This rich, creamy, and, I have to say it, decadent, Classic Sugar Cream Pie recipe is a Hoosier classic.
Growing up in Indiana I ate my fair share of Sugar Cream Pie, most of the pies were from the Wick's Pie Company in Winchester, Indiana. When I moved to California I went searching for this pie and soon realized there were none to be had. Really, no pie!
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No one in California had heard of a Sugar Cream Pie, and I asked a lot of people. Just wondering have you heard of this pie? I kept looking but soon realized I was going to have to make my own.
Even though I made lots of pies I had only made a few sugar pies, after all, I would just buy the Wick's Pie. The search for the perfect recipe started to consume me and soon I had a stack. Now, I had to figure out which one would yield that perfect pie similar to Wick's pie. Over a weeks' time, I made eight pies. This recipe was my favorite, and over the years I keep coming back to this one.
What is a Sugar Cream Pie?
This Old Fashioned Sugar Cream Pie, also known as Sugar Pie, or Indiana Sweet Cream Pie is also the official pie of Indiana. Who knew each state has an official pie, and if you are interested here is a great list of state pies.
No one knows the exact origin and history of this pie. Most history states this pie originated with the Amish and Shakers in the 1800s but recipes have been found that predates the Amish community in Indiana and there are many similar recipes to this pie in various parts of the country such as buttermilk pie or chess pie. For an in-depth article about this pie read The History of Sugar Cream Pie.
A sugar cream pie uses simple ingredients that most families had on hand like flour, cream, sugar, butter, and nutmeg. One thing you will notice with most of the pie recipes is there are no eggs in the ingredients since this is not a custard pie and is thickened with either flour or cornstarch.
Once baked you will end up with a sweet, creamy, and firm-textured filling, with hints of nutmeg in each bite. It's heavenly when eaten warm.
Let's bake a pie
Step 1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. You will need an 8" or 9' cream pie plate and pie dough to fit the plate. Make this easy pie crust recipe, or you can use a premade pie crust. Place the pie plate on a baking sheet so you can easily transfer the cream-filled pie to the oven and to catch any drips.
Step 2. Dot the bottom of the crust with pieces of room temperature butter.
Step 3. Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell over the butter and transfer the baking sheet to the oven. Bake the pie for 10 minutes then lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. for about one hour. Cover the crust if it is getting too brown. I like to use this pie crust shield, it's so easy to place over the outside of the crust to keep it from over-browning.
The pie is done when the filling a bit bubbly in the center and the sides look set. The pie will still be somewhat loose but will firm up when cooled.
Step 4. This pie is delicious eaten chilled, at room temperature, or warm it up in the microwave. Keep any leftovers in the fridge for several days.
Tips and FAQ's
Do you need to chill the baked pie -
Yes, keep it covered in the fridge for several days.
Can you freeze a Sugar Cream Pie?
I never have, but that is how you buy a Wick's Pie. They are baked and sold frozen. All you have to do and let it thaw.
Can I put cinnamon on top instead of nutmeg?
Yes, and many recipes just put cinnamon on top or a mixture of cinnamon and nutmeg. I have had this pie without a topping on top. It's up to you. I just happen to love nutmeg.
What is the difference with other Sugar Cream Pie Recipes?
- Some recipes use cornstarch instead of flour for thickening. Just personal preference, I think the flour tastes more like Wick's pie version.
- Some recipes thicken the cream filling on the stove and then bake it for less time as opposed to adding the cold filling to the pie shell which requires longer baking.
- Some recipes use a prebaked pie shell and others use an unbaked pie shell. If you are baking a pre-thicken filling that requires less baking time, go with the prebaked or totally baked pie crust.
Is a Sugar Cream pie the same thing as a Custard Pie, Chess Pie, or Shoefly pie?
Nope, all are different recipes but have a lot of similarities. They are all considered, easy pies, using simply pantry staples and are called "pantry pies."
What is a Finger Pie?
There is an old-fashioned method of making this pie and it's called a Finger Pie. With this method, you place the flour and sugar in an unbaked pie shell and mix this together. Next pour in the cream and vanilla and just mix that with your fingers, then bake the pie.
What type of pie pan is needed for a cream pie?
Cream pies are usually not considered a deep-dish pie so it's best to use an 8" or 9" simple pie plate or a cream pie plate, such as this Pyrex 9 inch pie plate, it's just the old-fashioned clear plate. Otherwise, if you use a deep dish plate there will be a lot of the pie shell that is not covered with the filling.
More pie recipes
Another classic Indiana pie is this homemade Butterscotch Meringue Pie recipe straight from grandma's kitchen.
Do you ever have leftover pie dough, try these Jelly Roll Pie Tarts that are a perfect way to use up those scraps of dough. Honestly, I just make pie dough just to make these tarts.
Here's a twist on an old-fashioned classic, Bourbon Pecan Pie. Yes, it is DELICIOUS!!!
For the cake lovers and the pie lovers, this Lemon Cake Pie solves the dilemma of which one to make.
Old Fashioned Sugar Cream Pie
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- Preheat the oven to 425° F.
- Prepare the pie dough by rolling it out in fitting it into an 8" or 9" pie pan. Since this is a cream pie do not use a deep-dish pie plate for this recipe Place the pie plate on a baking sheet, this will make it easier to transfer the pie to the oven, and catch any spills.
- In a medium-sized bowl whisk the cream, sugar flour, and vanilla until the mixture is smooth.
- Dot the bottom of the pie shell with room temperature butter then pour the cream mixture into the pie shell. Sprinkle the nutmeg over the top of the pie.
- Bake for 10 minutes. then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for about one hour. If the crust is getting too brown cover it with a pie shield. The pie will be a bit bubbly in the middle and set on the sides when done. As the pie sets it will firm up.
- This pie will keep for several days in the refrigerator.
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From learning to cook on a farm in Indiana to culinary school in California, my passion for food is never-ending. Turning on my oven to bake something for friends and family is my happy place, and I am glad to be here at One Hot Oven sharing both sweet and savory recipes with all my baking friends.