How Sugar Cream Pie Became A Beloved Indiana Treat

If you take a trip to the great state of Indiana, you'll be able to find a variety of local favorites, from breaded pork tenderloin to sweet corn and popcorn (via Thumbwind). It's clear that Hoosiers love simple comfort food, as one of their most popular dishes involves topping mashed potatoes with chicken and noodles, according to Food Network.

If there is one food that Hoosiers are undoubtedly attached to, it's their sugar cream pie, which they love so much that it's even listed alongside the state flag and state flower as the unofficial state pie (via Visit Indiana). However, Indiana isn't the only state to try to legalize its passion for a specific pie. Florida voted key lime in as their official state pie, and the Texas House of Representatives claimed pecan pie as theirs, according to Slate. In 2017, Oregon declared marionberry to be their official state pie based on the man-bred marionberry from Oregon State University.

While Indiana has yet to vote their beloved sugar cream pie into law, Hoosiers still hold the scrumptious dessert in high esteem due to its rich history in their home state.

Shaker and Amish communities made sugar cream pie with simple ingredients

Before it was known as sugar cream pie, this emblematic dessert was called "desperation pie" because people were making it out of desperation when seasonal ingredients weren't available. Back in the 18th and 19th centuries, Shaker and Amish groups used sugar, cream, flour, and other simple ingredients to make a pie that could feed a crowd, reports Atlas Obscura. The earliest recorded recipe is from 1816, the same year Indiana became a state, according to Historic Indianapolis.

When fancier foods were harder to find during World War II, many Hoosiers turned to sugar cream pie because it's made only of pantry ingredients and dairy. reports WRTV. An entrepreneur named Duane "Wick" Wickersham capitalized on the popularity of sugar cream pies and started selling them out of his car in 1944, according to Wick's Pies. Today, Wick's Pies has exploded in popularity, largely due to the sugar cream pie's success, and they now make 10,000 pies in an eight-hour day, per Wick's Pies.

Hoosiers pushed to make sugar cream pie state official in 2009, and the State Senate actually passed the resolution, says Visit Indiana. Unsurprisingly, Wick's Pies' President Mike Wickersham was all for it. "From a sentimental point of view, that would make my dad [Duane Wickersham] feel good," Wickersham told Winchester News-Gazette. However, the governor never got ahold of it, and today, the beloved dessert is state official only in the hearts of Hoosiers (via WFYI).