March 14, 2016

Almost Mrs. Wick's Sugar Cream Pie

If you're from the Midwest, especially Indiana, you know that there is nothing better than a slice of sugar cream pie.  The sugary, creamy, slightly vanilla-y taste is like nothing else.

If you're from East Central Indiana, you know two things...Mrs. Wick's pie is the gold standard, and you just can't find it in other states.  Sure, you can order them by the case and have them shipped to you, but that is costly...kind of like having Pizza King pizza shipped.  Ouch!

This is a problem.  So I began my search for a sugar cream pie recipe to replicate the pure deliciousness that is Mrs. Wick's.  I found several recipes that claimed to be from people who had uncovered the real recipe.  I even found one that is said to originate from the back of a Mrs. Wick's frozen pie crust.  They all sounded delicious, but I wanted to try to make mine as close Mrs. Wick's as possible.  I decided to check their website.  Not that I thought they would actually post their recipe, but I figured it was worth a look.  They do post the ingredients.  That was good enough for me.

I took the recipe's I had found and the ingredient list from Mrs. Wick's, and started experimenting to create my own version of the wonderfully decadent treat.  I tried varying amounts of sugar, and different kinds of sugar, but in the end, as much as I hate to use it, nothing but white sugar gave me the results I was looking for.  I did make two ingredient changes; I swapped the shortening for butter.  I personally don't cook with shortening, but if you do, feel free to switch it back.  Also, I subbed part of the milk for cream.  I love the fatty, creaminess it adds to other treats (ice cream, pudding, coffee...), and I just can't see sugar CREAM pie without cream.  Sure, having cream in the title may possibly have originated from the texture of the pie, not the ingredients, but it's a great excuse add some creamy goodness.

I love to make my own pie crust.  Actually, I love to eat homemade pie crust; I don't love making pie crusts.  I hate it.  Everything is great until it's time to transfer the crust to the pie pan.  I can never get it right.  It always falls apart.  And I'm pretty sure my family gets tired of me cursing at the dough and slamming it back into a ball to re-roll it.  If you're able to successfully transfer pie crusts, props to you, and here is a delicious pie crust recipe I use whenever I do make my own.

There are two ways to make this pie.  You can either cook the filling in a pan, like pudding, then put it in a cooked crust, or you can bake the filling and the crust together.  I usually bake them together for two reasons.  First, it means fewer dishes to wash.  Second, I love the crunchy, sugary crust that forms on the top of the pie.  If you don't love crunchy, sugary goodness and don't mind a few extra pots & pans, then I recommend cooking them separately.

Almost Mrs. Wick's Sugar Cream Pie
1 1/2 C. heavy cream
1 C. whole milk
2 C. white sugar
3/4 C AP flour
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
grated nutmeg

Combine cream, milk, and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, combine sugar and flour.  Whisk together wet and dry mixtures until the sugar and flour are dissolved.  Slowly whisk in the melted butter.  Next, either pour mixture into an unbaked pie crust, sprinkle with grated nutmeg, and bake at 450° for 10 minutes, then at 350° for 30 minutes or until set.  Or, cook mixture over medium-high heat until thick, then pour into a baked pie crust, sprinkle with grated nutmeg, and place under broiler until it begins to bubble.  Either way, once the pie is cooked, cool and refrigerate.  Although, if you can't wait, it's just as good warm!

I hope your family enjoys this regional delight as much as my family does.  What specialty dessert can only be found where you grew up?