How to Make Cool Cream Pies
from Vanilla Cream to Strawberry Cream

Smooth and cool, cream pies are wonderful in the summer. Once you understand the principles, they are easy. Then you can take the basic vanilla pie recipe and be creative, making other pies that your family will love. And since the filling is made on the stovetop, there is no long baking time.

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and why are people going crazy over it?

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Basic Vanilla Cream Pie

Use this cream pie recipe as the basis for many other pies.


3 cups milk or light cream
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

One 9-inch baked pie shell


1. In a heavy saucepan, mix the milk, 1/3 cup sugar, and salt. Cook, stirring often with a whisk, just until the mixture begins to boil.
2. With a whisk, whip the egg yolks and whole egg together in a stainless steel bowl. Sift the cornstarch and 1/2 cup sugar together into the eggs. Whip until perfectly smooth.
3. While stirring the eggs with your whisk, drizzle the hot milk into the egg mixture. The hot milk will temper the eggs. Return the filling mixture to the heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from the heat.
4. Stir in the butter and vanilla until the butter is melted. Pour into a baked, cooled pie shell.

Printable Version

Pudding or Pie Filling?

Is it pudding or pie filling? It may be a compromise. A cream pie filling is basically a pudding or pastry cream with added cornstarch or flour. The cornstarch gives the filling structure so that it holds its shape when cut. It also reduces weeping. Pudding, without the starch, is usually softer and smoother.

More Great Cream Pies

• Banana Cream Pie.
Use a deep dish pan. Pour half the vanilla filling into the pie shell and then cover with banana slices. Cover the banana slices with the rest of the filling.

Coconut Cream Pie.
Toast one cup of unsweetened coconut. Add 2/3’s to the vanilla cream. Garnish with the remainder.

Chocolate Cream Pie.
Melt two ounces unsweetened chocolate with one ounce semisweet. Stir it into the warm vanilla filling.

Pineapple Cream Pie.
Drain the juice from a can of crushed pineapple, pressing the liquid from the fruit. Stir 2/3 cup of the well drained pineapple into the filling.

Strawberry Cream Pie.
This is a cousin to a banana cream pie and it’s just as easy if you buy strawberry glaze from the grocery store. Use a deep dish pan. Pour half the vanilla filling into the pie shell and then cover with strawberry slices. Cover the strawberry slices with the rest of the filling. Arrange strawberry slices on top of pie and cover with strawberry glaze.

Printable Version

Essential Tools for Cream Pies

You’ll need the following tools to make perfect cream pies:

A good whisk (only $6 this week)
is essential for cooking creamy fillings without burning. Get a professional quality whisk for only $6 this week.

A pastry blender
to cut the butter or shortening into the flour for your flaky pie crust.

Pie Pans
that are heavy and conduct heat evenly. Dark pans absorb instead of reflect heat to avoid soggy crusts.

A decorating set (save 20% this week)
to garnish your pie with whipped cream or meringue. Use a star tip for most work. Save 20% this week on our favorite pastry set.

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