I've only been to Indiana once, but for some reason, I've always known about Hoosier Pie / Sugar Cream Pie and knew it would be the sweet I featured on Sweet State of Mine - even though I'd never eaten any myself!
The Indiana State Legislature confirmed my pick when they designated Sugar Cream Pie as the official state pie of Indiana in 2009. It is believed the Quaker's brought the pie to the eastern section of Indiana in the 19th Century and since then, the pie has become an Indiana tradition and state favorite!
In some families, Sugar Cream Pie is referred to as "Finger Pie" because of the method used to mix the ingredients. The sugar (often a mixture of granulated and brown) and flour are combined in a bowl and then poured into the pie crust. The cream is then poured into the crust and using your finger, you mix the ingredients together in the shell. This is done to prevent incorporating any air into the cream before the pie is baked.
The basic ingredients of this pie are simple... but the results you get can vary greatly! More about that later...
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup whipping cream, whipped
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie shell
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- fresh grated nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees
- Whip cream in medium mixing bowl
- Fold sugar, flour and milk into whipped cream
- Pour into pie shell
- Cut butter into small pieces and dot on top of filling
- Grate fresh nutmeg over entire pie
- Bake 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then lower oven temperature to 350 and cook for approximately 30 more minutes.
And this is where it gets tricky!
I researched tons of Sugar Cream Pie recipes and while the ingredients varied slightly (some contained egg yolks, some contained vanilla, different amounts of sugar - white and brown) the one instruction they all included was "Do not over bake or the pie will not set up properly."
However, the pie does not set until it cools. And oh by the way, if you under bake it, the pie won't set up completely either! So how in the world are you supposed to tell when you have baked the pie to the correct level of "doneness"? Makes it a little tricky for someone unfamiliar with this pie baking it for the first (second or third) time! : )
I ended up trying three different recipes before I landed on this version which gave me the best results. And you can see in the pictures that even this third pie was a little runny.
I did find some comfort when I read in several of the recipes that even for the experienced Indiana baker, sometimes this pie just doesn't set up properly. Their advice for those situations - get yourself a spoon and enjoy it anyway!
This seemingly simple pie, while a bit frustrating, did have a yummy taste! It is super sweet, homey and simplistic.
If you decide to give this recipe a try - I recommend (a) doing a test run (b) having a backup dessert or (c) have your spoons ready!