personal preference) sweetened coconut 
  • Pre-baked pie crust

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake the pie crust and set aside.

Cook the custard pie filling (see above) add coconut and then pour into the baked pie shell.

Top with Never Fail Meringue or real whipped cream (see recipe below) and bake till it is golden brown.

Never Fail Meringue

Top coconut custard pie with this meringue mixture or real whipped cream.

Meringue ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 3 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Dash of salt
  • Dash of coconut

Heat oven to 350 degrees. 

Blend following ingredients together in a pan: 1 tablespoons cornstarch and 2 tablespoons cold water.

Add 1/2 cup boiling water and stir mixture until it is thickened and clear. Set aside until completely cold (I put it in fridge when I am in a hurry or you can also make this earlier). 

While waiting for it to cool, mix on high 3 egg whites until foamy, gradually adding 6 tablespoons sugar and beat until thickened. Then turn mixer to low and add 1 teaspoon vanilla and a dash of salt.

Gradually beat in the cold cornstarch mixture and beat on high. Then spread mixture on coconut custard pie, sprinkle top with coconut and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until light brown. Refrigerate when cool.