Make Ahead

Sour Cream-Raisin Pie

May 28, 2015
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Makes 1 pie
Author Notes

This is a recipe that originally came from Naselle, Washington where my step-dad lived in the 70s. When he and my mom got together, he talked about few foods more often than this pie sold at a small family-run cafe. Turns out the world is small and Washington state is smaller and, ten years into their marriage, my mom ended up working with the niece of the original pie shop owner.

My family put their own twist on this pie (the biggest being the removal of the meringue topping) and a new tradition was born.

The pie crust is a recipe that I keep in the notes on my phone called 'Pie Crust Cheat Sheet' because you never know when you'll need a great pie crust. It is adapted slightly from a very early printing of the Meta Givens cookbook. This recipe is for a double-crust 9-inch pie. You will only need half; I use the leftovers to make cheaters' cinnamon rolls [what's that] or to stick the dough in the freezer for later use. —Hannah Petertil

What You'll Need
  • For the pre-baked pie crust:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup shortening, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 cup ice water (measure 1/2 cup of water and fill the rest of the measuring cup with ice; refrigerate until needed), or as needed
  • For the sour cream-raisin filling:
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
  • 2 2/3 cups milk, divided
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  1. For the pre-baked pie crust:
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt.
  3. Using a pastry cutter or the back of a fork, cut the shortening into the flour until it looks like grains of rice.
  4. While stirring the flour mixture, slowly pour in the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough just starts to come together. You may not use all of the water. Using your hands, form 2 equal-sized balls of dough, wrap in plastic wrap, and place in the fridge to cool for about 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 425° F. Roll out one ball to fit a 9-inch pie pan, transfer it to the pan, and make impressions along the edges with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes then lower the heat to 375° F and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the crust is lightly golden-brown. Remove from oven and let cool while you prepare the filling.
  1. For the sour cream-raisin filling:
  2. In a large saucepan, mix together the cornstarch and 2/3 cup of milk. Turn on the heat to medium-high and add the remaining milk, sugar, salt, and raisins. Stir consistently until the mixture begins to thicken.
  3. Scoop 1/2 cup of the mixture out of the saucepan and use it to temper the eggs: While whisking the eggs, slowly pour the mixture in. Add the egg mixture into the pan and cook until it reaches a thick, custard-like consistency, whisking constantly. The end result should be a bit thicker than you might be accustomed to as the addition of the sour cream in the next step will thin the filling.
  4. Remove from heat and whisk in both vanilla and sour cream. Let stand for 30 minutes to allow it to cool then add it to the pre-baked pie crust. Place in the refrigerator until cooled through, up to 4 hours or preferably overnight, and serve!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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28 Reviews

Prariebek April 21, 2021
This pie did Work for me. The customer did not set up and I followed it to a T did everything exactly like the recipe said. The only thing I can think of is I used 2% milk instead of whole, which it did not specify whether or not to use. I was pretty bummed out because it was a gift for a good friend on his birthday and we were meeting up and the pie still was not set ; so I gave it to him all loose and jiggly and asked him to put it in his fridge, in hopes the custard would set, but it never did. :-( will not try again!
Prariebek April 21, 2021
Oops I meant To type DID NOT work for me! The CUSTARD DIDNT SET!
John March 21, 2019
Had no problems with this custard recipe! Carefully temper the eggs and keeps whisking so it doesn't burn, the pudding came to a boil but whisking to keep it smooth and firmed up real nice, Added Sour cream (used Horizon brand) and it stayed thick like pudding. Overnight in the fridge it firmed up to appropriate consistency.... The recipe is good, keep trying at it!
Heidi November 23, 2018
Much like my recipe (I also grew up in rural SD), but I add a quarter teaspoon of ground cloves to the custard at the end of cooking. Ask David about kuchen, done the rural
SD way, that’s another classic regional favorite!
Margaret P. January 23, 2020
I also grew up in rural SD and my mother used to make this my brother loved it and so do I
Will have to try this.
Sarah D. September 18, 2018
I love the story behind this pie! I’d like to know more about your lemony salad and chocolate tarts as well!!
Patty E. September 15, 2018
My grandma used to make this pie and my father in law fell in love with it. Sadly most of her recipes, including this one, weren’t written down. Thanks so much for sharing it!
Dina January 13, 2017
I'm going to make this someday just because I loved your story!
Hannah P. May 3, 2017
Thanks, Dina! That made my day :) I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Babette's S. January 13, 2017
This makes me recall the prune whip pie my 88 year old Mum used to make when I was a kid, she also made a stewed plum pie that was awesome. I've always preferred currants to raisins, but I do have a fond memory of having raisin pie a few times long ago, it was delicious. I'd be tempted to flavor the filling in this with some would be taste like rum-raisin ice cream.
Maria August 1, 2016
Made it exactly as written, however my custard did not set. Scooped it all out of the pie shell and re cooked, unfortunately it then turned grainy, could not use an immersion blender to smooth it as the raisins were in it so I hand whipped it as much as I could, thought of adding another egg yolk but did not want to risk it. What should I have done? Also, can arrowroot be used instead of cornstarch in the recipe or no because of the dairy content?
Julie S. September 7, 2015
Let the filling cool before adding sour cream, mix gently, then pour!
Terri November 14, 2019
I haven't made this recipe yet, but as I was reading the comments about the filling failing to set, this idea occurred to me too. Did you get a chance to actually try this method?
Sara O. September 2, 2015
Okay, Hannah - you're going to have to walk us through pie crust cinnamon rolls - a new one to me - please!
Carol September 2, 2015
What happens to the other ball of dough for pie crust? Is it just extra to be used for something else? I really want to try making this. Looks good.
Bruce Y. September 2, 2015
I'm sure that's the case, so you could just cut the crust recipe in half. Half of 3/4 cup of shortening is 6 Tbl, or 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbl, depending on how you want to measure it out.
Hannah P. September 2, 2015
I just like to have a second ball of dough on the off chance I do a bad job rolling out the first one or want to make pie crust cinnamon rolls, which are a personal favorite. Or you can toss it in the freezer and save some time next time you need a pie!
Carol September 2, 2015
Thanks for the replies! I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing something. I'll most like need it for the not-so off chance I do a bad job of rolling!! Can't wait to try this. My husband grew up in Minnesota and this sound like something he would love.
DB September 2, 2015
Oh, Hannah! I grew up in Minnesota (home to many Finns), father's ABSOLUTE favorite was sour cream raisin pie. I encourage everyone to keep practicing the custard (use whole milk sour cream, organic if you can, as the fat content is higher). Recipes for this type of pie are elusive, and typically kept "in-family". Thank you for sharing - I wish my dad was still here to enjoy!
Bruce Y. September 2, 2015
"whole milk sour cream" doesn't make sense. Sour cream is made from cream, which has a much higher fat content than whole milk. Is there a product that is labeled "whole milk sour cream"?
Amanda T. September 3, 2015
There is low-fat sour cream. She is referring to full fat, whole milk sour cream.
Talia R. August 4, 2015
This is so gorgeous, Hannah. I can't wait to make it (or make you make it for me!)
NoreenMiye August 3, 2015
More Naselle details, please! I graduated from NHS in 1983 and remember the orange tree... And oh the pies...
ori July 22, 2015
same here, very watery filling, are you sure its not supposed to go back into the oven??
the filling is fine until you add the sour cream, the cream makes it watery.
After a full night in the fridge, it was still very runny..
i had to bake it to make the filling firm again
Hannah P. August 3, 2015
Hi Ori! Sorry to hear the filling came out watery. When cooking the mixture in step two go ahead and cook it until it is very thick. It might take more than four minutes but be sure to stir consistently so you don't risk burning the cream. The amount of time it take to thicken can very a lot in my experience making this pie. Hope this helps! I'll go ahead and change the wording in the recipe itself.
ori August 4, 2015
thank you hannah,
i did cook it until very thick, it became watery again after i had added the sour cream.
baking it made it firm again, and my wife loved it!!
thank you Hannah
Paula B. July 4, 2015
I was so excited to try this pie I ran to the store right away for ingredients. Unfortunately my pie didn't turn out, the filling was watery. I think I'll have to try it again and next time let the milk mixture thinker a bit more before taking off the heat. Great flavor though. I'll just have to eat it as a cold soupy custard this time.
Hannah P. August 3, 2015
Hi Paula! The trick is letting the custard get very thick before adding the sour cream. How long you cook it can very a bit depending on personal preference (and the type of stove). I've changed the recipe wording to indicate this. Let me know how it turns out next time! I'm glad the you were able to enjoy it even as a soupy custard.