Sour Cream Raisin Pie

63 Comments

Right before my 10th grade school year, our family moved from New York to Utah. At that time I don’t think I could have located Utah on a map, although geography has never been one of my strengths.

Salt Lake City was quite different to me, in so many ways. Regarding the food scene, well, there was none. Not that I was a modern foodie in 1970, but my mother certainly was.

There was no Chinatown, no German deli, not even a cheese shop. In fact, Salt Lake City remained in the culinary dead zone for a long time, until nearby ski resorts like Park City, where we lived, became popular to the world.

After graduating high school, I moved west for college, but when I went home for visits, there was one restaurant that my mother and I would lunch at when we shopped in Salt Lake City – it was our only choice – Marie Callender’s.

Because of having been raised and fed by my mother, who was a chef in her own right, I wasn’t a burger and sandwich eater. But there were a few things on the Marie Callender’s menu that I liked, especially the wilted bacon salad. Plus I always had sour cream raisin pie for dessert.

I remember it well – the creamy filling with the soft raisins and the meringue on top. And even back then I wasn’t much of a dessert eater.

So recently I was shocked to come across a sour cream raisin pie whilst browsing on Epicurious.com. It’s funny how food-related memories come rushing back.

I decided to go online and check the spelling of Marie Callender for the sake of this post, and discovered that her restaurants are still around. Sadly, neither my wilted bacon salad nor this pie is on their menu anymore.

But there is an interesting story about Marie Callender, who was a real person and a pie baker from California. I never thought about Marie possibly being a real person.

These days, if I were to pass by a Marie Callender’s restaurant, I’d turn my head and give a little chortle. Sorry Ms Callender. It’s just not my type of restaurant. But back in the days when I had no other choice, Ms. Callender satisfied my gastronomic needs.

I’m making this pie in her honor. Below, a young and older Marie Callender.

Here’s a sour cream raisin pie recipe, from Epicurious.com.

Sour Cream Raisin Pie
printable recipe below

1 cup raisins
Pastry dough
Pie weights
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a bowl soak raisins in water to cover by 2 inches at least 8 hours and up to 1 day. Drain raisins in a sieve. I also let them “dry” a bit on paper towels.


On a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin, roll out dough into a 14-inch round (about 1/8″ thick) and fit into a 9-inch glass pie plate.

Trim dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang, and crimp edge decoratively. Chill shell until firm, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Lightly prick bottom of shell all over with a fork and line shell with foil. Fill foil with pie weights and bake shell in middle of oven for 15 minutes.

Carefully remove foil and weights and bake shell until golden, about 8 minutes more. Cool shell in pan on a rack.

Reduce temperature to 400 degrees F.

Separate eggs. Chill whites until ready to use.

In a bowl whisk together yolks and sour cream and whisk in 1/2 cup sugar, flour, vanilla, cloves, nutmeg, salt, and raisins. Pour filling into shell and bake in middle of oven for 10 minutes.d


Reduce temperature to 350 degrees F and bake pie 30-40 minutes more, or until filling is set.

Remove pie from the oven but keep temperature at 350 degrees F.

In another bowl with an electric mixer beat whites until they just hold soft peaks.

Gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, beating until meringue just holds stiff peaks.

Spread meringue over warm pie, covering filling completely and making sure meringue touches shell all the way around.

Bake pie in middle of oven until meringue is golden, about 10 minutes. Cool pie on rack and serve at room temperature.

This is absolutely wonderful.

I had a piece of warm pie, but it was a bit too wobbly,

So I let the pie come to room temperature.

It was magnificent, and so much like what I remember. The only negative might be the amount of sugar. If I make this pie again, I would only add 1/2 cup of sugar to the pie filling.

Keep in mind how lovely this pie would be during the holidays, made with dried cranberries!

 

 

63 thoughts on “Sour Cream Raisin Pie

  1. I can see why you loved this pie as a child and glad you still like it. I also find some old dessert recipes are too sweet; I eat far less sugar than I did years ago. I like the cranberry suggestion too :)

    • Thank you Kay. Yes, I think the cranberry version of this pie, a pumpkin pie and a crunchy pecan chocolate pie would all be perfect for a holiday event!

  2. What memories you give me today. Living in the Pacific Northwest for a huge chunk of my life, I often stopped at Marie Callender’s for lunch. I’d have the soup of the day and a slice of pie. My favorite was chocolate cream or apple, but on occasion I’d go for a slice of the sour cream raisin pie. Thanks for such a lovely food memory and a great pie recipe.

    • I wonder why it’s off the menu today? Could we have been the only two who thought much of it? Are you American and live in Sweden?

  3. Oh my!!!! My Italian grandmother made an almost identical tart with crème fraîche and she soaked the raisins in alcohol, cognac, rum, Armagnac. It was delicious. I have not eaten this in 30 years, since her death but now am going to make it as soon as possible. Might have to get Stuart to make it for me as my hand will be out of action for quite a while to come yet.

    • I almost soaked them in a little ruby port, but then wasn’t sure if that would affect the custard. Plus, they really needed to be dry, so I’m not sure if it’s doable, but I can’t wait to hear about your version! Hope you can use your hand soon!

  4. Oh, boy! This brings back memories of my one and only visit to a Marie Callender’s in Anaheim, California, although I didn’t have the sour cream and raisin pie (my memory of that pie is from Prince Edward Island). The photograph of the elderly Marie looks just like Mrs. Doubtfire!

    I have to make this pie soon, Mimi – it really does take me back to summers on the island.

  5. Love this. I wonder why some of these classics are so hard to find. We visited a roadside cafe not long ago that had buttermilk pie on the menu — I can’t tell you how long it’s been. Same for this one. Thanks for the memory.

  6. I like the idea of the cranberries for a holiday pie. What nice memories, too! I live in the PNW but haven’t seen a Marie Callendar’s restaurant around here, but I do see her pies in the frozen section.

  7. I love this story. And thank you for the recipe. I have had this pie! I’ve never been to a Marie Callender’s, but I had this pie in a in a similar cuisine desert. I was in the middle of nowhere at a little tiny diner that had the most ordinary food. It was a nothing little place. But they had raisin pie, and I had never heard of it! So of course I had it and I loved it!

  8. Mimi, what an interesting read – that must’ve been a culture shock for you in the extreme moving from busting New York. My husband’s actually been to Salt Lake City, to the University, and was taken to Callendars bakery. Lovely recipe too, and so well documented and photographed. Love it. xx

  9. One of my favorite pies! I have a really, really old recipe that I make and mine has a cup of sugar! That little bit of flour appears to really help the texture, too. I’ll try it next time! Gorgeous photos, Mimi!

    • Really? I haven’t seen this pie anywhere since I had it when I lived in Utah. I mean,not on a blog or anywhere except for when I searched for it on Epicurious. Well it is good!

  10. oh yum sounds delicious tho i would use sultanas or cranberries rather than raisins. cheers sherry

Leave a Reply. I love 'em!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.