This year, I took on the challenge, and used recipes from Food52 and the Food Network for maple pudding and a Taste of Home recipe for Maple Cream Pie that was actually a cream pie. And it turns out I really liked it. I might make some modifications to make it a bit firmer, but it really scratched my itch, and as expected I think I prefer it to a custard pie. (I'm unabashedly low brow about that).
1 3/4 c whole milk
1 c grade B maple syrup (divided)
1 c heavy cream (divided)
1/2 t salt
1/4 c cornstarch
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
3 T butter
sliced almonds, toasted
Blind bake a crust. (I suppose some would be tempted to put this in a graham cracker crust, or other sweet crust, but that makes me sad. I love the contrast of a sweet filling in a buttery, unsweetened crust).
Combine cornstarch and salt in a large saucepan. Stir in 1/2 c milk until smooth. Gradually stir in remaining milk and 3/4 c maple syrup. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat. Stir a small amount of the hot filling into egg yolks; return all to pan. Keep stirring. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat and gently stir in butter. Cool to room temperature.
At this point I chilled it overnight. It was quite firm and tasted delicious.
I based the method on the Taste of Home recipe, and what I think it intends you to do at this point is to beat the cup of cream, and add 1 c of the whipped cream to the filling. Then you sweeten the rest with the remaining 1/4 c maple syrup and spread it on top, and garnish with the toasted almonds.
Because we have a lot of pies around Thanksgiving, I didn't want to crown the whole pie with whipped cream-- instead, individuals can put whipped cream on as they please. So I put the almonds right on the pudding's surface. And since I was additionally confused about the method, I folded the whole 1 c of heavy of cream (whipped to a greater volume) into the pudding. In the future, I would only fold in 1 c of whipped cream, and would fold it into room temperature pudding rather than chilled pudding. Because it was chilled, it was too stiff to fold in well, so I had to whisk it at first and then fold in the rest, which loosened it too much. (In addition, the too-much-whipped-cream loosened it further). It wasn't too soupy, but I wanted it firmer.