Hoosier Sugar….

Originally Published in the Greenwood Daily Journal Saturday August 6, 2011

There are many things that Indiana is known for.  Basketball, Corn, tenderloin sandwiches and the Indianapolis 500.  I am not sure many of you know that another is the Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie.  Go to any potluck or church pitch-in and you are bound to see this pie gracing the dessert table.

Creamy, white and sugary-sweet, this pie is known in my family as Grandma King’s Pie.  Every year for Christmas my Grandmother would bring this pie to our family gathering.  I was never very interested in trying it as a child.  It was just so blank looking.  Where was the pretty lattice top, where were the apples…..the chocolate?  I, the pie fan that I am, turned my nose up at this Indiana classic.  I admit though, I became a  bit intrigued as I got older.  I knew that my entire family liked it but still I was a little put off by it’s blase look.

When I met my husband 17 years ago he mentioned to my Grandmother how much he liked sugar cream pie and low and behold next time we see her she is toting a freshly baked pie.  Looking back I don’t know why this surprised me as he is her favorite person in the world.  One year for his birthday she sent him a beautiful birthday card, on time, and at the end she said “By the way, tell Heather happy birthday , too.”  My birthday was the previous week.

I decided to finally break down and ask her for the recipe of her sainted pie.  I expected her to bristle at my request as it is one of the many things she is known for, at least in my lifetime it has been.  I waited for her to open some golden recipe box as light shined down from the sky and angels sang.  She patted my hand sympathetically and said “Heather, if you want the recipe to my sugar cream pie just look on the back of any Wick’s frozen pie crust.” Talk about embarrassing.  I was prepared for her to give me this secret recipe that had been passed down through generations of women in her family.  What I got was something that was there all along.

She said she tweaked the flour and sugar measurements a little over time to what the recipe is now.  Funny thing is that Wick’s hasn’t printed the recipe on their pie crust wrapping in many years.  They hold the original formulation pretty close to the breast, so to speak.  I called Wick’s in May to see if my grandmother’s recipe was even close and the response I got was a quick “Sure, try it and see!”

So I did, and my family of course loved it.  I wanted to surprise her with it so when we had a birthday celebration for my son in May I made sure to have one of these on hand for her to try.  It was worth it to see the look on her face.  She asked me if I was now a sugar cream pie convert after all of these years of turning my nose up at the dessert.  She didn’t need to ask, really.  She knew.

In a way this is a recipe that has come through my family.  She made it for all of us over the years and now I am making it for my family.  My grandmother is 91 and I have never met anyone so sharp witted and feisty.  I am lucky to have her in my life and that of my family’s.  Recently, she gave me a cookbook she got as a wedding gift that was printed in 1932.  This is yet another thing about her that I treasure.

This pie is incredibly easy to make.  Some say that to have a true sugar cream pie you have to make your own crust using lard.  I can’t imagine doing that, but I must say it is better when made in a Wick’s pie shell that you can find at any grocery store.  You can also find this frozen pie as well, but it would be a shame to be from Indiana and not try this at least once.  Who knows, maybe it will become a new family favorite like it is with mine.

For more information about Wick’s go to : Wick’s Pies

Hers are always so much prettier..mine baked over and the crust got pretty brown, but it tasted SO good!

 Hoosier Sugar Cream Pie
This is my Grandmothers modified recipe.

2 cups white sugar
¾ cups all-purpose white flour
1½ cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Whole nutmeg
1 egg, beaten
1 open pie crust, I used a Wick’s frozen crust to stay true to the taste of my Grandmothers
Preheat oven to 450°F. Add all ingredients, except for nutmeg, butter and egg, in a mixing bowl and combine using a whisk. Pour into pie crust. Drop small pieces of butter on the top of the batter and then grate fresh nutmeg evenly over the top of the pie.I prefer to grate fresh , whole nutmeg but use what you have :)

With a pastry brush, brush the crimped edge of the crust with the beaten egg.
Bake for 10 minutes at 450°F. Reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for 30 minutes. 
Refrigerate and serve chilled.
Grandma (Virginia King) with Matt.  It’s really a funny picture, actually :)  He was getting ready to take her home and I think I startled them with the camera!
Take it easy on me…it was a very hot day!  91 years old and she is more vital and sharp witted than most 20 years younger!  So glad we could have her here that day :)
Of course, I always have to be different…so I also made a blackberry sauce to go on the side as a drizzle.  ALSO, very good :)


  1. says

    I grew up in Indiana eating this pie, a favorite of my dad and mine. Mine never come out very pretty but they are so good! Creamy and custardy and rich. I’m going to be making one soon!!

  2. says

    Being a native Califorian, Sugar Cream Pie is new to me. I very much enjoyed your delightful post,Grandmothers are the best!

  3. says

    I adore the story about the birthday day, that is awesome. I have never heard of a Sugar Cream Pie before this. I am adding it to my someday list. With an ingredient list like that, what could go wrong?!

  4. says

    I was born in Indiana and lived in Illinois growing up until I was 10 when we moved to St. Louis. I don’t recall ever having this pie so I guess it never crossed over to the Illinois side. I am so going to make this though. It looks excellent! I love your idea with the blackberry sauce. When I make Gooey Butter Cake (a St. Louis tradition) I always serve it up with strawberries. It makes me feel like it’s healthier 😉

  5. says

    Did you write this for a newspaper? I’m just slightly confused with the line at the top. If you did, how did you get in contact with the newspaper?


  6. Michel says

    I would love to make this pie as my late father in law was from Indiana and my hubby has never had this pie! Question: In using a pre-made pie crust, did you cook the crust first and then once cooled add the indgredients and then bake it? Or did you put the mixture in a thawed unbaked pie crust? I really loved your story about your grandmother! It shows in your writing how much you love her!Thank you!

  7. says

    Your Grandma is adorable! And it’s also adorable how she favors your husband. :) Lord, I hope I not only make it to 91, but is as loved as she is. What a great story. Thanks for sharing it, plus the recipe.
    P.S. Maybe I missed something, but your grandmother told you to look on the back of the Wick’s pie crust package for her recipe, but yet you then said that Wick’s hasn’t printed the recipe on their pie crust in many years… So I guess you really DID get the recipe from your Grandmother?

  8. Darla says

    I moved to Colorado from Indiana 20 years ago and mentioned several times how much I missed Wicks sugar cream pie. When I would visit Indiana I would bring some back to Colorado. I am so excited to make this pie, The recipe I’ve been using doesn’t compare in any way to Wicks. THANK YOU!!!

  9. says

    I made this pie a couple nights ago and it was so delicious! I’d never heard of a sugar cream pie before but saw it on Pinterest and had to try it. Hubby and I loved it and I’ll definitely be making it again! Thanks for sharing your family recipe.

  10. Sue Ann says

    Sugar Cream pie is the best! My own grandma made pies for our local restaurant: sugar cream, raisin cream, chocolate cream, lemon meringue, . . . I still have her handwritten recipes which included measurements like “a lump of butter”! Thank you for sharing your story (and Grandmother’s recipe!).

  11. Linda says

    Thanks so much for posting this recipe. I especially loved reading about your grandma and how much you cherish her. She reminds me of me and my grandma who we lost when she was 93 a few years ago. I have her recipe box and her rolling pin, along with her mother’s rolling pin. How lucky we are to have such “gems” in our lives.


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