Sorghum Custard Pie with Cornmeal Crust 

This delicious pie creates a dynamic ensemble of flavors and textures.

Sorghum Custard Pie with Cornmeal Crust
Photo: Johnny Autry; Food Styling: Keia Mastrianni; Prop Styling: Charlotte L. Autry
Active Time:
20 mins
Chill Time:
1 hrs
Freeze Time:
20 mins
Bake Time:
1 hrs
Cool Time:
1 hrs 15 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 55 mins

It's time for pie. This recipe for Sorghum Custard Pie with Cornmeal Crust comes from writer and baker Keia Mastrianni, who has earned a dedicated following for her hyperseasonal pies. "High pie season, the time of year that begins in October and spans through the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, is a maelstrom of flour, butter, grit, and perseverance. It's the Super Bowl for bakers across the nation," writes Mastrianni. "At Milk Glass Pie, my farm-based bakery in western North Carolina, it's no different."

This custard pie pairs a pure, silky filling with a coarse cornmeal crust, creating a dynamic ensemble of flavors and textures. Lightly spiced with brown sugar and cinnamon, the filling really lets the flavor of sorghum shine. "Sorghum syrup is the currency of the mountains, and this product bears the signature of the land from which it came as well as the hand of its maker," notes Mastrianni. "This pie tries to capture the essence of sorghum with its notes of grass and cane in a delicate custard filling." Top slices with whipped cream and a drizzle of sorghum for a fancy finish.


Cornmeal Crust

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface 

  • ¼ cup yellow cornmeal (fine to medium)

  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar  

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt 

  • ½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes

  • ¼ cup ice water 


  • ½ cup unsalted butter 

  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar 

  • ¼ cup packed light brown sugar 

  • ¼ cup fine yellow cornmeal 

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt 

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon 

  • ½ cup sorghum syrup

  • 3 large eggs 

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream 


  1. Prepare the Cornmeal Crust: Whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add cold butter, and toss to coat in flour mixture. Using a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture, breaking large pieces into smaller, pebble-size pieces. Use your fingers to "snap" the butter, flattening it into large flakes. Continue working butter into flour until mixture is well blended. (It should look like grated Parmesan cheese with a few pebble-size pieces.)

  2. Make a well in center of flour mixture, and add ice water; toss thoroughly. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface; bring dough together into a single mass. Shape into a disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and chill at least 1 hour or up to overnight (12 hours).

  3. Roll dough into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured work surface. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate. Trim any excess dough, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Roll dough under itself to create piecrust. Crimp as desired; place in freezer for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in lower half of oven. Line frozen pie shell with parchment paper; fill completely with pie weights to top of crust. Bake until set and very lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Remove pie weights and parchment; bake until light golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from oven; cool completely, 30 minutes.

  4. Prepare the Filling: Preheat oven to 325°F. Cook butter, vanilla bean, and scraped seeds in a small saucepan over medium, stirring often, until butter is melted, about 1 minute. Whisk together granulated sugar, brown sugar, cornmeal, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Remove vanilla bean pod from melted vanilla butter; discard pod. Whisk in melted vanilla butter. Add sorghum syrup, eggs, and egg yolk, whisking until thoroughly combined. Whisk in the cream. Pour into prepared pie shell.

  5. Bake until filling is just set, 40 to 50 minutes, rotating pie halfway through and covering edges with aluminum foil during the last 20 minutes, if needed, to prevent overbrowning. Cool completely before serving.

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