Celebrate Pi Day with a Slice of Iowa’s Unofficial State Pie!

Happy Pi Day to math enthusiasts and pie lovers alike! Today we celebrate the irrational wonder of pi (3.14…) and a uniquely delicious pie that holds a special place in my heart: the sour cream raisin pie.

Iowa proudly claims this sweet and tangy treat as its unofficial state pie, according to Taste of Home magazine. While it may raise eyebrows outside the Hawkeye State, this pie is a beloved tradition. Generations of Iowa have enjoyed its creamy custard filling, plump raisins and delicate meringue topping.

Sour cream raisin pie was the first pie I learned to make. When I was 10 years old, my neighbor helped me make it for a 4-H pie sale.

So, why sour cream raisin pie? Here are a few reasons:

  • Homegrown Goodness: The origins of the pie are traced back to the Amish and Mennonite communities in Iowa. They use readily available ingredients like eggs, sugar and raisins.
  • A Taste of Comfort: This pie embodies the spirit of Midwestern hospitality – it’s simple, wholesome and perfect for sharing with loved ones.
  • Uniquely Delicious: Don’t knock it till you try it! The combination of sweet and tart, creamy and chewy, creates a delightful flavor profile that has won over many a skeptic.

On this Pi Day, ditch the traditional and embrace the unique. Whip up a batch of sour cream raisin pie, celebrate the beauty of pi, and experience a taste of Iowa’s culinary heritage.

Happy Pi Day from Latham Seeds!

Now that you have pie on the brain. Check out these other fun blogs and recipes:

Celebrate March with Pi(e)
Create Peace with a Piece of Pie
Rhubarb-Black Raspberry Pie

Iowa Sour Cream Raisin Pie


  • 1 cup raisins
  • ¾ to 1 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • 1½ cups sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 pie shell, baked


  1. Place raisins in a small saucepan with enough water to cover them; bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Mix vanilla and salt with egg yolks; beat. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, cloves and cinnamon. Stir in sour cream and butter until smooth. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring until thick and bubbly.
  4. Reduce heat to low; cook and stir for 2 minutes longer. Then remove from the heat.
  5. Stir a small amount of hot filling into egg yolks; return all yolks to the saucepan, stirring quickly and constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes.
  6. Heap meringue on top of hot filling.


Mom’s Meringue:

  • 2 T. powdered sugar
  • 1 T. white sugar
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. In a small bowl, mix sugars and cornstarch. Then set aside.
  2. Beat egg whites and salt on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar on high until stiff peaks form.
  3. With meringue beaten stiff, add ¼ teaspoon vanilla. Stir together and then spread over hot pie filling. Seal edge of meringue to crust.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes or until meringue peaks are a delicate brown.
  5. Cool on a wire rack for one hour; then refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

NOTE: Beat egg whites in either stainless steel or glass bowl. (Do NOT use plastic). Use metal spoon to place meringue over hot filling. Be sure to place meringue all the way to the edge of the crust; seal the edges of the crust.