Amish Sour Milk Pie is in a food genre known as "desperation recipes." The Amish, especially in the 20th century, were very frugal and often in tight economic straits.
Against this backdrop Amish cooks and bakers learned to be inventive and created confections out of a nearlybare pantry (pies like Tears On Your Pillow Pie) is from this same tradition. This sour milk pie comes from that long tradition. While the name may be a little off-putting to some, don't let it scare you off.
Milk Pies Across Cultures
Because of milk is usually readily available, relatively easy to work with, and easily sweetened, many culinary cultures have their own versions of milk pies. Here are some examples:
- Greek milk pie: This version of milk pie is made with semolina flour and is flavored with lemon zest.
- Italian milk pie: This version of milk pie is made with ricotta cheese and is flavored with vanilla extract.
- Indonesian milk pie: This version of milk pie is made with a shortcrust pastry and is filled with a custard made with condensed milk.
- Milk Bar pie: This version of milk pie is made with a oat cookie crust and is filled with a custard made with milk powder, cornstarch, and butter.
📜 Tips For Perfect Milk Pie
Milk Pie is easy to make and tough to screw up. But here are some tips to make your pie the best it can be:
- Use Our Delicious Pat-A-Pan Pie Crust!
- Make sure you are using the freshest eggs possible. Kind of an elementary suggestion, but most Amish would use fresh, hen-house eggs. Also use large eggs if you can.
- Don't overbake to avoid the cracking that appears in this photo.
- Let the pie cool and set before slicing and eating, a good hour at least. Better yet, stick in the fridge.
- If you can't stick in the fridge, let it cool on a wire rack.
And, of course, there is the Amish version of milk pie which is flavored with molasses.
🥛 Making Your Own Sour Milk
This pie can be made using as little as five ingredients, depending on whether you have "sour milk" on hand or you have to make your own. Many Amish will have fresh milk that sours and thickens quickly and that milk is amazing to use in recipes like sour milk cake.
Sour milk is a staple on most Amish farms. Ones without any sort of refrigeration will have fresh milk each morning that turns sour by sunset. But most non-Amish don't have thick, sour milk on hand, so you can make it yourself by adding vinegar. Here are the instructions for making your own sour milk:
To make ‘thick sour milk’, measure out 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar per cup of whole milk. Pour lemon juice or vinegar into a large measuring cup, then pour in milk. Stir well, and let the mixture set for at least 5 minutes to thicken. Set dish aside.
If you don't have sour milk you could use sour cream, I mean it wouldn't have quite the same texture and creaminess that the sour milk would, but it would be close.
One of our readers, Anita, made this pie and here is what she reported:
I thought at first that this pie would be rather sweet, but the carmel-y flavor of the molasses balances the flavors beautifully! The molasses adds a richness to the pie that is quite pleasant. The pie is light and airy in texture, and doesn’t weigh you down.
I served the pie with a dollop of freshly whipped cream, and it was delicious! Definitely unique, but pleasant. I would prepare and eat this pie again. It’s a different flavor, but not at all unpleasant. As pies go, this one is a solid 4 out of 5. Give it a try! You won’t regret it!
📋 Step-by-Step Milk Pie
The ingredients in a milk pie are very basic.
I like to make this pie with a big bowl to mix all the ingredients. When you are mixing the pie filling you can add some additional ingredients to your taste if you want to. Suggestions of what you could add would: a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, a squirt or two of chocolate syrup, or a pinch of salt. You don't need to break out the stand mixer for this pie filling, a wooden spoon will do just fine. Or a whisk or fork since it is pretty liquidy. Use a spoon or spatula to scrape out every last bit.
Have your unbaked pie crust ready, you can use a 9-inch pie plate or cake pan.
Put a cookie sheet under the pie with some parchment paper or foil on the cookie sheet, that way if the filling does bubble over, you won't have a mess to clean up.
This kind of resembles like a molasses custard pie. It's very creamy.
Let the pie cool at room temperature. If you have leftovers, just store in a sealed container and it'll easily keep for a few days. It might even taste better a day or two after you make it.
I like this pie because it is so easy, I mean the total time to prepare the pie filling is just a few minutes. And you can eat small portions and still feel like you've had a great dessert!
🥧 More Amish Pie Recipes
🖨️ Full Recipe
Amish Sour Milk Pie
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup molasses
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3 cups thick sour milk
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice or white vinegar
- 2 (9-inch) unbaked pie shells
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F
- .Beat eggs.
- Add molasses.
- Combine sugar, flour and baking soda and add to egg mixture.
- Add thick milk. Pour into unbaked pie shells.
- Bake for 10 minutes; then reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F and bake for 40 to 45 minutes.
- Sprinkle top of pie with cinnamon, if desired.