I absolutely adore Sour Cream Raisin Pie and if you’re here, I hope you do, too. If you’ve just gotten an email or landed here by accident, don’t turn up your nose like I think you might be doing right now! Why? Because almost everyone I have mentioned this pie to does that!
They usually change their mind at first taste! Trust me on this, it is divine – if you like raisins, that is!
About Sour Cream Raisin Pie:
Just a quick aside if you’re wondering why this post came in your email on a random Tuesday? (If you’re not on my email list, you can sign up on the right if you’re on a laptop or a few posts down if you’re on your cell.) Well, it’s because March 14th has been dubbed as National Pi day, Pi being the circumference of a circle: 3.14… What better way to celebrate Pi day than with a Pie (which is also a circle, btw!)
This recipe is a custard pie; a creamy, dreamy pudding-like filling studded with raisins. The sour cream comes in as a thick, tangy sub for the milk/cream normally found in any custard. Since raisins are sweet, the tanginess in the sour cream custard balances that sweetness. That’s a magic alchemy right there!
Then this pie is topped with a cloud of meringue! A lot of meringue. You might even say it’s a bit excessive, but why not go over the top?! I love the delish pudding-like custard contrasting against the light and airy meringue.
Making Sour Cream Raisin Pie:
Sour Cream Raisin Pie can be made two ways.
- First, the Old Fashioned Sour Cream Raisin Pie, entirely cooked in the oven. I have had that recipe on my site for ages. It is shown above.
- The other is this more modern cooked on the stovetop and then placed in the oven to cook the meringue recipe. That’s the recipe right here, right now!
See, this pie sets up best chilled (although tastes great chilled or room temperature, when at room temp will not cut as cleanly and might slump a little) and cuts beautifully when chilled. Chilling can make meringue weepy. It’s a bit of a conundrum – how to follow safe food rules and have both the pie and meringue perfect.
The recipe has a few tricks and turns. The recipe has them all, but here is a quick overview to explain some of the motions in more detail and explain the why…
You’re going to see two stabilizers in that meringue, and it has to be placed on a hot pie filling so the meringue can cook through.
Before you start to cook your custard, you’ll get your pie crust made, baked and filled first. Then soak and drain the raisins with takes some time. Then make a little cooked cornstarch water mixture to go in the meringue. Mix together cream of tarter (another stabilizer) and sugar so it’s at the ready.
Start the meringue as the filling is cooking if you’re good at fast-moving quick multitasking. If not, be sure to start the meringue as soon as the filling is done – no taking a break or getting distracted.
When the meringue is finished, immediately (and I am so bossy – but I do mean immediately) dollop the meringue all around the outside edges of the pie, then the center. Work fast as you seal the meringue to the crust and then quickly smooth or swirl as you wish.
Now, this meringue is a bit fussy but it comes from Cook’s Illustrated and is well worth an extra step or two to have the nicely stabilized meringue. I use this same meringue here as on this Lemon Meringue Pie. (That’s also a Cook’s recipe.) Feel free to sub in any meringue recipe of your own, though if you want to.
Storing Sour Cream Raisin Pie:
Since this is a custard pie (with eggs) do be aware of how long it is out at room temperature. Especially on a hot day. Be careful, too, with making meringues (even double-stabilized ones like this) on a hot, humid day. The meringue can sweat and get beads of moisture and become sticky.
You’re going to have to be aware of timing and balance that with serving. For keeping longer, refrigerate the pie. After refrigeration, the pie is only going to be at its absolute peak the same day. It will still taste good on subsequent days but will begin to fade a bit as it ages. Don’t we all, lol!
- The price of eggs is crazy now, but all the usual tips for buying eggs still apply. Watch for sales before holidays, especially “brunchy ones” like Mother’s Day and especially Easter. Check pricing at your buyer’s club and your discount groceries.
- Sour cream is another perishable dairy and the same rules apply for shopping for sour cream as for eggs. When storing, turn the carton upside down (make sure it won’t leak) and it will stay fresher much longer.
- Dried fruit like raisins will go on sale now and then but are normally at rock bottom (along with most dried fruit) around Thanksgiving through Christmas. They’re another item that can be picked up at the buyer’s club or discount grocery.
I hope you guys enjoy this recipe and I’d love to hear what you think if it is new to you! It is truly one of my fave recipes and always takes me back in time to my hometown in Northwest Iowa. I mean, you can hardly get any more old-fashioned and homey than a pie, especially this one!
Take care all,
Sour Cream Raisin Pie
- Total Time: 1 hour plus soaking & cooling
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
- Category: desserts
Have all ingredients ready; this is most definitely not a measure and ready it as you go recipe. Timing is critical. Have a prebaked and cooled pie shell ready and read the directions through.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
For the custard:
- 1 cup raisins
- hot water to cover raisins
- 3 eggs, divided
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups granulated white sugar
- 2 cups sour cream (full fat)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the meringue:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature (use the three left over from the custard plus one more egg white.
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the custard:
First, soak raisins in hot water to cover for at least an hour up to four hours. Drain very well, reserving the raisins and discarding the water.
In a large saucepan stir together 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar and the flour. Add sour cream but do not stir yet. Separate eggs. Reserve the three whites for meringue. Add the yolks to the saucepan. Add the vanilla. Stir mixture together. Stir in the raisins.
Cook over medium heat, constantly stirring until the mixture is thick and bubbly. Turn off the heat, place a film of plastic wrap directly on top of filling to help hold in the heat, and cover with a lid.
For the meringue:
Mix together sugar and cream of tartar, set aside.
In a small saucepan, add the tablespoon of cornstarch, then whisk in 1/3 cup water. Bring to a bare simmer and cook, whisking occasionally, until it becomes just thickened and translucent looking, 1 to 2 minutes at most. Remove from heat, transfer to a small bowl (so it doesn’t continue to cook from the heat of the pan) and let cool slightly to barely lukewarm as the eggs are being whisked.
If using stand mixer, fit it with the whisk. Beat egg whites and vanilla at medium-low speed until foamy and frothy. Turn the speed up to medium-high and add, a tablespoon at a time, the cream of tartar and sugar mixture. Beat until incorporated (it won’t feel grainy when you run a bit between your fingers) and the mixture forms soft, billowy mounds.
While continuing to whip, add the cooked cornstarch mixture, about a tablespoon at a time. As it’s added, place it between the beaters and the side of the bowl. Continue to beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, about two to three minutes longer.
If filling is not still hot, during the last minutes of whipping the egg whites, remove plastic and return to very low heat for just a minute or two to warm. Working very quickly, spread the warm raisin filling mixture into the pre-baked pie crust. Smooth it out.
Still working quickly, using rubber spatula, immediately distribute dollops of meringue evenly around edge first and then the then center of pie, attaching meringue to pie crust to prevent shrinking. Top off with any remaining meringue. Use the back of spoon to create attractive swirls and peaks in the meringue.
Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes. (Always check early, ovens vary.) Cool at room temperature for up to 3 hours then chill for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Keywords: Desserts, Dried Fruit, Eggs, Fruit Desserts, meringue, Pie, Raisins, Sour cream