Apple-Custard Marlborough Pie

Marlborough Pie

I’ve read that this  Apple-Custard Marlborough Pie was named after Marlborough Street in Boston, others claim it was christened after the city of Marlborough (also in MA) or simply for someone named Marlborough; no one is certain which. However, the earliest versions were certainly made using ingredients that are typically English: apples, cream and butter. By the early 18th century, which is when Marlborough Pie began appearing in cookbooks, the recipe began to call for exotic ingredients like, Asian nutmeg, Mediterranean lemons, and Spanish sherry.



Apple-Custard Marlborough Pie 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 8Published
Marlborough Pie


  • raw pie pastry (enough to line one 9‑inch pie pan)
  • 2 pound apples (peeled)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 pinch ground cinnamon


Set oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 400ºF.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 12-inch circle, about ⅛‑inch thick. Carefully transfer the dough to a pie plate and gently press it up the sides. Drape any excess crust over the edge, then fold under and crimp decoratively. Use a fork to prick holes in the bottom of the dough. Line the dough with parchment or foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 8 minutes. Carefully remove the weights and parchment or foil, then continue baking for another 5 minutes, or until the crust is dry and pale colored. Remove from the oven and set aside on a rimmed baking sheet to cool. Lower the oven temperature to 350ºF.

Meanwhile, using the medium holes on a box grater (or other hand-held grater) set in a large bowl, coarsely grate the apples down to the core. Sprinkle the apples with sugar, lemon juice, and sherry. Discard cores.

In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter, then add the grated apples with their liquid, and cook, stirring, until the liquid begins to boil. Reduce the heat to low, then continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and most of the liquid has evaporated; 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool at least 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, cream, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Stir in the cooled apples until well-mixed. Pour the custard into the partially-baked pie shell.

Transfer the pie, on its baking sheet, to the 350ºF oven. Bake until the custard is barely set and a little puffy, but not yet browned; about 35 minutes. Serve at room temperature or chilled.