Old fashioned sugar cream pie is like a sweet cream cold brew but without the cold brew. It is a very simple pie that is creamy and sweet, with hints of vanilla and cinnamon. The texture is very similar to a custard pie or flan, but there are no eggs. With the cinnamon sugar topping, it is like creme brulee and snickerdoodles come together in a perfect marriage.
This was the dessert for our Indiana state dinner. If you are new to the blog, we are working our way through the United States enjoying dinners made of each state's famous food!
In my post on the Indiana dinner, I shared the history behind this old fashioned sugar cream pie recipe. You may have heard of a Hoosier pie, Indiana farm pie, or a finger pie. These are all the same thing as a sugar cream pie.
Preparing the Crust
Do you know someone with impressive pie crust making skills? My mom is one of those people. She always makes her pie crust from scratch and it is perfect every time!
I remember as a kid being awe-struck with how well she fluted the edges. She tried to teach me and I blame my left-handedness for the fact that has been so hard for me to learn. With a whole lot of practice, I have improved, and would now give my skills a solid "B" grade.
You will see in the picture below that I still get really thin sections that burn easily. One trick for that is to use extra pie crust and work it into the edges so that you have a thick dough to work with.
This pie crust needs to be baked completely before we pour in the custard. After you put the crust into the pan you will want to poke holes all over it with a fork. This will allow the air to escape and prevent the dough from bubbling up.
You could also line your pie crust with foil and pour in some dry beans as it bakes. But I rarely have dry beans in my pantry, and I find the fork method to be much easier.
How to Make the Custard
This is the fasted pie to make! You simply whisk together sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan, then mix in the butter and cream.
Boil it for one minute and you are done! Essentially, all you have to do is heat up the liquids and allow the sugar and cornstarch to melt into them.
This transforms into a creamy, delicious, eggless custard! I have read some reviews on other sites about the custard not setting up, and the cause seems to be boiling for too long.
So once the custard starts to bubble, set your timer for one minute, and remove the pan from the heat once that timer goes off.
Caramelizing Cinnamon Sugar Topping
The most delicious part of this old fashioned sugar cream pie is the topping.
If you like creme brulee you will love this pie! Melted butter and cinnamon sugar are poured over the custard and put under the broiler for just a minute or two.
Don't be scared of your broiler! Just keep an eye on it. Depending on your oven, you may need to keep an eye on it through the closed door.
I didn't realize that our oven had a safety feature that turned the broiler off when the oven door was open. When the topping still wasn't caramelized after 5 minutes I thought our oven was broken! Oops! This snafu resulted in me burning the crust, but once I figured it out (okay, Matt figured it out) the topping caramelized right away.
One tip to help you avoid a burned crust is to cover the crust with a pie shield. You can also cover the crust with aluminum foil. Either of these will help you keep your golden crust while caramelizing your pie sugar.
Other Dessert Recipes You May Enjoy
Old Fashioned Sugar Cream Pie
- 1 prepared pie crust
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 5 tbsp butter
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 1 pinch table salt
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Roll pie crust into an 11-inch circle. Place in pie pan, pressing out any air pockets. Prick the bottom and sides of the pie crust with a fork. Bake according to your pie crust recipe directions for a single-crust baked pie shell, then cool.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk sugar and cornstarch together. Add cream and butter to the pan and cook over medium heat, whisking continually. Bring the mixture to a boil and then cook one minute longer. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla.
- Pour cream mixture into the cooled pie crust and smooth using a spoon or spatula. Pour the melted butter over the top of the pie. Combine 2 tbsp of sugar with 1 tsp cinnamon and sprinkle evenly over the top of the butter. Place on the top rack of your oven and broil for 1-2 minutes, until the sugar crystallizes and browns. Watch carefully so you don't burn your pie!
- Remove from oven and cool. Store pie in the refrigerator.