Sugar pie is a popular dessert that has been enjoyed for generations. This old-fashioned treat will take your taste buds on a nostalgic trip, featuring a single crust filled with a heavenly mixture of butter, brown sugar, flour, cream, eggs, and vanilla. The filling transforms into a caramel-like concoction when baked, providing a rich and satisfying taste.
It’s super easy to make, and you’ll feel like you’re in your grandmother’s kitchen again with the smells of bubbling brown sugar, vanilla, and cream.
The sweet filling forms a caramel-like filling with a rich brown sugar flavor. It’s the perfect sugar pie, in my opinion!
You might be surprised to learn that sugar pie has its roots in various cultures, each putting its twist on the basic recipe. Although different names may know it, the essence of a sugar pie remains the same: a delicious, indulgent dessert that brings people together over a shared love for the sweeter things in life.
This simple pie recipe is a vintage find from one of my grandma’s old church cookbooks. It looked easy enough, so I decided to try it out. The sweet sugary filling practically melts in your mouth and reminds me a little of the flavor of a butter tart but with a different texture.
Why You’ll Love This Easy Sugar Pie Recipe
- Easy to make: Sugar pie comes together quickly and effortlessly with just a few basic ingredients. You can even use a store-bought pie crust, making it easier to prepare.
- Versatility: As an old-fashioned dessert, sugar pie is versatile enough to be served at holiday gatherings or as a special treat for your family. You can add your personal touch with various toppings, such as homemade whipped cream, a dusting of powdered sugar, or your favorite fruit compote.
- Nostalgic charm: There’s something comforting about a dessert that has stood the test of time, and sugar pie is no exception. Its origin can be traced back to France.
- Perfect sweetness: The brown sugar filling of a sugar pie gives it that perfect caramel-like sweetness, which will please your taste buds without overpowering them. If you enjoy classic, uncomplicated desserts, this pie will surely be a winner.
The full printable recipe card with measurements and instructions is found at the bottom of the post.
- Pre-made 9-inch pie crust: This will be the base of your sugar pie, holding all the sweet goodness in place. I prefer to use dark brown sugar
- Dark brown sugar: This provides your pie’s signature sweetness and caramel flavor.
- All-purpose flour: This will help thicken the filling and give it the right consistency.
- Salt: Adding a touch of salt helps balance the sweetness in the pie.
- Heavy cream: This adds richness and creaminess to the filling, making it decadent.
- Unsalted butter: The melted butter further enhances the richness and contributes to the caramel-like texture.
- Large eggs: Eggs help bind all the ingredients together and provide a silky, smooth filling.
- Vanilla extract: Vanilla extract adds a subtle yet essential depth of flavor to the sugar pie.
How to Make the Best Sugar Pie
- Step One: Preheat the oven to 350℉. Take your pre-made pie crust from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften slightly.
- Step Two: Roll out the pie crust with a rolling pin and carefully transfer it to a greased 9-inch pie pan. Trim the excess pie dough around the edges and crimp the edges with your finger or a fork.
- Step Three: Combine the brown sugar, all-purpose flour, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix well.
- Step Four: In a separate large bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla extract until well combined.
- Step Five: Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet ingredients, whisking constantly until the filling is smooth and well blended.
- Step Six: Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell, smoothing the top.
- Step Seven: Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until the sugar pie filling is set and the crust is golden brown. The pie’s center may still be slightly jiggly, but it will firm up as it cools.
- Step Eight: Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack.
- Step Nine: Once cooled, refrigerate the pie for at least 2 hours or overnight to allow it to set and develop its flavors fully.
- Step Ten: Serve chilled. You can enjoy it as is or add a dollop of whipped cream or powdered sugar on top if desired.
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- Measuring spoons and cups: Everyone needs a good set of measuring cups and spoons, which are excellent! The handles make the measuring tools easy to attach and stay together, so no more losing that tiny teaspoon in your drawer!
- Mixing bowls: These glass mixing bowls are beautiful and practical. I love seeing all my ingredients through the bowl; they nest inside each other for space-saving!
- Wooden spoon: I use nothing more than this wooden spoon in my kitchen. Perfect for cooking, mixing, and serving, this spoon has a flat edge to easily scrape pans, pots, and slow cooker sides to keep my food from sticking.
What to Serve with Sugar Pie
- Ice cream: A scoop of your favorite ice cream flavor, such as butter pecan or vanilla ice cream, will add a creamy, cold contrast to the warm and sweet sugar pie.
- Whipped cream: A dollop of whipped cream can add a light, fluffy texture to your sugar pie, balancing out its dense, sugary nature. You can use store-bought whipped cream or make your own by whipping heavy cream with a bit of sugar and vanilla. This stabilized whipped cream recipe also works well.
- Fresh fruit: Slices of fresh fruit like strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries can provide a juicy, tart contrast to the rich sweetness of the sugar pie. This will also add a pop of color to your plate, making it more visually appealing.
- Nuts: Sprinkling chopped nuts, such as pecans or walnuts, over your sugar pie can add a crunchy texture and a subtle nutty flavor. Toast them lightly to bring out their natural flavors even more.
- Replacing granulated sugar: If you want to reduce the sugar content or use an alternative sweetener, consider using honey or maple syrup to achieve the desired sweetness. Remember that liquid sweeteners may affect the texture and moistness of your pie, so adjust the amount accordingly.
- Different types of sugar: If you’re out of dark brown sugar or looking for a slightly different flavor profile, consider using light brown sugar, white sugar, or powdered sugar. Brown sugar adds a somewhat caramelized taste, while powdered sugar can provide a more delicate sweetness. However, be cautious, as these sugars can slightly alter the texture and flavor of your sugar pie. Dark brown sugar will give the pie a more intense flavor and a deeper color.
- Change the pie crust: You can use a homemade pie crust instead of a refrigerated one. A frozen pie crust will work, but make sure you thaw it first. Feel free to experiment with other crusts. A graham cracker crust would also be good to try.
- Try another extract: Switch out the vanilla extract for almond or maple extract to give the pie a different flavor profile.
- Switch out the heavy cream: You can use the whole or 2% milk.
Sugar pie, a classic favorite, especially during the holidays, doesn’t have to be limited to traditional recipes. Many bakers have started creating modern variations to suit different tastes and preferences. Don’t be afraid to try something new and give an old favorite your twist!
- Spiced Sugar Pie: Add warm spices into the filling, like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves. These spices will complement the caramel flavor and add a cozy aromatic twist.
- Maple Sugar Pie: Substitute some brown sugar with pure maple syrup to infuse the pie with a delicious maple flavor. Use 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of maple syrup instead of the 2 cups of brown sugar as in the original recipe.
- Chocolate Sugar Pie: Melt some chocolate chips or chunks and drizzle them over the filling once it’s poured into the pie crust. Use a toothpick or skewer to create a marble effect.
- Coconut Sugar Pie: Add shredded or flaked coconut to the filling for a fun tropical twist. The coconut adds a hint of nuttiness and texture to the pie.
- Sugar Pie with Nuts: Add nuts to infuse different textures into your sugar pie. Pecans, walnuts, or even almonds can provide that satisfying crunch to contrast the silky smooth filling. Mix them directly into the filling, or sprinkle a layer of your favorite nuts before baking for a sugar pie with a bit of personality.
- Fruit Sugar Pie: Bakers who prefer a lighter, fruitier twist can add fruits like apples or pears into the mix. When incorporated into the filling, chopped fruit provides a pop of color and refreshing bursts of flavor that elevate your dessert.
Leftover brown sugar pie should be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It can be stored for up to 3 to 4 days.
Before serving, briefly warm the slices in the microwave or enjoy them chilled.
Can I Freeze?
Yes, you can freeze a sugar pie for 2 to 3 months!
To begin, make sure your sugar pie is completely cooled before you attempt to freeze it. This will ensure that it maintains its quality and texture. Next, wrap the pie in plastic or aluminum foil, covering the entire pie. This will help protect it from freezer burn and keep it fresh for as long as possible.
Once properly wrapped, place your pie in an airtight container or a resealable plastic bag. This extra layer of protection will also help prevent any unwanted odors from entering your pie. Label the container with the date to easily track how long it has been in the freezer.
When it’s time to enjoy your frozen sugar pie, remove it from the freezer and let it thaw at room temperature, this can take several hours, so plan to ensure your pie is ready to be served when you want it. After fully thawed, you can enjoy it at room temperature or warm it up in the oven for a few minutes.
It’s important to note that freezing may change the texture slightly.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Whisking the dry ingredients (brown sugar, flour, and salt) together ensures even distribution. Then gradually adding the wet ingredients (heavy cream, melted butter, eggs, and vanilla extract) while whisking will prevent lumps and achieve a smooth filling.
- For a smoother filling, bring the eggs and heavy cream to room temperature before mixing with the other ingredients.
- The filling will be liquid when poured into the pie crust. Don’t worry; it will set during baking and cooling to form a delicious creamy texture.
- Keep an eye on the pie during baking. It should be golden brown and set around the edges, with a slight jiggle in the middle of the pie. Cover the edges with foil if the crust starts to brown too quickly to prevent it from over-browning.
- Allow the pie to cool completely before refrigerating. This will help the pie set properly and develop its flavors. Chilling the pie for a few hours or overnight will enhance the taste and make it easier to slice.
- If you are concerned about the pie spilling in the oven, put the pie pan on a baking sheet to catch any drips or messes.
What is Sugar Pie?
Sugar pie is a simple dessert that you might encounter in northern French and Belgian cuisine, where it is known as tarte au sucre. This sweet treat has also gained popularity in Canada. Various types of sugar pies are available, and each has unique characteristics. Some versions have a leavened dough topped with beet sugar or brown sugar, while others come with a crust containing a homogeneous sugar mixture that becomes similar to caramel when baked.
One popular version of sugar pie hails from Quebec, Canada. A French Canadian Sugar Pie is an open pie without a top crust, brimming with a combination of sugar, maple syrup, cream, butter, and a touch of salt. Vanilla is the usual choice of flavoring for this delicious dessert.
Origins of Sugar Pie
Sugar pie has a fascinating history that traces back to northern French and Belgian cuisine, where it is known as tarte au sucre. It’s believed to have originated from the Amish and Shaker communities, who later brought it to North America.
It is well known as Sugar Cream Pie in the United States, especially in Indiana. In fact, since 2009, Sugar Cream Pie has been the official Indiana state pie. This delicious dessert eventually made its way to Canada, where it became widely popular.
The popularity of sugar pie can be attributed to the migration of immigrants from Northern France and Belgium to Canada. With the discovery of maple syrup in Canada, these immigrants started using it as a sweetener in their traditional tarte au sucre recipes. Today, you can find sugar pie as a holiday favorite in Quebec, where it’s often served with a dollop of whipped cream.
The influence of sugar pie in the United States can be traced back to Quaker settlers from North Carolina, who migrated to east-central Indiana in the early 19th century. As a result, sugar cream pie has become an integral part of the culinary culture in cities such as New Castle, Portland, Richmond, and Winchester.
Yes, this pie can be made a few days in advance. Once the pie has completely cooled, cover it tightly in plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container until ready to serve.
You can adapt the recipe to make mini or individual sugar pies. Use smaller pie dishes or tart pans and adjust the baking time accordingly. Keep a close eye on them because they require less baking time than a standard-sized pie.
You can blind-bake the pie crust before adding the filling to prevent a soggy crust. To do this, partially bake the crust in the oven without the filling until it just turns golden brown. This helps create a barrier and maintain the crust’s crispness when adding the filling.
Tarte au sucre is a French term that translates to “sugar pie” in English. So, yes, they are essentially the same dessert. Both sugar pies and tarte au sucre are popular in northern French and Belgian cuisine and Canada.
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- 1 pre-made 9-inch pie crust
- 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 ¾ cups heavy cream
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 4 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat your oven to 350℉. Take your pre-made pie crust from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften slightly.
- Roll out the pie crust and carefully transfer it to a greased 9-inch pie dish. Trim the excess dough around the edges and crimp the edges with your finger or a fork.
- Combine the brown sugar, all-purpose flour, and salt in a mixing bowl. Mix well.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, melted butter, eggs and vanilla extract until well combined.
- Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, whisking constantly until the filling is smooth and well blended.
- Pour the filling into a prepared pie crust, smoothing the top.
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the filling is set and the crust is golden brown. The center may be still slightly jiggly, but it will firm up as it cools.
- Remove the pie from the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
- Once cooled, refrigerate the pie for at least 2 hours or overnight to allow it to fully set and develop its flavors.
- Serve chilled. You can enjoy it as is or add a dollop of whipped cream or a sprinkle of powdered sugar on top, if desired.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.