Sugar Cream Pie is the unofficial state pie of Indiana. This tasty dessert is packed with the flavors of vanilla and cinnamon…yum!
There are some really strange state foods out there. While it’s not an “official” state food, Arkansas is known for chocolate gravy – and it’s just like it sounds. Gravy with the addition of cocoa powder, and it’s typically served over biscuits for breakfast. Connecticut counters the chocolate gravy with their own odd food – clam pizza. I mean I love pizza, but clams!? And if you live in Kansas, then you probably know about the whole dipping cinnamon rolls in chili thing. I mean I love cinnamon rolls, and I love chili…but together? I think I’ll take a hard pass there.
Today’s post features another classic state food, but fortunately this one isn’t too odd. Sugar Cream Pie is the state pie of Indiana. Technically this one isn’t “official” as the bill hasn’t made it’s way to the governor’s desk yet, but that’s just a technicality. Sugar Cream Pie (also called Hoosier Pie) is the state pie of Indiana.
The folks at the Indiana Historical Society have found written references to Sugar Cream Pie all the way back to 1816, but they say that this dessert likely existed in the state’s Amish communities long before that. In fact, another name for this pie is Desperation Pie because it doesn’t require any fresh fruit and most of the ingredients are pantry staples. Sugar, cream, butter, cornstarch, vanilla extract, cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s a pretty basic pie. But it’s also a delicious pie!
The Sugar Cream Pie is so popular that there’s actually a trail – complete with 29 stops – that winds through the state of Indiana. I don’t know about you, but eating 29 slices of pie in one day sounds mighty difficult. Challenge accepted! This one is going on the bucket list.
Sugar Cream Pie
I often say that a sandwich is only as good as the bread it’s made on. The same exists for pie. A pie is only as good as it’s crust. The crust recipe below is my go-to pie crust. It’s made with all butter, and it tastes amazing. But there’s one little trick in there – vodka. As I talked about in this previous post, vodka is actually a great liquid for making pie dough. I now keep a small bottle of vodka on the baking shelf in my pantry just for making pie dough. #Truth
As we head into the holiday season, I know there will be tons of pies, cakes and other sweet treats in your kitchen. Might I suggest adding this Sugar Cream Pie to the dessert lineup this year? If you like cinnamon and vanilla, then this pie has your name all over it!
One advantage of this pie is that it’s served cold. While that does mean that you have to plan ahead a bit, it also means that you can have the pie done and made for whenever you want to serve it. (I actually made this one 2 days before we served it. I covered the pie dish with plastic wrap, and the pie held up beautifully. Once we cut into this pie, I can assure you it didn’t last 2 more days!)
I hope you get a chance to make this pie – it’s a unique one (unless you live in Indiana), and it’s mighty tasty. Happy Baking!
Did you make this Sugar Cream Pie at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog). I’d love to see your version!
Sugar Cream Pie
For the Crust
- 1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter cold
- 2 Tbsp vodka see note
- 2-4 Tbsp cold water
For the Filling
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- pinch ground nutmeg
For the Crust
- Using a food processor, add flour, brown sugar and salt; pulse until well combined.
- Cut butter into small cubes and add to the food processor; pulse until a crumbly mixture forms.
- Add vodka and 2 Tbsp of water; pulse until well combined. If necessary, continue adding water 1 Tbsp at a time (and pulsing) until dough comes together in a ball. (Note: I often don't need to add additional water as the pie dough comes together with the vodka and 2 Tbsp of water.)
- Shape dough into a disc and wrap with plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (Note: Dough can be made the day before and refrigerated overnight.)
- Working on a well-floured surface, roll pie dough into a 12” circle.
- Transfer pie dough into pan and gently press dough into pan; trim excess overhang so that you have ~½” of overhang on all sides. Tuck overhang under itself so that folded edge is level with the edge of pie plate.
- Use 2 fingers, crimp the edges of dough.
- Using a fork, prick the dough all over. Refrigerate dough for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Place parchment paper over pie dough and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes, or until crust begins to turn light golden brown. Remove pie dish from oven.
For the Filling
- Using a medium saucepan, add sugar and cornstarch; stir until well combined.
- Add half-and-half, heavy cream and butter; stir until well combined. Place over medium heat and bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Reduce heat and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly. The mixture should be thick and bubbly at this point.
- Remove saucepan from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
- Pour mixture into prepared pie crust. Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg evenly on top of filling.
- Bake at 375°F for 15-20 minutes, or until top of pie is golden brown.
- Let pie cool on wire rack for 30 minutes. Cover pie with foil and refrigerate for 2-3 hours before slicing.
- Note: The alcohol in the crust will evaporate while baking. Substituting vodka (or another 80-proof alcohol) for ½ of the liquid in pie dough will lead to a flakier crust once baked. Try it out! You may also use additional water in place of the vodka.
Looking for more tasty pie recipes? Check out these other favorites, too: