Hoosier pie, aka Indiana Sugar Cream pie, is one of those simple staples born out of necessity. Containing just a few basic ingredients, this indulgence was invented for lean times when all you had around was a dairy cow, some sugar and a sack of flour. But despite its humble origins, this pie has garnered quite the cult following.
Our catering company, Wild Plum Events, recently catered a friend's birthday party and he requested Sugar Cream Pie for dessert. Not having the first idea about this regional delicacy, we got to work on Google and were startled at its simplicity—sugar, heavy cream, half-and-half, flour and vanilla baked in a pie crust until it turns into a thick custard.
For the crust, I used America's Test Kitchen's All Butter Double Crust Pie Dough recipe:
⅓ cup ice water, plus extra as needed
3 tablespoons sour cream
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ¼ inch pieces and frozen for 10-15 minutes
Chop butter into ¼ inch pieces and freeze for 10-15 minutes.
Mix ⅓ cup of the ice water and sour cream together in a small bowl.
Process the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor until combined.
Scatter the butter pieces over the flour mixture and pulse until the butter is the size of large peas (about 5-8 pulses).
Pour half the sour cream mixture over the flour mixture and pulse until incorporated. Repeat with the remaining sour cream mixture. Pinch the dough with your fingers; if the dough feels dry and doesn’t hold together, sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons ice water over the mixture and pulse until the dough forms large clumps and no dry flour remains.
Divide the dough into two even pieces. Place each piece of dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and flatten each into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 3 days. Before rolling the dough out, let it sit on the counter to soften slightly. Lightly dust your counter or rolling surface with flour and roll into a 12-inch disc.
Drape the dough over the pie pan and gently press it down. Trim the edges a little longer than the edge of the pie pan. Pinch dough edges with your fingers to crimp.
Line the pie shells with a circular piece of parchment paper cut to fit. Fill the shell with pie weights, something cheap like white beans, but make sure not to reuse them later on for soups after they've been baked! Place in the oven at 375 F for 15 minutes, or until light golden brown.
For the filling, I used Saveur's Indiana Sugar Cream Pie recipe, mostly because the picture looked pretty and crème brûlée-ish. Sadly, the top didn't come out all blistered and brown like the photo (maybe they finished it with a torch?) but nonetheless, it's still a great recipe.
In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar and flour. Stir in half-and-half, cream and vanilla. Pour the mixture into the pie crust, and bake at 375 F until the filling is lightly set but jiggles when tapped on the side, about 1 hour and 30 minutes. Transfer the pie to a rack and let cool completely. Grate fresh nutmeg over the top just before serving.
In the end, our Hoosier Pies turned out awesome and were the surprising hit of the party. Even self-proclaimed dessert haters were going back for seconds and thirds.