History of Sugar Cream Pie
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Photo from RoadFood.com.
More recipes for Sugar Cream Pie.
Sugar cream pie, or
Hoosier sugar cream
pie, Indiana cream pie, sugar pie, or finger pie, is simply a pie shell spread with layers
of creamed butter and maple or brown sugar with a sprinkling of flour, then filled with
vanilla-flavored cream and baked.
1850s - The recipe appears to have originated in Indiana with the Shaker and/or Amish communities in the 1800s as a great pie recipe to use when the apple bins were empty. You will find somewhat similar pies in the Pennsylvania Dutch County and a few other places in the United States with significant Amish populations. The Shakers believed in eating hearty and healthy food. They definitely must have had a sweet tooth, though, judging by the sugar cream pie.
This pie was also know as finger pie because the filling was sometimes stirred with a finger during the baking process to prevent breaking the bottom crust. People used to skim the thick yellow cream from the top of chilled fresh milk to make this delectable dessert.
The following information is courtesy of Joanne Raetz Stuttgen, author of Cafe Indiana:
Quebec Sugar Cream Pie Recipe:
I stumbled across your "History of sugar cream pie" article and was interested in the additional information provided by Joanne Raetz Stuttgen below. While she states that she has not encountered anyone who mixes the ingredients right in the pie crust, we have a very old family recipe (Quebec "habitant" or farm folk) that has been passed down through the generations that calls for mixing the dry ingredients in the pie shell and adding the liquid. There are only three ingredients: brown sugar, flour, and cream. The filling is the mixed either with a finger or a wooden spoon before baking for about an hour. - Yves Quinty, Ottawa, Ontario Canada (3/25/09)
8-inch Pie Crust Recipe
1 cup lightly-packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup (minus 2 tablespoons) heavy or whipping cream
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Mix brown sugar and flour directly in prepared unbaked pie crust until flour disappears. Add the cream and mix with finger or wooden spoon.
Bake until entire surface of filling is boiling and crust is well bronzed, approximately 50-60 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature before serving.
(5/29/07) - I googled “sugar cream pie” because members of my family from Richmond, Indiana, are wondering about the origins. My mother’s recipe, handed down from her mother, who descended from a pioneer Quaker family, uses the dry method and uses the finger for stirring. My mother told me that finger stirring in the unbaked crust is necessary so as not to whip the cream before baking. We sprinkle fresh grated nutmeg over the top before baking. Our family recipe, by the way, does not include butter or eggs.
I appreciate your research in this area. The study of food ways is fascinating. An old eastern Indiana/western Ohio trait is to refer to bell peppers as mangos. The practice has pretty much died out as real mangos are so readily available in the groceries today.
Sister Susan Karina Dickey, O.P., Ph.D.