My Search for the Best Southern Sugar Pie

October 11, 2021 by Crystal

Homemade Pie Crust on white kitchen table
Photo Credit: GreenArt_Photography /

Pie is Better than Cake. There, I said it!

I love pie. Pecan, Lemon Meringue, Key Lime pie, you name it. So when I won my choice of desserts at my daughter’s school carnival cake wheel, I the choice was easy. As I looked over the many dessert options, most store-bought or donated from a bakery, I saw a beautiful pie labeled Southern Sugar Pie. It was clearly homemade, and by someone who knew what they were doing, so I snapped it up. The name Southern Sugar Pie also intrigued me. My mom’s family is from rural East Texas, so my grandmother and both of my great grandmothers knew a thing or two about southern home cooking, but I had never heard of southern sugar pie before. Wow, was I missing out. It might be my new favorite dessert on the planet, right up there with the Quatro Leches Cake from La Duni and my grandmother’s lemon meringue pie.

I happily carried my pie home, eager to make a cup of coffee and enjoy a slice. As soon as I unwrapped the pie, the kitchen filled with the aroma of sugary goodness, like a sugar cookie exploded in my kitchen. It was so intense that my husband and daughter could smell it from the other end of the house. We dug right in. Who needs coffee anyway? As good as it smelled, it tasted even better. That pie didn’t last the day. I managed to save a piece for my mother-in-law, who has an insatiable sweet tooth, but that was no easy feat. We devoured it, and we didn’t even bother to top it with ice cream or whipped cream. Oddly enough, it really didn’t need anything to cut the sweetness as so many cakes and pies do. The feeling was unanimous. It was quite possibly the yummiest dessert the three of us had ever tasted. No doubt about it, I simply had to have the recipe.

Luckily, the parent(s) who made the pie had labeled it with their daughter’s name and grade, so I could find their contact information in the school directory. I felt more than a little awkward, almost stalkerish. At the very least, I wanted to share how much we enjoyed the delicious sugar pie, and, with any luck, they would be willing to share the recipe. No such luck! Apparently, this southern sugar pie recipe “is a secret family heirloom that cannot be shared with anyone outside the family.” Drats, no wonder it was so darn good! I only wished I had taken some photos for reference before we ate it. It never occurred to me that I might want to write a blog post about it!

And so the search for the world’s best southern sugar pie began…

I immediately called my grandmother, who told me that my great-grandmother, an excellent cook, made sugar pies all the time when she was growing up. Apparently, it was an easy and inexpensive dessert that was common during the Great Depression. My great-grandmother would whip them up to have on hand when company came over. Unfortunately, my great-grandmother didn’t write most of her recipes down, and my grandmother couldn’t remember how to make it.

Of course, the next option was to turn to Pinterest. I have found a few yummy variations on Pinterest, but nothing that can quite compete. This pie had a light, almost fluffy, creamy consistency to it. I would describe it as similar to a chess pie or a pecan pie without nuts. I found a recipe from Pizzazzerie called Southern Brown Sugar Pie that was delicious and easy to make, but it didn’t rise quite as much. It turned out denser, almost like a bar. It just didn’t quite have the same fluff factor. So the search continues.

Needless to say, I’m still on the lookout for a light and fluffy southern sugar pie recipe. With any luck, I’ll be able to track one down before Thanksgiving. I would love to be able to add it to our holiday dessert rotation! The only trouble is going to be the trial and error it will take to find a winner! I’ll have one bite of pie, please said no one ever! Certainly not me. I’ll admit that it’s a pretty good problem to have. When I finally find a winner, I’ll be sure to post the results. I just have to remember to take pictures before I eat it!

Do you have a sugar pie recipe that you would be willing to share? Or maybe you’ve found a tried and true gem somewhere out there on the internet? I would be forever grateful if you could send it my way. I’ll even save you a slice!

Until next time,

Crystal Signature