I've been reading books from Canada and Alaska this year, and along the way I read a handful of books about Hutterites, a religious sect similar in belief to Mennonites and Amish, but different in the sense that they live communally.They are best known for their communities in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, although there are still some in the United States as well. They use a lot of traditional recipes, and after reading Secrets of a Hutterite Kitchen by Mary-Ann Kirkby, I wanted to try baking a few. Most of the recipes included in that book are as originally written - enough quantities to feed the entire community. 110 eggs... 24 cups of poppy seeds... etc. Luckily the author worked with others to convert a few into a quantity appropriate for the home chef!
The first recipe I wanted to try was the Zucker (or Sugar) Pie, one that the author had a fond memory of from her childhood in the community. It reminded me a lot of the Hoosier Sugar Pie we used to make at the tearoom I worked at in Greencastle, Indiana. It would not surprise me if that pie had Amish origins. Hoosier and Zucker do kind of sound the same. The baker I worked with at the tearoom had an unusual way of making that pie - she'd sprinkle the sugar, spices, and flour into the crust and pour the cream over it, barely mixing it before baking. This recipe has you mix all the wet ingredients together and pour into the crust. And just like the Hoosier sugar pie, it is not full in the crust. I also overbaked the edges on this one (that's what I get for buying a storebought crust instead of making my own. My non-Hutterite but skilled baker grandmother would be horrified!)
The cinnamon is nice but phew, this pie is SWEET. One thing that became clear in reading the Kirkby is that most Hutterites have a flat-out sweet tooth. They even use their allowances to buy commercial sugar snacks to multiply their sweet pies and cookies. I have grown to prefer a little more balance to the sweet. But if you are a straight-sweet person, this is probably for you.
Zucker Pie (Sugar Pie)
1 cup thick cream
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp cinnamon
Beat all the ingredients together and pour into unbaked pie crust. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 350 F for 35-40 minutes.