The best authentic Italian Cream Pie recipe! Passed down for generations it uses homemade Italian cream and a sweet crust dough for the perfect dessert! This post is sponsored by my friends at Bob’s Red Mill.
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Introducing: my all time favorite dessert, Italian Cream Pie! Sweet crust filled with chocolate and vanilla Italian cream, baked until golden brown and chilled for the perfect texture.
This Italian pie has been a favorite of mine since I was a little girl! My Gram has made this every year for Easter ever since I can remember. The recipe comes from her mom (my great Gram!) and it is absolutely divine.
This pie definitely doesn’t fall in the ‘clean eating’ category, but so many of you have expressed interest in my Gram’s authentic Italian recipes that I had to share it with you. (We also shared our favorite homemade cavatelli recipe!)
While we love our veggies and protein… dessert is our favorite part of any meal, and these classic recipes have a special place in my heart.
Making pies can be intimidating, which is why I’m breaking down every single step of this recipe for you below! I promise, if you follow the steps – you can make a perfect pie and impress your family and friends with how delicious it is! Anyone can make this!
How to make Italian Cream Pie Crust:
We’re using our favorite Bob’s Red Mill Unbleached White All-Purpose Flour in this recipe. This is my go to flour whenever I’m baking.
Making this pie crust is pretty straight forward. All you need to do is combine butter, sugar, vanilla, egg + milk. Slowly add in flour + baking powder until dough is formed.
It should come together pretty quickly (only about 30 seconds!). Once your dough has been formed, wrap it in saran wrap and put it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to roll it out.
How to make Italian Cream:
Making the Italian cream is the most difficult step in this process! First, mix together all of the ingredients for the Italian cream except cocoa powder. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer. (Step 4)
See below for tips for straining the cream. Once strained, add lemon/orange rind to the mixture and begin to cook.
Turn stove on medium heat and add pot to stove. Stir mixture constantly in the same direction, using your spatula to scrape along the bottom so the cream doesn’t stick. The mixture might get lumpy, but keep stirring for about 5 minutes.
When the cream mixture starts to boil, boil it very low for 3-5 minutes.
Turn off heat. Remove rinds from the cream mixture and throw away, using a spatula to scrape the cream off the rings. If your cream is lumpy, you can run it through a strainer again. (Tips for this below)
Take 1 cup of cooked cream and put it aside in a small dish.
Mix together the cocoa powder with the 1 cup of cream off to the side until smooth to make your chocolate cream.
How to Make Italian Cream Pie:
Once your Italian cream pie is done, Prepare a greased 9” pie plate. Roll out pie crust on a lightly floured surface.
Place rolled out bottom crust in the pie dish. Press gently until it’s smooth against the pie dish. (Step 10)
Put vanilla cream around the edge of pie + chocolate cream in the center. (Step 11)
Add top of crust to pie. Form edges of crust with your knuckles (Step 12)
Using a sharp, small paring knife – slice vents into the top of the crust. You can make a little design like I did, or just give a few slices. (Step 13)
Bake at 375 for 20 minutes. (Step 14)
Allow pie to cool, and place in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before serving. When ready to serve, dust with powdered sugar + enjoy!
Helpful Tips for Italian Cream Pie:
Straining: Straining the cream/mixture is an important part of this recipe. The first straining is done before you cook the cream to ensure you don’t get clumps of egg and flour in your cream. You may need to strain the cream mixture twice. If you find that there are a lot of flour /egg clumps, use a spatula to gently press them through a thin metal strainer. Here is the strainer I use and here is a link to a spatula we use!
You should only have a few clumps of flour stuck in the strainer. You need most of the flour in the cream to help it thicken, so try to really press it through to get out the clumps.
You can also strain the cream after it has been cooked if there are clumps. You’ll notice in my photos I did include an image to show you that I did strain the cream. Sometimes when cooking it can get clumpy. It’s not necessary to strain it, but if you want a smooth Italian cream it may be worth the extra step!
Refrigerating Dough: Refrigerating the dough before you roll it out will be helpful. You don’t want the dough to be hard, but you also don’t want it to be mushy. 30 mins-hour in the fridge is perfect. You can make this dough 24 hours in advance and leave it in the refrigerator. You will need to leave it out for about 1 hour before trying to roll it.
Keeping dough covered: Keep your dough covered with saran wrap before using it. You do not want the dough to dry out.
Storing/Serving Cream Pie
You must chill this pie for at least 24 hours before serving. The cream needs to set. I’ve found it is helpful to put the pie in the freezer for 1 hour before serving to make it easier to slice.
This pie will last for 5 days in the refrigerator.
Substitutions for Italian Cream Pie
We always try to provide substitutions for our recipes, but this is one that doesn’t have many substitutions. Baking is a science, so there really isn’t too much room for swapping ingredients. Here are some notes for you.
- Gluten Free: I have not tried this recipe with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-1 flour but I think it would work.
- Dairy Free: Unfortunately I don’t think you can make this pie dairy free. I haven’t tested it, but I think it would be very difficult to mimic the taste/consistency without butter or milk
- Maraschino cherries: My gram usually adds in ¼ cup chopped maraschino cherries. After filling the pie (Step 11) she will press in small pieces of the cherries into the filling. You don’t want to leave them on top of the cream because they will turn the crust red. Gently press them into the cream by about 1/4 inch and smooth the cream over the top if you’d like to add them
We hope you love this pie as much as we do! It’s a classic dish that has been made and served in my family for years. I hope you can enjoy it with your family and friends for a treat this season!
Italian Cream Pie
- First, make pie crust dough. Combine butter, sugar, vanilla, egg + milk. Slowly add in flour + baking powder.
- Divide dough in half. Roll into two circles. Wrap in saran wrap and put in the refrigerator until ready to use. You *must* wrap the dough to avoid it from drying out.
- Make the cream. Add all ingredients except rinds + cocoa powder into mixing bowl. Mix using a whisk or whisk attachment.
- Using a fine mesh strainer, strain the mixture into a pot. This part is important to help get the bits of egg/flour and avoid clumpy cream. See above for notes on straining. You may need to strain twice.
- Add lemon and orange peel to the pot with strained cream mixture.
- Turn stove on medium heat and add pot to stove. Stir mixture constantly in the same direction, using your spatula to scrape along the bottom so the cream doesn’t stick. The mixture might get lumpy, but keep stirring for about 5 minutes.
- When the cream mixture starts to boil, boil it low for 3-5 minutes.
- Turn off heat. Remove rinds from the cream mixture, using a spatula to scrape the cream off the rings. If your cream is lumpy, you can run it through a strainer again.
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Take 1 cup of cooked cream and put it aside in a small dish.
- Mix together the cocoa powder with the 1 cup of cream off to the side until smooth to make your chocolate cream.
- Prepare a greased 9” pie plate. Roll out pie crust on a lightly floured surface.
- Place rolled out bottom crust in the pie dish. Press gently until it’s smooth against the pie dish.
- Put vanilla cream around the edge of pie + chocolate cream in the center. See above for photo.
- Add top of crust to pie. Form edges of crust with your knuckles (see above for guidance)
- Using a sharp, small paring knife - slice vents into the top of the crust. You can make a little design like I did, or just give a few slices.
- Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.
- Allow pie to cool at room temperature for about an hour and place in the refrigerator for to chill at least 24 hours before serving.
- When ready to serve, dust with powdered sugar + enjoy!