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Pie 19 Iowa's Sour Cream Raisin

Updated: Jan 20, 2022

If you’re from Iowa or the Mid-West, I would love hear your experiences with this pie.

My 9 year old came to me and asked “what’s the pie of the week?” My reply, “Sour Cream Raisin.” Her response “Ewww Gross!”😂 My husband’s reaction wasn’t much different. For me, I think of sour cream on my tacos and raisins in my oatmeal. I’ve passed over recipes for sour cream raisin pie in my cookbooks for years, it just never sounded very appealing to me. It’s about time to shift my mindset and give IOWA’s Sour Cream Raisin Pie a fair shot.

I couldn’t find a lot of history about this pie. It is definitely specific to the Mid-West region, which makes sense with the abundance of dairy farms. It seems to be a popular pie especially in areas with heavy German decent, which makes me think it may have German origins. Raisin pie (minus the sour cream) was also popular among the Amish. The addition of sour cream or milk was added later. Funeral Pie, as the Amish call it, is given to a family after a death. It’s a reminder to family and friends during their time of grief that there is still sweetness in the world. When fresh fruit wasn’t always available, raisin pie could be made all year long and didn’t take long to prepare.

This Iowa classic starts out with a blind baked crust, a shell ready to be filled with something spectacular. Raisins are boiled in water, making them ripe and juicy. A homemade custard is prepared with milk and sour cream (of course😉). Warm spices of cloves and cinnamon are blended into the custard and the raisins gently folded in. A billowy meringue spreads over the smooth filling sealing in the deliciousness below. I have to say I was delightfully surprised by this pie. I gave my husband the first slice and he hesitantly dipped his fork in,scooping up a pea size amount, being careful to avoid the raisins😆. After the first bite he smiled and dug in for some more. This old fashioned classic is warm and inviting, and bursting with sweet flavor. It brings you back in time to Grandma’s kitchen. I served the pie with mini oatmeal raisin cookies, we even dipped the cookies into the pie filling (oh yum), and a tall glass of milk (because it’s Iowa). My youngest suggested changing the name of the pie so it sounds more appetizing. A name to match the tastiness of the pie. I think I agree. Any suggestions?

If you visit Iowa, Country Junction, in Dyersville, is where it’s at for the best Sour Cream Raisin Pie in the state. They’ve been making homemade pies for more than 25 years.

A side note, I did not intend to put a cookie at the center of the pie. After baking the meringue I thought I would go all professional( haha not) and use my new kitchen torch to brown it up even more. I kept the flame low, but literally set the meringue on fire🔥. I was able to to put it out before the whole thing when up in flames. I won’t be using the torch any time soon without further instructions 😏 #amateur

Originally published January 24, 2020

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