Friday, January 9, 2009
BEHOLD the Indiana State … Pie?
Anyone outside of Indiana ever had a sugar cream pie? Anyone outside of Indiana ever HEARD of sugar cream pie? Apparently, state Senator Allen Paul (a Republican from Richmond, Indiana, who I guess doesn’t have anything better to do) wants to pass a resolution declaring sugar cream pie the "Official State Pie" of Indiana.
Indiana wouldn’t be the only state to have an “Official State Pie.” At least two other states have officially laid claim to specific pies.
It seems that Florida has declared the Key Lime Pie their state pie, and I don’t think anyone would argue that point.
Vermont, apparently, has bravely declared that the most American of pies -- the apple pie -- is their “Official State Pie.” This hardly seems fair to me. After all, the legendary Johnny Appleseed [Johnny Chapman] just happens to be buried in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I’d say that gives us Hoosiers just as much claim to the apple pie as Vermont!
As much as I hate to admit it, though, the sugar cream pie IS distinctly Hoosier – as Hoosier as a pork tenderloin sandwich – and I don’t think the history of this particular type of pie can be traced anywhere outside of the state. It was born of 19th-century farmhouses in late winter, when people were reaching the end of their winter stores and were desperate for something tasty to eat. Thus, the sugar cream pie was created from what was left in the pantry and larder, and around the farm: sugar, milk, flour, butter, cream, and maybe some nutmeg. That’s all. The sugar cream pie isn’t exactly a healthy thing to eat, but Hoosiers have never been known to eat healthy, anyway.
Still, a really good sugar cream pie IS pretty darn tasty. A BAD sugar cream pie, though, is nothing more than a mass of sugar-flavored goop. Lucky for us, Wick's Pies is in Indiana, and they do turn out a pretty good sugar cream pie, for people who don’t want to run the risk of producing a truly nasty pie.
If anyone DOES want to try making one of these pies, here’s a standard Hoosier recipe:
- 1-1/3 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup all-purpose unsifted flour
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 3/4 cup milk
- One 9-inch unbaked pie shell – graham cracker is best
- 2 tablespoons frozen butter, cut into small pieces
- A pinch of nutmeg
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Combine sugar, flour, cream, and milk in a mixing bowl. Pour into pie shell. Scatter butter pieces all around top of pie. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, and then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F and cook for approximately 30 more minutes. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until chilled. Serve chilled. (Note: If using a glass baking dish, lower oven temperature by 25 degrees F.)
Keep a toothbrush handy!
(So, I wonder which Southern state is going to try to lay claim to the pecan pie? That’s a potential cage match in the making right there!)