Use this recipe to make vanilla cream pie or as a base to make chocolate cream pie or coconut cream pie. This is a very good recipe, an easy recipe to make, and illustrates the principles outlined in How to Make Cream Pies.


  • 1 nine-inch deep-dish baked pie shell
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 3 cups milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

For optional meringue topping

  • 4 to 6 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar

This pie can also be topped with sweetened whipped cream.


  1. Prepare and bake a nine-inch pie shell.
  2. In a medium saucepan, add the sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Stir to mix well.
  3. Gradually stir in the milk and cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the mixture is bubbly. Cook for two minutes more.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk four egg yolks. While stirring constantly, gradually add one cup of the hot mixture to the egg yolks. This tempers and warms the egg yolks.
  5. Add the egg yolk mixture to the hot filling mixture. Cook and stir for two more minutes. Add the butter and vanilla.
  6. Pour the filling into the baked pie shell. Cover the top with plastic wrap pressed against the filling to avoid a tough skin on the filling.

For the optional meringue topping:

  1. Place the egg whites in a medium bowl. Add the vanilla and 1 cream of tartar and beat for about 1 1/2 minutes or until soft peaks form. Do not over-beat.
  2. Add the granulated sugar gradually to the mixture. Beat for another four minutes or until stiff peaks form. With a spatula, spread the meringue topping on the pie. Sealing the meringue against the edges.
  3. Bake the pie for 12 to 16 minutes or until the topping is a golden brown.
  4. Chill thoroughly before serving. Store the pie in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Cream Pie Recipe

Prepare the pie as for vanilla cream except increase the sugar to one cup and add two ounces unsweetened baking chocolate with the milk.

Coconut Cream Pie Recipe

Add one cup of sweetened, shredded coconut with the vanilla and butter. Top the meringue with 1/3 cup coconut prior to baking. The baking of the meringue will toast the coconut.

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