Sugar Cream Pie is filled with a gloriously thick, creamy, vanilla custard, sprinkled with a dusting of cinnamon, and made with a handful of simple ingredients and easy steps.
There are many ways to make an old fashioned Sugar Cream Pie recipe, but this is the absolute best, no-fail version!
Just ponder the name of this pie recipe. Are you kidding me?! How can this not be the best thing you ever ate based on the TITLE ALONE.
This recipe falls handedly in the simpler-is-better category. There’s not much too it, but sweet baby Jesus, is it good. You know why it’s so good? Because there’s sugar, and cream, and pie. Duh.
What is Sugar Cream Pie?
Sugar Cream Pie is also known as Hoosier Pie because of its popularity in Indiana. Evidently the state legislature thought it was kind of a big deal too, so Indiana Sugar Cream Pie became the official state pie in 2009.
Being a Hoosier myself, I’m absolutely certain the Indiana legislature had no bigger fish to fry than deciding on the best pie to represent their state (*cough, cough* education, non-discrimination laws). Like I said, this pie is a BIG DEAL.
Sugar Cream Pie is also referred to as a “desperation pie.” Back in the day, when farmers ran out of apples or fruit, they could still make this pie.
So apparently the best time to make this pie is ALWAYS. I’m down with that.
Why is This the Best Version?
I know from first-hand experience all sugar cream pie recipes aren’t created equal because I’ve tested a lot of them out (perks of the job).
There are a few methods for making this pie. The easiest way would be mixing the all ingredients, pouring it into an unbaked crust, and letting it bake completely in the oven. Problem was it took forever to bake and there was a lot of uncertainty about when it was actually ready to be pulled out of the oven.
I don’t have the patience and there’s enough uncertainty in the world.
Next, the custard can be cooked completely on the stove and poured into a baked pie crust. However, the custard didn’t consistently set and the flavor isn’t quite as developed as with baking the custard.
Which brings me to why this version is the best. The custard partially cooks on the stove and finishes in the oven for a reasonable amount of time (that won’t cause unwarranted stress).
Do You Have to Refrigerate Custard Pie?
Yes, but not immediately. After the pie bakes let it cool completely on a wire rack, and then move it to the refrigerator.
Refrigerating cream or custard pies has two benefits. First of all, it keeps it safe to eat since the pies contain cream and eggs. Secondly, cooling the custard down helps to set and thicken it so you don’t have a liquidy pie!
Can I Freeze Sugar Cream Pie?
Unfortunately, no. Custard pies, such as this or pumpkin, can produce a soggy crust when thawed. The cooked custard makes tiny water pockets and when it thaws that excess moisture will seep into the crust.
But, have you missed the name of the pie?! If you can’t take this thing down in one fell swoop, I will gladly take over.
How To Make Easy Sugar Cream Pie
- Fit pie crust into a pie plate to partially bake the shell first. For this recipe I used my favorite gluten free pie crust recipe, but any recipe may be used. To make sure the crust holds its shape while baking, line bottom of crust with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights before baking.
- While the pie crust is baking, begin to make the filling. Whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, and cornstarch in a saucepan. Add half and half and whisk to combine.
- Bring the cream mixture to a boil over medium heat to thicken.
- Remove from the heat and add cubed butter and vanilla.
- Pour into a partially baked pie crust and finish baking in the the oven until golden brown.
- Allow the pie to cool completely and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.
See, I told you it was easy. In no time at all you can be sinking your teeth into this bad boy. 👇
How to Partially Bake Pie Crust
Since the custard first cooks on the stove it doesn’t need as long in the oven to set. In order to make sure the filling and crust are done at the same time, the crust is partially baked first.
When baking a pie crust without filling, also known as blind baking, the shell needs to have something to hold it down so it doesn’t puff up or slide down the pie plate.
To do this, first line the bottom of the crust with a piece of foil or cut-to-size parchment paper. Fill with dried beans or pie weights and bake at 425ºF for 15 minutes.
Remove the weights and bake for 5-10 minutes longer, or until the crust starts to brown. The prepared custard is poured in and everything bakes together at this point.
What kind of milk or cream should be used
The main difference between sugar cream pie recipes are the type of cream used. I like to use half and half because it’s a good go between heavy whipping cream and milk. It keeps the pie lighter in calories, but still makes a rich, thick custard.
Milk may be substituted, but do not use anything less than 2% milkfat. Please note, using milk will likely make the custard slightly thinner, but also contain less calories.
For the ultimate rich and creamy old fashioned pie, use heavy cream. The custard will also not take as long to thicken on the stove before pouring into the pie crust.
More Favorite Pie Recipes!
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Sugar Cream Pie
- 1 unbaked 9" pie crust
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 cups half and half
- 1/2 cup butter, cubed
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- cinnamon, for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 425ºF and adjust rack to lower position. Roll out and fit pie crust into a 9" pie pan. Line the bottom of crust with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 15 minutes on LOWER RACK. Remove weights and foil and bake for 5-10 minutes longer, until crust starts to brown and almost completely baked.
- Cool crust on wire rack and reduce oven temperature to 375ºF. Begin to make custard.
- In a large saucepan, whisk together sugar, brown sugar, and cornstarch. Whisk in half and half.
- Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once it starts to boil, reduce heat slightly to a simmer. Cook and stir for 2 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat and immediately stir in butter and vanilla.
- Pour filling into par-baked crust (it doesn't have to be cooled completely) and sprinkle filling with dusting of cinnamon, if desired. Bake for 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is set. Tip: If crust starts to brown too much before filling is set, cover the crust loosely with foil or use a pie shield.
- Remove from oven and cool completely. Refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours before slicing and serving. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.
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Tips for Making the Best Sugar Cream Pie
- Bake the crust on the lower rack so the bottom crust turns golden.
- When filling a pie shell with weights, make sure the shell is very cold first. After rolling out the dough into the pie plate, refrigerate it for 30 minutes or freeze for 10 minutes.
- While the pie shell is initially baking, you may begin making the custard filling. The shell does not have to cool completely before pouring it in.
- Every time I bake pies, I use this nifty, inexpensive pie shield to prevent the edges from becoming too browned.
- For best results with cutting and serving, cool the pie completely at room temperature then move to the refrigerator to chill for at least 1-2 hours before slicing.