This is a creamy Baked Pistachio Pie Recipe with cream cheese, eggs, milk, sugar, and of course, crunchy pistachios!
Not to be confused with a pistachio cream pie or pistachio pudding pie! This is a pistachio pie filling similar to my super creamy Pumpkin Pie that we have every Thanksgiving.
Custard vs Pudding
What's the difference between custard pie and pudding pie? Mainly the ingredients and preparation methods. This is a pistachio CUSTARD pie.
A custard pie is usually made with a base of eggs as a thickening agent, cream or milk, and a sweetener like sugar, then baked in this case. Custard is more firm than pudding, and holds it's shape longer unless thinned to make a sauce.
A pudding or cream pie is made with milk or cream, sugar, and starch as the thickening agent (like cornstarch). Many use pudding mix from a box. It can be cooked on the stovetop or be no-cook.
This pistachio custard pie has cream cheese in it, which makes it smooth, creamy, and delicious! Due to the salt in the pistachios, this recipe only has added salt in the pie crust.
- Pistachios - lightly salted, roasted
- Sugar - white granulated
- Cream Cheese - full fat preferred
- Milk - whole
- Vanilla & Almond extract
- Flour - all purpose
- Butter - salted, and COLD. Frozen works well as long as you can cut it into pieces.
- Ice water - for the pie crust. The colder the better!
We're starting with a crust that is similar to a pâte brisée, a french shortbread-style pastry dough. It breaks the butter into smaller pieces than normal pie crust, making a more crumbly dough that is still tender and flaky when baked. Since sugar is added, it is more like a pâte brisée sucrée.
Make the Pistachio Pie Crust
In a medium-sized bowl or in a food processor, combine the all-purpose flour, salt, and sugar. Add the cold butter and cut into the flour mixture using a sturdy fork or pastry blender.
If using a food processor, pulse for 15-30 seconds until the butter is in small pieces. Add in chopped pistachios.
I then start adding in the water while the butter is in pea-sized pieces, and it will continue to break apart into smaller pieces to resemble a coarse meal as water is added and the dough is pulsed.
Add in cold water a 1-2 Tablespoons at a time, and pulse or mix by hand to incorporate.
Once the mixture comes together into a ball or is able to be pinched together, immediately stop mixing. If the dough is dry and too crumbly, add water 1 Tablespoon at a time until a ball is able to be formed.
Flatten the dough into a disc shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.
Make the Pistachio Pie Filling
While the dough is chilling, make the ground pistachios by combining them in a blender with HALF of the sugar. This helps prevent caking as the nuts blend. Pulse until the pistachios are ground finely into small pieces. Set aside.
Start the filling by mixing together softened cream cheese and sugar either by hand or with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well in between.
Add in the almond and vanilla extracts, then the whole milk, and mix well. Add in the ground pistachio/sugar mixture last, and whisk until smooth.
Roll out the pie crust on a flat surface, sprinkling flour first to prevent the dough from sticking. Press into a 9-inch pie dish and crimp the edges.
Carefully pour the pistachio pie filling into the raw pie shell. Bake at 350 F for 45-55 minutes on a low oven shelf. The pie is finished when at least 3 inches of the filling is set, and the middle is still slightly jiggly; it finishes cooking as it cools.
Let cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours before slicing.
🍽 Serving & Storage
This pie is best served chilled since it is a custard pie, just like pumpkin pie.
Refrigerate covered for up to 3 days. Freezing is not recommended due to the dairy and eggs, it may change the texture of the pie once thawed and cause the crust to be soggy.
- Top with whipped cream
- Sprinkle some ground pistachios on top!
- Make a meringue topping for an elegant finish
✏️ Tips & Variations
- Be sure to use softened cream cheese; otherwise, the pie filling will be clumpy if cold is used.
- ALWAYS use cold butter when making pie crust! This is what gives it a flaky, tender texture when baked.
- Chill completely before slicing and serving, just like a pumpkin pie.
- Use eggnog in place of the milk in the pie filling for a fun holiday twist!
- Layer your favorite raspberry jam on the top of the pie once it's baked for a beautiful tart flavor.
Pistachio custard pie has become one of my favorite pie recipes for the holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas! The combination of the shortbread-style pistachio crust and the creamy pistachio pie filling makes for a unique pie recipe.
Pistachio Custard Pie
For the crust:
- 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 Tablespoons white granulated sugar
- 8 Tablespoons cold salted butter, cubed
- 6-8 Tablespoons ice water
- ¼ cup finely chopped pistachios
For the filling:
- 1 cup lightly salted roasted pistachios
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup whole milk
- whipped cream for topping.
For the crust:
- In a bowl (or food processor) combine flour, salt and 2 Tablespoons sugar. Add cold butter and cut into the flour mixture using a sturdy fork untl butter is in pea sized chunks. If using a food processor, pulse for about 30 seconds.
- Add in cold water a Tablespoon at a time, and mix the dough together just enough to form a ball. Careful not to overwork the dough. Shape the dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.
For the filling:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F°.
- In a blender or food processor, combine the pistachios and HALF a cup of white sugar to help prevent caking. Blend until pistachios are finely ground.
- In a bowl, mix together the other half cup of white sugar with the softened cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well in between each addition.
- Add in the vanilla and almond extracts and milk and whisk together. Add in ground pistachio mixture and whisk until smooth.
- Roll out the pie crust and transfer to a 9 inch pie dish, then crimp the edges as desired.
- Pour the pie filling into the crust. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the outer 3 inches of the pie is set. May still be jiggly in the middle, this is normal and the pie finishes cooking as it cools.
- Cool completely (at least 1-2 hours) and refrigerate 2-3 hours until cold. Serve cold with whipped cream and sprinkled chopped pistachios on top.
Made this for “Pi” day/first dating anniversary because my boyfriend LOVES pistachios. This is probably the best pie we’ve had in a long time! Shared with my parents and my dad kept saying “this is such a treat!” (And he’s very much a pie guy). I made mine with a homemade lemon zest whipped cream and it was fantastic! Thanks for sharing your recipe - I think this will be a keeper in our future pie baking 🙂
I’m so glad all of you enjoyed it! It’s one of my very favorites. The lemon zest whipped cream sounds absolutely amazing!