Change-up this classic vanilla cream pie recipe with our variations for dark chocolate cream pie, banana cream pie, and coconut cream pie. Not a fan of meringue? Top with whipped cream instead!

Source: Better Homes and Gardens

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Jason Donnelly

Recipe Summary

prep:
50 mins
bake:
20 mins at 325°
cool:
1 hr 30 mins
chill:
3 hrs to 6 hrs
Servings:
8
Yield:
8 slices
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Vanilla Cream Pie

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Prepare Baked Pastry Shell. Separate egg yolks from egg whites. Set aside yolks for filling and whites for meringue.

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  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare Meringue for Pie before preparing filling; set aside meringue.

  • For filling, in a medium saucepan stir together sugar and cornstarch. Gradually stir in half-and-half. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thickened and bubbly; reduce heat. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

  • Gradually stir about 1 cup of the hot mixture into egg yolks; return to remaining hot mixture in saucepan. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly; reduce heat. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla.

  • Pour hot filling into baked pastry shell. Immediately spread meringue over filling, sealing to edge of pastry. Using the back of a spoon, swirl meringue to form high, decorative peaks. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden and a thermometer registers 160°F.* Cool on a wire rack 1 1/2 hours. Chill 3 to 6 hours before serving; cover pie or longer storage.

*Tip

To measure the doneness of the meringue, insert an instant-read thermometer into the center of the meringue, holding the thermometer at an angle.

Coconut Cream Pie

Prepare as directed, except stir in 1 cup toasted flaked coconut with the butter and vanilla. Sprinkle the finished pie with 1/3 cup toasted flaked coconut.Per slice: Same as above except 576 calories, 11 g protein, 65 g carbohydrate, 31 g total fat (18 g sat. fat), 2 g fiber, 42 g total sugar, 367 mg sodium

Banana Cream Pie

Prepare as directed, except before adding the filling to the baked pastry shell, arrange 3 medium bananas, sliced, in bottom of pastry. If desired, sprinkle the finished pie with crushed vanilla wafers and drizzle with caramel ice cream topping.Per slice: Same as above except 522 calories, 67 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 40 g total sugar, 13% Vitamin A, 5% Vitamin C, 10% iron

Dark Chocolate Cream Pie

Prepare as directed, except increase sugar to 1 cup and stir in 3 oz. chopped unsweetened chocolate with the half-and-half. If desired, sprinkle the finished pie with grated or shaved milk and/or bittersweet chocolate.Per slice: Same as above except: 576 calories, 11 g protein, 66 g carbohydrate, 30 g total fat (16 g sat. fat), 2 g fiber, 41 g total sugar, 316 mg sodium, 9% calcium, 19% iron

Nutrition Facts (Vanilla Cream Pie)

483 calories; total fat 24g; saturated fat 12g; polyunsaturated fat 3g; monounsaturated fat 8g; cholesterol 139mg; sodium 314mg; potassium 222mg; carbohydrates 57g; fiber 1g; sugar 35g; protein 10g; trans fatty acid 1g; vitamin a 624IU; vitamin c 1mg; thiamin 0mg; riboflavin 0mg; niacin equivalents 2mg; vitamin b6 0mg; folate 58mcg; vitamin b12 0mcg; calcium 103mg; iron 2mg.

Pastry for a Single-Crust Pie

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • In a medium bowl stir together flour and salt. Using pastry blender, cut in shortening and butter until pieces are pea size.

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Instructions Checklist
  • Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the water over part of the flour mixture; toss with a fork. Push moistened pastry to side of bowl. Repeat moistening flour mixture, using 1 tablespoon of the water at a time, until flour mixture is moistened. Gather flour mixture into a ball, kneading gently until it holds together.

Instructions Checklist
  • On a lightly floured surface use your hands to slightly flatten pastry. Roll pastry from center to edges into a circle about 12 inches in diameter.

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  • Wrap pastry circle around the rolling pin. Unroll into a 9-inch pie plate. Ease pastry into pie plate without stretching it.

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  • Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond edge of pie plate. Fold under extra pastry even with the plate's edge. Crimp edge as desired. Do not prick pastry. Fill and bake as directed in recipes.

Nutrition Facts (Pastry for a Single-Crust Pie)

191 calories; total fat 12g; saturated fat 5g; polyunsaturated fat 2g; monounsaturated fat 4g; cholesterol 15mg; sodium 187mg; potassium 27mg; carbohydrates 18g; fiber 1g; sugar 0g; protein 2g; trans fatty acid 1g; vitamin a 194IU; vitamin c 0mg; thiamin 0mg; riboflavin 0mg; niacin equivalents 1mg; vitamin b6 0mg; folate 44mcg; vitamin b12 0mcg; calcium 10mg; iron 1mg.

Meringue for Pie

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • In a large bowl, allow egg whites to stand at room temperature 30 minutes.

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  • In a 1-cup liquid measuring cup whisk to combine the water and cornstarch. Microwave 45 to 60 seconds or until boiling, stirring once.

  • Add vanilla and cream of tartar to egg whites. Beat with an electric mixer on medium 1 minute or until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high. Gradually beat in the warm cornstarch mixture until stiff, glossy peaks form (tips stand straight).

  • Immediately spread meringue over hot pie filling (swirling to make peaks, if desired), carefully sealing to edge of pastry to prevent shrinkage. Bake as directed in recipes. Your meringue recipe is done when it reaches 160 degrees F.

Five-Egg White Meringue:

Prepare as directed, except use 5 egg whites and 1 cup sugar. In Step 2, beat about 6 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Continue as directed in Step 3.Per serving: 109 cal., 0 g total fat, 0 mg chol., 34 mg sodium, 26 g carbo., 0 g fiber, 2 g pro. Exchanges: 1 1/2 Other Carbo.

Meringue Recipe for Pie Food Safety

Your meringue recipe is safe to eat once it's reached 160 degrees F. To test, insert an instant-read thermometer into the center of the meringue, holding the thermometer at an angle.

Nutrition Facts (Meringue for Pie)

59 calories; total fat 0g; saturated fat 0g; polyunsaturated fat 0g; monounsaturated fat 0g; cholesterol 0mg; sodium 28mg; potassium 59mg; carbohydrates 13g; fiber 0g; sugar 13g; protein 2g; trans fatty acid 0g; vitamin a 0IU; vitamin c 0mg; thiamin 0mg; riboflavin 0mg; niacin equivalents 0mg; vitamin b6 0mg; folate 0mcg; vitamin b12 0mcg; calcium 0mg; iron 0mg.
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