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!)


Dreadful Rauw said...

Georgia gets pecan pie. We have the most pecans. Besides everyone knows that pecan pie is a classy dessert and Georgia is certainly the classiest southern state. The other states can have banana pudding with Nilla wafers, and lime Jello with pineapple in it.

Sea_of_Green said...

Are you sure Georgia shouldn't have the PEACH pie? ;-)

FoldedSoup said...

I'm pretty sure they already have the Peach cobbler as something official... But, yeah. Georgia gets Pecan pie if it ever comes up. You can't swing a dead cat in that state without hitting a pecan pie. Or a street named "Peachtree," for that matter.

I've never heard of sugar cream pie. I may have to try that recipe out.. thanks!

Erica said...

I had sugar cream pie once while I lived in Indiana. It was one of the not-so-good varieties, and was too gooey for even my sweet tooth. However, it was good enough that I was curious to try another if I could be assured it was delicious :)

Actually, South Carolina should get the peach pie, we produce more peaches than Georgia. (Technically California produces the most, actually.) However, I think SC is stuck with banana pudding. Sucks, because I hate bananas :(

(And, didja know, Texas and New Mexico are respectively the #2 and #3 producers of pecans?)

Dreadful Rauw said...

South Carolina and California may produce more, but it's our Official nickname, so we get peaches too. And Peanuts. And Pecans. We also lead in Pimento production, if that ever comes up.

Georgia, the state of P Produce.

Also a major exporter of Poultry, Paper, Pine Products, and Newt Gingrich.

Sea_of_Green said...

So, theoretically, Georgia could also claim the Peanut Butter Pie and the Chicken Pot Pie. ;-)

Sea_of_Green said...

HOLD THE PHONE! Apparently, Alabama has declared that the pecan is ITS official state nut.

Erica said...

When we first moved here, the SC secretary of agriculture was quoted saying something like, he wanted to make sure South Carolina didn't lose its reputation as the nations primary peach producer. I remember thinking, "dude, that boat has LONG since sailed..."

I do know that more than one state can claim the same thing; for example, the cardinal is the state bird of both Ohio and Indiana (and a few others!). So if anyone wants to share SC's particular state things -- our state fruit is the peach, our state snack is boiled peanuts, our state craft is sweetgrass basket weaving, our state beverage is milk...

SallyP said...

I have never heard of this particularl concoction, but a pie that basically consists or whipped cream and sugar can't be bad.

Personally, I like rhubarb pie, but I'm a bit of a weirdo.

Sea_of_Green said...

It's true that most states have things like official state birds, state trees, state flowers, state songs, and even state menu items. It just seems to me that declaring such things is kind of a wasted effort, especially when several states claim the same things.

And, besides, I like blackberry pie better than sugar cream pie, anyway. ;-)