One of the integral components of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner is pie. Pumpkin pie is a must, as well as apple; the most popular pies with my family and friends, however, are cream pies. I have been using my microwave for years to make this cream pie filling; it actually takes about 10 minutes of hands-on time. The advantage to using a microwave is that you don’t have to stir constantly, there is no scorching, and it is much faster that using a stove. A bonus, of course, is that tastes much better than the pudding in a box. If you’re in a big hurry to serve the pie, put it in the freezer instead of the refrigerator to chill it in less than half the time; make sure you don’t let it freeze, though.
To save time, it is perfectly acceptable to use frozen crusts or the already rolled out pie crusts in the dairy case; neither are as good as homemade, but both are much better than the ones on bakery pies. If you have time to make your own crust, there is a link at the bottom of this article to my favorite recipe. I've also included a 10-minute press-in crust that is buttery and flaky.
Microwave Cream Pie Filling
I usually double this recipe; it takes a minute or two longer to thicken. The key to a smooth filling is to mix the cornstarch or flour with the sugar well before adding any liquid. This goes together so fast, you will wonder why you ever bothered to make the boxed kind.
1 8" or 9" pie depending on which variation you use
2 cups milk, divided
1/4 cup cornstarch, or 1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 8" or 9" baked pie shell
Pour 1 1/2 cups of the milk into a microwaveable container and microwave on high to boiling, 4-6 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch or flour and sugar together, then whisk in the remaining 1/2 cup milk, salt, and eggs; whisk until smooth. Whisk in the hot milk, and return to the microwave, stirring every two minutes or so until it boils (a single batch takes about 3 minutes; a double batch 4-5, depending on your microwave). Stir in the butter and vanilla. Pour into a cooled pie shell, and place a piece of plastic wrap directly touching the filling (to avoid a skin forming); cover and chill at least 4 hours.
Banana Cream: stir in 3 or 4 bananas
Butterscotch Cream: Use brown sugar instead of white and increase butter to 3 tablespoons
Caramel Cream: Heat 1/4 cup of the sugar till it turns dark brown; stir into the cooked filling
Coconut Cream: Stir in 1 cup flaked coconut; top with whipped cream and toasted coconut
Chocolate Cream: Increase sugar to 1 cup. Add 1-2 squares unsweetened chocolate along with the milk
Date Cream: Stir in 1/2 cup chopped dates
Pineapple Cream: Stir in 1/2 cup well-drained crushed pineapple
Peach Cream: Stir in 1 cup drained sliced peaches
Cherry Cream: Pour filling into shell and let chill. Spread 1 can cherry pie filling on top (use 9" pie shell)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 163 Calories from Fat 56
Percent Total Calories From:
Fat 34% Protein 9% Carb. 57%
Nutrient Amount per
Total Fat 6 g
Saturated Fat 3 g
Cholesterol 69 mg
Sodium 221 mg
Total Carbohydrate 23 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 4 g
Vitamin A 5% Vitamin C 1% Calcium 0% Iron 1%