Fiji style custard pie is a part of the Fijian lifestyle. Fiji has a rich history and a key part of the culture has been the European visitors to the country since the 17th century. Europeans have brought with them a great number of things since Fiji became a Commonwealth nation in the late 1800s. A core of the wealth of things European settlers brought into the country was the food. Pastries, cakes, roasts and pies are now essential family meals found in every Fijian home.
A must have dessert for our beloved island people is the Fijian or Fiji style custard pie. At any Fijian event, there has to be a tray or two of custard pie, sometimes topped with delicious condensed milk or cream and peanuts. In Fiji, people bake this dessert often and enjoy it with tea, or just as an afternoon snack on a lazy Sunday. It is also very popular during festivities such as Easter and Christmas and even at weddings, birthday parties and hangouts.
There are two ways to make this recipe, with a biscuit base or with a baked base. I prefer the baked version as it is much more true to the island flavour. But, I sometimes make the biscuit base recipe when I find time is limited. There is also the island style pineapple pie which is similar to this recipe but adds crushed pineapples to the custard as the topping. It is also extremely delicious. You can experiment with different flavours as toppings, there are no right and wrongs, it’s all about flavour.
One thing I have struggled with when baking the crust of the custard pie is that it can be either too thick or too tough. The trick to getting it right is to make the base slightly soft, it is afterall, a pastry. Over kneading the base can also make it tough – mix the ingredients, and knead slightly to combine but do not overwork the dough.
My recipe is a little different as I have used a ramekin to bake mini pies into but you can use a large aluminum or baking tray. Using a large tray is often better if you are making it for a lot of people as you can cut them into smaller sizes. I used ramekins to experiment with the shape of pies and also because it was a little easier to serve – it turned out better than I expected.
125g Softened Butter
1 ½ Cups Self Raising Flour
½ Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Cup Sugar
2 Cups Milk
Yellow Food Colouring (Optional)
- Toppings (Optional)
Condensed Milk / Whipped Cream
- Cream ½ cup sugar and butter, add the eggs and vanilla and combine
- Then add flour and knead gently into a dough
- Grease a small baking dish, aluminium tray or ramekins with butter and spread the dough onto the tray. Spread the dough up to the sides and distribute evenly
- Make small holes with a fork on the pastry and bake till golden and cooked through at 180-200 degrees in the oven (should take roughly 20-25 minutes)
- While the pastry is baking, prepare the custard filling by following the instructions on the packet to make at least 2 cups of custard with the milk and remaining sugar – add yellow food colouring if desired and let cool
- Once pastry is done, cool then pour the custard on top
- Top with whipped cream, condensed milk, peanuts or sliced fruit (peaches or mangoes go great with it)
- Refrigerate overnight and serve chilled.