Sour cream raisin pie. Today I’m letting you in on an old secret recipe. Just how old is anyone’s guess, but if you mention it to anyone who has had the joy of tasting it, they will probably tell you it’s a favorite.
My friend Beth loves sour cream raisin pie, so I started baking her one for her birthday. (It’s my birthday, too, yeah!) Beth doesn’t love meringue, so for her, I bake it the way my husband’s sweet Aunt Dora made it. She took a shortcut.
Aunt Dora used the whole eggs in the filling and then topped the pie with plenty of whipped cream. That is pretty darn tasty for someone like me who has an even bigger fat tooth than a sweet tooth! Bring on the butter, and bring on the cream!
Just Where Did This Wonderful Pie Originate It’s Anyone’s Guess
For me, this recipe came as part of the package deal when I married my husband. I had very few close relatives in this country because my parents immigrated here before I was born.
On the other hand, “Papa” had a tribe that included three of the most adorable unmarried aunts and lots of other great cooks on both sides of the family. Aunt Dora, the one wearing the stripes, seemed to be the queen of pies. (And cousin Norma Jean on the other side of the family.)
If you try to find out where this recipe originated, the waters are pretty murky. It appears to come from Northern European or Scandinavian roots. That makes sense because fresh fruit was not available for much of the year, but raisins were pretty easy to come by.
There are many versions of raisin pie. Some have double crusts, some have an equal amount of nuts as raisins, and some were made similar to mincemeat pies. In fact, one nickname for raisin pie is “funeral pie.”
Apparently, it was a good keeper and could be made ahead of time. It was quite commonly given as a gift to a bereaved family or served at the funeral dinner.
In this post, I have included a recipe for the crust, the filling, and the meringue, so everything is handy for you whichever way you choose to serve this fantastic pie!
Here’s How to Make Sour Cream Raisin Pie With Or Without Meringue
Whichever way you make the pie, you will begin by making the crust. Or, buying a crust is certainly acceptable as well! It needs to be a 9″ pie shell. Here’s a fantastic recipe for a crust that does not require cold butter, waxed paper, or stress of any kind. It’s so simple I call it Patty Cake Pie Crust.
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 Tbsp powdered sugar, aids in browning
- 2 drops yellow food coloring, optional
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, mix until evenly moistened, and incorporate all the flour.
- Roll the dough into a ball.
- Place the dough ball in the center of a 9-inch pie plate.
- Use your fingers to pat and push the crust into shape.
- Flute the edges of the crust if desired.
- Prick the crust all over with a fork to prevent shrinking.
- To blind bake: Bake in a 375-degree oven for about 12 to 16 minutes, and the crust is golden brown.
- Set the crust aside to cool.
- If you are doing a custard-type pie, bake as usual.
Suppose you will top the pie with meringue, then “blind bake” the empty crust. There are loads of tips online about how to do this without the crust shrinking. However, my Patty Cake Pie Crust stands up nice and tall in the oven if you prick it all over with a fork before baking.
Do This If You Want To Top Your Pie With Meringue
Before you begin cooking the filling, pour enough boiling water over the raisins, so they have time to plump up a little. I like to do this right in a glass measuring cup.
Separate the eggs. Set the yolks aside for now. Put the egg whites in a scrupulously clean steel or glass mixing bowl. Make the meringue before you make the filling. It will wait for you.
- 3 egg whites at room temperature
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 6 Tbsp sugar
- Use a scrupulously clean steel or glass bowl. Do not use a plastic bowl.
- Begin beating the egg whites with a whip attachment, then add the cream of tartar and the vanilla.
- Continue beating until soft peaks begin to form.
- Add the sugar one tablespoon at a time, beating about a minute with each spoonful.
- Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times to make sure there is no sugar clinging to the sides of the bowl.
- Taste the meringue or rub it between your fingers. It should feel smooth, not gritty. Do not under beat.
- Put meringue on top of the filling and smooth it evenly over the surface using the back of a spoon.
- Leave the meringue in the center of the pie taller and leave lots of peaks.
- Make sure the meringue touches and sticks to the crust's edges so it does not shrink.
- Bake 8-12 minutes in a 425-degree oven until the meringue is a delicate brown and the peaks are slightly darker.
- Remove the pie from the oven and set it in a draft-free spot to cool.
- Let the pie cool completely before cutting. This could take up to 2 hours.
- Cover and refrigerate leftover pie.
How To Make A Marvelous Mile High Meringue
Here are some things that will make your meringue taller and prettier.
- Use large or extra-large eggs. More egg white, more volume.
- Separate carefully. Any egg yolk left in the white will affect the height.
- Egg whites at room temperature will allow more air to be incorporated.
- Stabilize the egg whites with cream of tartar.
- Use a scrupulously clean glass or metal bowl. Never use a plastic bowl.
Add the cream of tartar and the vanilla to the egg whites. With a whip attachment, beat until soft peaks form.
Then, add the sugar a tablespoon at a time. Don’t rush this. The sugar needs to dissolve completely. You will be rewarded.
Feel the meringue between your fingers or on your tongue as you go. The sugar should become nearly unnoticeable. It should feel smooth, not gritty.
Stop every couple of tablespoons and scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved. I allowed about a minute for each tablespoon of sugar and used the time between spoonsful to tidy up the kitchen a little.
Stop when the sugar is all dissolved and the meringue holds a peak when you lift up the whip.
How To Cook Up A Delicious Raisin-Studded Filling For Your Sour Cream Raisin Pie
First, combine the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon or nutmeg in a heavy saucepan. Add the egg yolks and sour cream. Cook over medium heat, constantly stirring, until the mixture thickens to a pudding-like consistency.
Drain the raisins well and add them to the filling. Stir until they are evenly distributed.
Pour the filling into the baked pie shell.
Pile the meringue onto the pie filling. I like to use the back of a spoon to spread it around. Leave it higher in the middle and make lots of peaks.
Carefully bring the meringue to the crust’s edges all around the pie. Make sure it sticks to the crust. This critical step keeps the meringue from shrinking as it bakes.
Bake it in a 425-degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until the meringue turns a beautiful golden tan and the tips are a slightly darker shade of brown.
Not A Meringue Fan How About A Mountain Of Whipped Cream Instead
Not a fan of meringue? Think it’s too much work? Aunt Dora was a cutie pie, but she was a smart cookie, too. She saved time and energy by making the same filling, but she used the whole eggs and didn’t bake the pie crust first. By eliminating two steps, she made this pie just as tasty but lots faster.
Cook the filling, put it in an unbaked crust. I sprinkled a little cinnamon sugar on mine just for good measure! Bake it at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350-degree and bake it for about 30 minutes. The surface of the pie will be a lovely golden brown.
Let it cool and slather on the whipped cream or your favorite whipped topping.
- If you top the pie WITH meringue:
- 9" baked pie shell
- 1 Tbsp plus 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon (or 3/4 tsp nutmeg, you decide)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups dairy sour cream
- 1 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 3 eggs, separated
- If you bake it WITHOUT meringue:
- 9" UNBAKED pie shell
- everything else is the same except you use to whole egg in the filling
WHEN TOPPING WITH MERINGUE:
Pour boiling water over the raisins and let them plump up while you make the filling. You can do this right in a heat-proof glass measuring cup. Drain them well before adding them to the sour cream mixture.
Combine the dry ingredients in a heavy saucepan and mix them well. Add the sour cream, lemon juice, and egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, constantly stirring until the mixture thickens.
Fold in the well-drained raisins, and pour into a baked 9" pie shell.
Top with meringue and bake in a 425-degree oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown with brown-tipped peaks.
Meringue recipe follows.
IF YOU DONT WANT MERINGUE:
Do everything the same except:
Use an unbaked 9" pie shell.
Don't separate the eggs. Use the whole egg in the filling.
Bake for 10 minutes at 425 degrees, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for about 30 minutes or until the surface is golden brown. Chill and serve with lots of whipped cream!
Now you have the recipe for sour cream raisin pie! I hope you try it, and I bet if you do, it just might turn out to be your favorite, too! Do you have a favorite pie? Is it a secret, or would you share your special recipe?
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