Marlborough Pudding (Holiday Apple & Custard Pie)

Red Apple

Red Apple

by Cat, Nov 2013 (photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

See also: Apple Pudding (Pie)Apple Info (About) to help you select the right apple variety for the puree.

We all have our Thanksgiving dinner traditions – like pumpkin pie – but sometimes it’s fun to shake it up a bit and try something new. You may start a new tradition this way.

One very old tradition that has been lost on most modern Thanksgiving tables is Marlborough Pudding (Pie), and I’ve decided to give this a try this year after reading about it in our local paper.

Marlborough Pudding

This recipe is adapted from a version in the 11/20/13 issue of the Daily Inter Lake newspaper (originally from the Old Sturbridge Village Cookbook (1)) and a related version in The Courant (2). Very Early American, perfect for celebrating Thanksgiving. I have modified it to use stevia as the sweetener (but provide the sugar equivalent).

Makes one 8″ deep dish pudding, with or without the pastry.

The original calls for stewed apples, which usually means stewed with added sugar and spices like cinnamon. But since sugar and nutmeg are added to the custard, I don’t think additional sweetening is needed in the stewed apples. A version of the same recipe in The Courant (2) indicates stewed apples or unsweetened applesauce, which means no sugar added to the apples, but possibly some cinnamon – testing will determine this.

The original also calls for 2 tsp ground nutmeg, which is a lot. The Courant version indicates cutting it to 1/3 tsp, which sounds better to me.

Some recipes grate the apple instead of stewing and pureeing it, but I like the idea of using stewed apples for a smoother texture.

The finished dessert will resemble a pale pumpkin pie, but the flavor will be distinctly different.

Food Mill (Moulinette)

Food Mill (Moulinette)

Ingredients & Equipment

Stewed & pureed apples

  • 2 apples (to make 3/4 cup of stewed, pureed apple)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup filtered water


  • 6 Tbsp real butter
  • 1 Organic lemon (for juice and zest)
  • 3/4 cup sherry
  • 1/2 cup raw heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp stevia extract powder (or 3/4 cup Rapadura sugar)
  • 4 fresh eggs
  • 1/3 – 2 tsp ground nutmeg, to taste
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry, or homemade pie crust (optional)
  • small pan
  • 2- or 3-quart saucepan
  • food mill or blender
  • 2 medium mixing bowls
  • 8″ deep dish or casserole
Food Mill (Moulinette)

Food Mill (Moulinette)


Stewed & pureed apples:

  1. If you plan to use a food mill to puree the apples, you do not need to peel or core them; if you plan to use a blender, core them, but you may wish to leave the peel on. Cut apples into wedges (as for a pie), and place in larger saucepan. NOTE: if not going to stew right away, cover them with water to which vinegar or lemon juice has been added (this is not the lemon juice in the recipe). When ready to stew, transfer them to the saucepan.
  2. Add 1/4 cup water and cook at a slow simmer, stirring occasionally, until very tender, 20 minutes or more. Add more water as needed to keep from sticking.
  3. Remove from heat and puree with food mill, or in a blender (in batches) (food mill photo, above, from Wikimedia Commons).
  4. Pour the puree into the medium mixing bowl.


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (f using a crust that contains sugar, preheat to 350°F; or if not using a crust, to 325°F).
  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in small pan; cool.
  3. Grate zest from half the lemon, then squeeze the juice from the entire lemon (remove the seeds) and add the zest. If using stevia, stir it into the juice.
  4. Add sherry, cream, and lemon juice. Add sugar, if using. Mix well.
  5. Add cooled butter and mix well again.
  6. Beat eggs in another bowl until well blended, then mix into apple mixture. Stir in nutmeg.
  7. Line the deep dish with the puff pastry or pie crust. Spoon in the apple mixture. See below for method if not using a crust; otherwise, continue.

Baking instructions if using a crust with no sugar:

  • Place in preheated 400°F oven and bake 15 minutes. Reduce to 350°F and bake about 45 minutes more, until the custard tests done to a knife test (insert clean knife into center of the custard, then remove. If it comes out clean, it is ready). Remove and place on a rack to cool before serving.

Baking instructions if using a crust containing sugar:

  • Place in preheated 350°F oven and bake about 1 hour, until the custard tests done to a knife test (see above).

Baking instructions if not using a crust:

  1. Butter baking dish, then pour the apple mixture into baking dish.
  2. Set the baking dish in a baking pan and add water to fill 1/2″ deep, or almost halfway up the apple dish.
  3. Bake in preheated 325°F oven about 50 minutes, until the custard tests done to a knife test (see above).


  1. Old Sturbridge Village: Marlborough Pudding (
  2. The Courant (; recipe on page 2)

About Cat

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