Apple Custard Pie with Saffron & Cardamom

A classic combination in many Indian sweets, cardamom and saffron perfume the creamy filling of this apple custard pie.

Custard Apple Pie with Saffron & Cardamom
Photo: Leigh Beisch
Active Time:
1 hr
Total Time:
6 hrs
Nutrition Profile:



  • ¾ cup whole-wheat pastry flour

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, chilled

  • 3 tablespoons ice water


  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar plus 3/4 cup, divided

  • 2 medium green baking apples, such as Granny Smith, thinly sliced

  • 2 red baking apples, such as Cortland, thinly sliced

  • ¾ teaspoon ground cardamom

  • ¼ teaspoon saffron threads

  • 2 large eggs

  • ¾ cup whole milk

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour


  1. To prepare crust: Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 4 tablespoons butter. Refrigerate until firm, 30 minutes to 1 hour.

  2. Mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until the butter forms almond-size pieces, 2 to 3 minutes. Add oil and mix for 30 seconds to incorporate. Add 3 tablespoons water and mix until the dough just comes together, with flecks or streaks of butter. Add up to 1 tablespoon water if it seems dry. Form the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

  3. Preheat oven to 375°F. If the dough has been refrigerated for more than 1 hour, let it stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 12 1/2-inch round. Transfer to a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Crimp the edges. Freeze the crust for 15 minutes.

  4. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights (or dried beans). Bake until the edges are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove the paper and pie weights. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 10 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack.

  5. Reduce oven temperature to 350°.

  6. Meanwhile, prepare filling: Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat until bubbling. Add 2 tablespoons brown sugar and apple slices. Cook until the apples start to become tender, about 5 minutes. Add cardamom and saffron; remove from heat. Drain the butter from the apples through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.

  7. Whisk eggs, milk, salt and the remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar in a large bowl. Slowly drizzle in the butter, whisking constantly. Whisk in flour until the custard is smooth. Arrange the apple slices in the crust. Pour the custard over the apples. Use a small knife to separate the slices so custard seeps into the crevices.

  8. Bake the pie until the custard is set, about 1 hour. Let cool completely on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.

To make ahead

Refrigerate dough (Steps 1-2) or up to 2 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Refrigerate pie for up to 1 day.


9-inch deep-dish pie pan, parchment paper, pie weights (or dried beans)

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

305 Calories
15g Fat
40g Carbs
4g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Serving Size 1 slice
Calories 305
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 40g 15%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 23g
Protein 4g 8%
Total Fat 15g 19%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 58mg 19%
Vitamin A 398IU 8%
Sodium 122mg 5%
Potassium 136mg 3%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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