Cream Pie - The Sugar Cream Pie That Tastes Like Crème Brûlée
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Cream Pie – The Sugar Cream Pie That Tastes Like Crème Brûlée

Cream pie (sometimes called sugar cream pie) tastes like crème brûlée in pie format. It’s rich and decadent and the filling requires just six ingredients – sugar, butter, half and half, vanilla, nutmeg, and cornstarch.

Sugar Pie

People go crazy for my cream pie and it’s so simple to make. Plus, it uses simple ingredients that you may already have on hand.

If you haven’t heard of this pie, you are not alone. It’s most common in Indiana and has been popularized by the Amish. When I served it to my friends in St. Louis, none of them had tried it before.

Tasting its rich, caramel-like flavor, you might assume that it is loaded with eggs like a traditional custard – but it’s the cornstarch that gives this pie its custard-like texture.

There are no eggs in this recipe.

How to Make Cream Pie

Sugar Pie

One of the nice things about this pie is that it is a one saucepan recipe. You don’t need to mess with lots of mixing bowls.

First, melt butter in a saucepan.

Melting butter

Then, mix in all of the other ingredients except for the vanilla and stir for about five minutes. As you stir, the cornstarch will thicken the mixture until it becomes porridge-like.

Thickened filling

Once it reaches that consistency, you can stir in the vanilla.

Cream Pie Crust

Sugar cream pie typically uses classic butter crust like this pie crust from BraveTart.

Slice of pie

However, for a variation, I like to use a shortbread crust and only put it on the bottom, not up the sides of the pan.

Sugar pie will hold its shape so it doesn’t need side crust to keep it from collapsing. Shortbread crust is easy to make and when you use shortbread crust, you automatically get a cookie with your pie!

I especially like using shortbread crust when I make this pie in a skillet.

Sugar Pie

I love serving this pie in small cast iron skillets. The skillets make for a rustic presentation and a group of four can just dig in with forks!

Sugar Pie

You can also bake it in an 8″ square pan with a shortbread crust and cut rectangular slices.

Variations

There has been some debate in the comments on this post as to what true sugar cream pie is. It turns out that there are many different versions and there is no right or wrong one. There is a maple sugar pie (popular in Canada) and a brown sugar pie. Some are thickened with flour and some use corn starch. The recipe below is adapted from AllRecipes and is a winner and a great place to start your sugar pie baking exploration.

For some other variations, try making a chocolate sugar pie.

Chocolate Sugar Pie

To do so, once all the ingredients come off of the stove, pour them over four ounces of chocolate chips or chopped chocolate and stir until all of the chocolate is melted. I make my chocolate version with a chocolate shortbread crust (5 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature, 1/4 cup brown sugar, heaping 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup rolled oats, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt, and 2 tablespoons dutch-processed cocoa powder). 

Chocolate Sugar Pie

You could make a coffee-flavored sugar pie by steeping the half and half with coffee beans like I show in my post on coffee desserts.

Baking with Coffee
You could also add lemon or orange zest or spices like cinnamon and nutmeg for something more fall- or winter-themed.

I also love the idea that someone mentioned in the comments of adding peaches to make a peaches and cream pie!

When to Serve

Sugar Pie

I’m a sucker for cheesy, romantic plans and I love the idea of serving this to my sugar pie on Valentine’s Day. But, in truth, there is never a bad time!

We like to add it to our list of pies to make on pie day, including other pie recipes like puff pastry berry pie, apple crumb pie, and chocolate pumpkin pie.

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Sugar Pie
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4.38 from 8 votes

Cream Pie

Cream pie tastes like crème brûlée in pie format. It's rich and decadent and the filling requires just six ingredients.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword cream pie, sugar cream pie, sugar pie, sugar pie recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 277kcal
Author Stef

Ingredients

Shortbread Crust Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 tablespoons rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Sugar Cream Pie Filling Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups half and half
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

Instructions

Shortbread Crust Instructions

  • Mix all shortbread crust ingredients by hand in a small mixing bowl until they just begin to stick together.
  • Grease a 9" pie pan and press shortbread crust into the bottom of the pan.

Sugar Cream Pie Filling Instructions

  • In a medium-sized saucepan, melt butter on medium heat.
  • Once butter is melted, whisk in cornstarch and sugar. 
  • Slowly whisk in the half and half.
  • Stir constantly until the mixture begins to boil and becomes thick and creamy. This should take about five minutes. You'll know it's ready as there will be a dramatic shift from a soupy liquid to something porridge-like.
  • Remove from heat and mix in vanilla. (If there are any lumps, you can push the filling through a sieve to remove them.)

Assembly and Baking Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Place prepared pie pan on a cookie sheet (in case of any overflow during baking). Distribute filling evenly over shortbread in the prepared pan. Because pie pan depths may vary, keep in mind that this filling is supposed to come almost up to the top of the pie.
  • Sprinkle nutmeg over the filling.
  • Bake for 70 minutes or until the top of the pie is set and the top is somewhat browned. The filling will still be a little jiggly, but it won't move very much if you wiggle the pie. If it doesn't seem set yet, continue to cook a little longer. It's better to over-bake this pie than to under-bake it.
  • Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature.
  • Refrigerate overnight and serve cold.

Notes

You can easily vary this recipe by using cast iron skillets or a square baking dish.  If you change the size of your baking vessel, check on the pie regularly as baking times will vary. You can also replace the nutmeg with cinnamon or a mix of the two. Lastly, you may choose to use a more traditional pie crust or leave the pie crust off entirely. If you use a traditional pie crust, there is no need to pre-bake the crust, just pour the filling over the crust as you with the shortbread crust.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Cream Pie
Amount Per Serving
Calories 277 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 9g45%
Cholesterol 41mg14%
Sodium 24mg1%
Potassium 110mg3%
Carbohydrates 34g11%
Sugar 22g24%
Protein 2g4%
Vitamin A 440IU9%
Vitamin C 0.5mg1%
Calcium 70mg7%
Iron 0.5mg3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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58 comments on “Cream Pie – The Sugar Cream Pie That Tastes Like Crème Brûlée”

  1. Lizsays:

    If we get the predicted snow on Thursday, I’ll be making this to keep us warm!

  2. Beckysays:

    OMG! I used to buy a frozen sugar pie in Ohio over 30 years ago. I’ve tried and tried to locate a recipe but only came up with lemon chess. So happy I’ve found this recipe for sugar cream pie! At least it looks like what I remember!

  3. Mikesays:

    My grandmother in Indiana used to make sugar cream pie for us whenever we would visit. It was my favorite. I’ll give this a try, thanks!

  4. sharon du toitsays:

    maybe this could be easier – just add a tablespoon of flour to the hot milk mixture to form the firmness of the porridge (thick ingredient). In South Africa we will add 4 eggs to the mixture. we beat eggs, sugar, flour, starch, vanilla etc in separate bowl. the milk and butter preheats – the secret is to NOT let the milk boil. when you see the milk sending those little vapours, then whisk in your flour mixture and keep stirring till its thick. ditch the nutmeg and replace with cinnamon. the base you can also replace with grahams crackers crumbled to form a base. hope it helps :-)

    my recipe

    1litre milk
    125g butter
    1 – 1.5 cups sugar

    melt together

    4 eggs
    two tbs very high heaped flour
    1 tbs very high heaped corn starch
    2 tbs vanilla essence (yes two table spoons)

    beat till smooth

    melt butter sugar and milk until warm – SO NOT LET IT REACH BOILING STAGE. whisk in the egg mixture and whisk till its a thick porridge. use crumbed crackers in base of tart dish. This makes for a large tart. Sprinkle with cinnamon and let cool. It does not require for baking.

    This is an ancient Cape Malay dish dating back more than 2 centuries and is simply awesome. The day your child does not want to eat, this will pepper him up. the sugar can be replaced by Stevia.
    1

    • Ngaire Rowleysays:

      I would like to know what half and half is?? Can someone help as I would love to try this recipe.

      • Half and half is a product composed of half milk and half cream, so it’s a bit lighter than whipping cream and delicious. Find it in the refrigerated section of the store next to the milk.

      • maria rosa santacruzsays:

        It is half cream half milk, in the U.S. it’s sold as coffee creamer.

      • terrisays:

        !/2 and 1/2 has so many uses…try my favorite by pouring it in as the creamer part of your next cup of coffee! Not to plug a free commercial for Walmart, but their brand is almost half the price of other brands, and has a long out date on them always.

  5. 5 stars
    I just have to say, this was one of the best pies I’ve ever tasted!! We have a local restaurant that makes homemade Old Fashioned Cream Pie and this recipe reminded me so much of theirs that I’m going to be making it myself at home from now on! It is FANTASTIC!!! I followed the recipe just as it’s written, except for a couple little changes. I used an 8×8 glass dish like Stephanie mentioned. I also used homemade half & half and vanilla bean paste. The pie turned out perfect!!! It’s probably not a great thing that I know how to make this now!! Thanks for this recipe Steph, I would recommend this to anyone and everyone who has ever wanted a recipe for cream pie or has ever wanted to try it!!

  6. Barbarainncsays:

    I couldn’t get it to print!!!!

  7. Gerisays:

    Our local grocery store has raspberries on sale this weekend for Memorial day….know just what is going to be served with it! Love the idea of “Sugar PIe and berries” . Can’t wait thanks for the recipe. Know it’s a keeper.

  8. Stephensays:

    If you like sugar pie and creme brulee, you really need to make a trip to Quebec, where ‘tarte au sucre’ has been a local favourite for centuries. The primary difference is that it is made with maple sugar, and comes in either the creamy kind, or the more homestyle kind which is sort of like a pecan pie flavoured with maple and without the pecans.

    If you’re in Quebec City, stop at Le Cochon Dingue (The Crazy Pig), a fabulous restaurant in the old town lower level, in a 400-year-old house. Everything they serve is fabulous, and their tarte au sucre is absolutely amazing. Here’s the link (English version): http://www.cochondingue.com/english.html. Enjoy!

  9. Brenda Rosolowskysays:

    What would happen if you used salted butter??????

  10. Tanyasays:

    I’d love to make this with a lime flavor. Any suggestions on how to make flavor variations? I had key lime crème brulee at the Wayside Inn several years ago and have yet to find anything that comes close!

    • Stefsays:

      Hmm.. you could add a bunch of lime zest to the recipe and maybe replace a little of the half and half with a touch of lime juice. No promises on how it will come out, but that is where I would start.

  11. Hey there I am so happy I found your blog, I really found you by mistake, while
    I was researching on Bing for something else, Anyways I am
    here now and would just like to say thank you for a tremendous post and a all round enjoyable blog (I
    also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read it
    all at the minute but I have saved it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I
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  12. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about sugar pie. Regards

  13. Guy Bloungesays:

    Il s’agit d’une très bonne recette. Je voudrais cependant, dans un endroit de crème fraîche au fouet et peut-être utiliser des raisins secs pour une saveur élargie.

  14. Maplesays:

    Hi Stef, how would you alter the recipe if you were to use an 8 inch square baking dish as suggested above? I don’t have skillets like yours. Thanks!

  15. Nancy Wrightsays:

    Calorie count ! Sounds delicious.

  16. Wilsonsays:

    I’m very happy to find this great site. I want to to thank you for your time due to this fantastic read!!

    I definitely loved every part of it and I have you
    bookmarked to see new information in your site.

  17. Michellesays:

    Has anyone tried to brulee the top?

  18. Lisasays:

    Just a note…lovely little restaurant in a central Ohio town down from my office made the best sugar cream pies. I didn’t think they could get any better until she added fresh peaches during peach season. OH MY GOODNESS!! Of course she called it Peaches and Cream Pie. Will definitely give this recipe a try …with and without peaches :) By the way – love the skillet. I cook so many things in my cast iron…from pot roast to fried chicken to pineapple upside down cake….YUM!

  19. Grandmaelsie5says:

    No one is really wrong. My Momma used to make this pie for us kids growing up way back when in my lil hometown of Southeast Ohio..
    Her recipe was;
    1cup Sugar
    1/2 to 3/4 cup milk
    1/4 cup flour
    Dash of salt
    Small pat if butter
    1 tsp. Of vanilla

    Place all ingredients in a small pie pan with low sides in an “unbaked” pie shell. Stir ingredients through with your fingers. Sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon. Bake 30 minutes.
    To hurry up baking time. Place all ingredients in saucepan and bring to a boil, boil about 1 minute until it starts to thicken, remove from stove top. Pour into a pre-baked pie shell allow to cool. Sprinkle with nutmeg or Cinnamon. Mixture will set and shrink and cools….
    I have not tried this with splenda yet…

  20. Ausreysays:

    We did not care for this pie. I even added more sugar and still not sweet. Not sure why, but do not think, will fix again. Sorry

  21. Ida Dohoneysays:

    I am a terrible pastry maker but I think I could master this. My taste buds are interested in this Sugar pie.

  22. Brendasays:

    Can this be made with soy or coconut or almond milk. For those of us who are lactose challenged?

  23. elizesays:

    5 stars
    Hi what is half+half, is it milk and water?

  24. Joansysays:

    I live in Indiana, and we love our sugar cream pie here! My son-in-law craves a sugar cream pie like his mother used to make. I’ve tried and come close, but I haven’t nailed it. I am going to bake this one for him and see if this is The One! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  25. Cherie Cabralsays:

    Looks and sounds amazing!! Must add to holiday baking list.

  26. Jesica Hurrienarainsays:

    Very similar to South African Milk Tart

  27. Andreasays:

    This sounds delicious! Could this be made into tarts? If so, any thoughts on baking time? Thanks!

  28. Yamilasays:

    5 stars
    Hello! I don’t understand when in the ingredients it says 2 1/4 cups half and half. I speak Spanish, that’s why it’s hard for me to understand. you mean what are 2 1/4 cups of milk? or half milk and half cream? thank you!

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