An egg-free version thickened with cornstarch.
A recipe that used cornstarch for thickening but also incorporated an egg appeared in the 1983 compilation Favorite Dishes: A Columbian Autograph Souvenir Cookery Book:
From Mrs. M. R. Lee, of Mississippi, Lady Manager.
Put one half-pint milk and one half-cupful sugar in a frying pan and let it come to a boil; then dissolve one tablespoonful corn starch in a little milk reserved from the half pint. Add to it the beaten yolk of one egg, stir into the boiling milk, and when thickened and smooth, remove and add a little salt and lemon flavoring. Pour into a flaky crust that has been just baked, and frost with the white of one egg and one tablespoonful sugar; place in hot stove till a delicate brown.
[signature: M. R. Lee]
About “Lady Manager”–the book was assembled by women who worked on the Woman’s Building at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, meant to show what women’s lives were like and their contributions to society. The Board of Lady Managers determined the content of the Building, but also took on the project of increasing access to the Fair for the poor. Favorite Dishes was a fundraiser to accomplish that goal.
From the box of A.D. from Lutz, Florida, by way of Pennsylvania in the 1940s, and originating in Ohio in the 1920s.
1/2 scant cup of cornstarch thoroughly mixed with
1 cup sweet milk or cream
1/2 cup sugar
Flavor with lemon.
Bake in one crust.