Indulge in a slice of culinary charm with the sweetest treat to ever come out of Indiana - the Sugar Cream Pie. With a rich and creamy filling, and a buttery, flaky crust, this dessert has become a beloved staple of Midwest cuisine. But where did this delicious pie originate from and how did it become so popular? As an aside, pork tenderloin seems to be the other Indiana mainstay, but we'll tackle that topic another day!
Join us on a journey through time as we explore the fascinating history and recipe of the Sugar Cream Pie. From its humble beginnings as a simple, frugal dessert made by Indiana pioneers, to its rise in popularity during the 20th century, this pie has certainly come a long way. And with its deliciously sweet and comforting taste, it's no wonder that it continues to be a favorite among dessert lovers everywhere. So, get ready to satisfy your sweet tooth and discover the secrets behind the Sugar Cream Pie!
🥧 The Amish and Sugar Cream Pie
Sugar Cream Pie has been one of the most popular pie recipes in the history of the Amish Cook column. It's a creamy, delicious, and easy pie to make. If you have not tried sugar cream pie, this is a must try!
Every state has their culinary specialties,whether that is lobster in Maine, potatoes in Idaho, or citrus in Florida. For the state of Indiana, it's sugar cream pie. This sweet confection in a crust seems to be something that was born in the hardscrabble, thrifty, sensibility of this Midwestern state. Attempts have been made to make sugar cream pie the official "state pie" of Indiana. Those attempts have fallen flat, so the pie is the "unofficial" pie of Indiana, so much so that some people call sugar cream pie "Hoosier Pie" or "Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie."
The sugar cream recipe probably has its roots in the Great Depression when simple sweets were in demand, but money for rich chocolates and expensive desserts was in short supply. Or the roots could be earlier when Indiana was sparse frontier country and people had to make do with what little they had.
The origins of the pie were like not Amish, but the Amish have adopted sugar cream pie as one of their favorites. The handful of easily accessible ingredients have made sugar cream pie an Amish favorite.
There are numerous variations on this pie recipe, but they all are similar. There are no eggs in the pie, so it doesn't have custard qualities. Below is a common version given to me by an Amish family in Indiana. While you do find sugar cream pies in Amish kitchens throughout the Midwest, it seems that they are most popular in Indiana Amish homes.
The recipe seems to have deep roots in the Hoosier state, especially among the Swiss Amish of the Berne area.
Mmmm, I'd love to just knock on doors in the Berne, Indiana area sampling the various sugar cream pies found in Amish kitchens. I am sure somewhere in Adams County, Indiana one would find the perfect of the perfect sugar cream pie.
📜 Step-by-Step Sugar Cream Pie
- Use a good quality pie crust. A flaky, buttery crust is essential for a delicious pie.
- Don't overcook the filling. The filling should be thick and creamy, but not too thick.
- Let the pie cool completely before serving. This will help the filling set and prevent it from being runny.
- Serve with whipped cream or ice cream for a delicious dessert.
Here are some additional tips:
- Use heavy cream for the best flavor and texture.
- Add a pinch of salt to the filling to enhance the flavor.
- If you like, you can add a few drops of almond extract to the filling.
- Sprinkle the top of the pie with cinnamon sugar before serving.
With these tips, you'll be sure to make a perfect sugar cream pie that everyone will love!
Here are some common mistakes to avoid when making sugar cream pie:
- Using a pre-made crust. A pre-made crust can be convenient, but it won't be as flaky or flavorful as a homemade crust.
- Overcooking the filling. The filling should be thick and creamy, but not too thick. Make sure you are frequently stirring the mixture in the saucepan.
- Not letting the pie cool completely before serving. This will help the filling set and prevent it from being runny.
- Serving the pie without whipped cream or ice cream. Whipped cream or ice cream is the perfect accompaniment to sugar cream pie. I like to eat the pie out of a large bowl or dish to accomodate the ice cream and or whipped cream!
What makes this sugar cream pie recipe a little different than other recipes is that it is essentially a no-bake sugar cream pie. This pie doesn't spent any time in the oven (except for the crust). When I first saw this recipe, I cross-checked it with many others out there and thought for sure there might be an error in the instructions. But this recipe works. The filling is cooked. You just have to pre-baked your pie crust and you're good!
This pie does not require much prep time and you'll spend not much (30 mins maybe) total time on this recipe. Any leftover pie can be covered in plastic wrap and stuck in the fridge for up to a week.
🙋 Sugar Cream Pie FAQ
It is likely the recipe was brought into the state by westward travelers, perhaps Quakers. But the pie quickly found a home among frugal and hardscrabble Hoosiers.
Some versions do, but "sugar cream pie purists" and the oldest recipes do not contain eggs.
A true, traditional sugar cream pie does not have a lot of "extras" in keeping with its roots as a "desperation pie" that people made when they only had a few ingredients on hand. The vanilla extract adds flavor. But, yes, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice are all flavorful additions.
Blashpemy! A true sugar cream pie takes whole milk. But, yes, skim milk or 2 percent can be used. However, it is important to note that the pie may not be as rich or creamy as if you used whole milk. You may also need to add a little bit more cornstarch to the filling to help it thicken.
Yes, cream can be used instead of whole milk in sugar cream pie. Cream will give the pie a richer flavor and a creamier texture. However, it is important to note that cream will also make the pie higher in fat and calories (which makes it even tastier!)
A 9-inch pie plate works best. Any leftover pie dough can be repurposed for a smaller pie for any leftover filling.
🖨️ Full Recipe
Amish Sugar Cream Pie
- 3 /4 cup sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 /2 cup butter
- 2 ¼ cup whole milk
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Bake pie crust at 400 until golden and done.
- Cook together sugar, milk, and cornstarch over medium heat. Constantly stir using a whisk or wooden spoon.
- When thickened, add butter and vanilla.
- Pour into a baked pie shell
- Sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Chill until set, usually overnight.