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Recipe: Crustless serviceberry custard pie (flaugnarde-inspired)

Recipe: Crustless serviceberry custard pie (flaugnarde-inspired) thumbnail
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This delicious serviceberry custard pie recipe is so simple to make, you can have it in the oven in 5 minutes. Our recipe is inspired by flaugnarde, a classic French fruit-based dessert.


Pie versus clafoutis versus flaugnarde

We’re not culinary purists, but we do think clear definitions and terminology matter so as to prevent confusion and clutched pearls. Thus, we’ll open this recipe article with a bit of explanation… 

What is a pie?

Pies can be sweet, savory, or anything in between. The primary filling or flavor isn’t what defines a pie. Rather, by definition, a true “pie” must have a crust. Whether that’s a bottom crust, top crust, or both is subject to debate.

However, “crustless pies” aka “impossible pies” are also becoming increasingly popular due to the fact that they’re easier to make and because some people avoid crust for dietary reasons (calorie reduction, gluten aversions, etc.). Purists might argue that crustless pies are not actually pies, and that may technically be true. 

If you want to picket or protest outside our home for calling this recipe a crustless serviceberry custard pie, please get in touch and we’ll provide our address and have a piece of crustless pie ready for your arrival. 

There is technically no crust on this pie, but when baked in a cast iron, the bottom and edges to have a consistency reminiscent of a pie crust due the way heat transfers from the pan into the ingredients.

There is technically no crust on this pie (so not a pie?), but when baked in a cast iron pan, the bottom and edges develop a consistency reminiscent of a pie crust due to the way heat transfers from the pan into the ingredients.

Clafoutis versus flaugnarde

We’ve loved clafoutis (pronounced: kla-foo-tee) ever since our friend Kirsten served it to us a decade ago. A clafoutis is a baked, custard-like dish of French origin made with fresh cherries. Typically, they’re NOT very sweet and can even be eaten as breakfast rather than as a dessert. 

By definition, it’s not the sweetness or lack thereof that defines a clafoutis, it’s the presence of cherries. If you try to use a different fruit and call it clafoutis, any law-abiding Parisian will call the police. That’s because your non-cherry baked fruit custard is technically a flaugnarde (pronounced: floon-yarde).

This distinction means it’s technically impossible to make a serviceberry clafoutis, but you can make a serviceberry flaugnarde. 

Why we’re calling this recipe a crustless serviceberry custard pie, not a flaugnarde

We’ve eaten and cooked with an obscene amount of serviceberries this year, including multiple tries at making the perfect serviceberry flaugnarde.

While serviceberries are a delicious fruit that taste like a cross between peaches, blueberries, and almonds, they’re not very intensely flavored. This means it’s hard to get their flavor to really shine through in a flaugnarde (especially when using King Arthur white whole wheat flour, our preferred baking flour). And since traditional flaugnardes aren’t very sweet, this means a standard serviceberry flaugnarde isn’t terribly exciting, culinarily.     

Our primary recipe (in the recipe card at the bottom of this article) is decidedly sweeter and more dessert-like than a classic flaugnarde. Thus why we call it crustless serviceberry custard pie

Crustless serviceberry custard pie (sweet flaugnarde) being served.

Two recipe versions for you to choose from: sweet or classic

Below the primary recipe, we also include a second, less sweet version that’s made with King Arthur white whole wheat flour and less sugar. This version is much more akin to a classic flaugnarde; less dessert-like. You could serve it warm or cold for breakfast with some maple syrup to boost the sweetness. Or eat it as-is with lunch or brunch. 

Given serviceberries’ delicate flavors, we found that both recipe versions are best after they’ve had a chance to sit for a day in the fridge prior to serving. This allows the flavors time to develop and come together a bit more.  

Should you serve your serviceberry custard pie warm or cold? We don’t have a strong preference either way, so you decide which way you like it.    

A few process photos and notes to help

Here are a few important details and photos to help you get this recipe just right: 

This recipe is stupid-simple and you can have it in the oven in 5 minutes or less. A couple of important notes here: note how well-buttered the cast iron pan is before any ingredients are added. Also, if your cast iron pan is not well-seasoned, your pie will taste like iron. So either make sure you have a well-seasoned cast iron or use an alternative baking dish like a glass or ceramic pie dish. These will cook slightly differently than a cast iron though, and may affect bake times.

This recipe is stupid-simple and you can have it in the oven in 5 minutes or less. A couple of important notes here: notice how well-buttered the cast iron pan is before any ingredients are added, which prevents things from sticking. Also, if your cast iron pan is not well-seasoned, your pie will taste like iron. So either make sure you have a well-seasoned cast iron or use an alternative baking dish like a glass or ceramic pie dish. Alternative types of bakeware will cook slightly differently than a cast iron pan, and may affect bake times.

This is what your crustless serviceberry custard pie will look like when it's just pulled out of the oven and still scorching hot.

This is what your crustless serviceberry custard pie will look like when it’s just pulled out of the oven and still scorching hot.

As it cools, the pie will shrink and pull away from the edges of the buttered pan.

Note that as it cools, the pie will shrink and pull away from the edges of the buttered pan.

Recipe: Crustless serviceberry custard pie with a dash of sweet-fermented rose petal powder for garnish.

Before serving, add a dash of powdered sugar to the surface. Or if you’re up for something different, use our sweet-fermented rose petal powder for garnish (pictured above). Learn how to make rose flower cordial and rose powder.

Now you’re ready to get baking! 

Recipe version 1: Crustless serviceberry custard pie 

Recipe: crustless serviceberry custard pie.
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Crustless serviceberry custard pie (flaugnarde-inspired)

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, French
Keyword: crustless pie, serviceberry custard pie, serviceberry dessert, serviceberry flaugnarde, serviceberry pie
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 37 minutes
Servings: 8 small pieces (or 6 large pieces)
Author: Aaron von Frank

A sweet custard pie featuring serviceberries (aka saskatoons or juneberries). This easy-to-make recipe can be prepped and in the oven in 5 minutes or less!

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups fresh or frozen serviceberries, about 8 ounces  (you can use blueberries as substitute, but they're more watery)
  • 1/2 cup organic all-purpose flour, 62gm
  • 1/2 cup whole organic buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup organic half & half (or cream)
  • 3 duck eggs (or large chicken eggs)
  • 1/2 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp organic orange zest (we used blood orange)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • butter - enough to generously coat cast iron pan or baking dish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).

  2. Generously butter a baking dish. We recommend using a 9" cast iron pan. Alternative: use a deep 9" ceramic or glass pie pan. Place serviceberries into buttered baking pan/dish.

  3. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside. Put buttermilk, half & half (or cream), eggs, sugar, orange zest, and vanilla extract into blender and blend for 30 seconds until combined. Add flour mixture to blender and blend for another 30 seconds. Using spatula, scrape any remaining dry ingredients from side of blender and blend again. Slowly pour batter over serviceberries in baking dish.

  4. Bake in pre-heated 350°F oven on middle oven rack for about *35-45 minutes or until surface lightly browned. The center will still be a bit jiggly when done. *Every oven cooks differently and the type of baking dish/pan you use will also affect cook time. Another thing that can affect bake time is whether you're using cold or room temp serviceberries - ours are cold out of the fridge.

  5. Place pie on cooling rack until room temp. Our recommendation is to then keep the pie in the fridge (don't remove from pan) for 12-24 hours to let flavors further develop prior to serving. Serve warm or cold. To warm: stick a covered piece in microwave for ~20 seconds.

    Optional: dust pie with powdered sugar or other decorative topping before cutting and serving. We used sweet-fermented rose petals dehydrated and pulverized in a spice grinder (link to recipe/instructions in article).  

Recipe version 2: Serviceberry flaugnarde

Want a less sweet, whole wheat version of this serviceberry recipe that’s more akin to a traditional flaugnarde?

Ingredients: 

  • 1.5 cups fresh or frozen serviceberries (use blueberries as substitute)
  • 1/2 cup King Arthur organic white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 duck eggs (or large chicken eggs)
  • 1/3 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp organic orange zest (we used blood orange)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • butter to coat baking dish

Instructions: Follow the same prep and baking instructions in the recipe card. 

KIGI,
Tyrantfarms

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