Millionaire Pie

Todd and I are really into the show Top Chef, so as I made this pie today, I pretended I was making it for the judges. In my mind, I have a script of what I think Tom, Padma and maybe Ted Allen would say. But suddenly, I interrupt the script and say “Stop! Don’t you see? This pie’s got deep roots!” My girlfriends order it from Furr’s Cafeteria and serve it at Thanksgiving. My step-grandmother, who lived on a farm and killed her own chickens, served it at Christmas and my husband, who is from Connecticut and who was not exposed as a child, went crazy over it the first time he tried it. So I make it…..but never the same way. Over the years I’ve learned two things: I don’t like it with coconut and I prefer the nuts sprinkled on top rather than mixed in as the traditional version dictates. Since I leave the nuts out of the filling, I add a little sour cream to counteract the sweetness from the condensed milk. Below is the version I made today. If you are from one of the southern states, no doubt you have your own.

Millionaire Pie

There’s a lot going on under that Cool Whip.

Millionaire Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Millionaire Pie
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
Graham Cracker Crust:
  • 20 graham cracker squares (10 rectangles)
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves, toasted, chopped and cooled
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans crushed pineapple, drained
  • 3 cups Cool Whip or slightly sweetened fresh whipped cream
  • 1/2 cup sliced Maraschino cherries, drained and patted dry after being sliced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup pecans halves, toasted and chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place crackers, sugar and pecans in food processor and process into crumbs. Add melted butter and pulse to moisten crumbs. Press into bottom and up sides of a greased 9 inch glass pie plate. Bake for 8 minutes. Let cool completely before making filling.
  2. Prepare filling. In a mixing bowl, stir together condensed milk, sour cream, lemon juice, pineapple, and Cool Whip. Carefully add the cut up cherries, making sure they have been patted dry. Or skip them completely. Pour filling into a pie crust and chill for 4 hours. Before serving, sprinkle chopped, toasted pecans over top. Make about 8 servings


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  1. Debbi says

    I loved how you packed a ton of information about yourself in the opening of your recipe. If people didn’t “know” you before they sure do now! :-)

    Did you put the cherries in this one? Do you use cool whip? I’ve never heard of this but it looks interesting. I have a friend who is addicted to cool whip, I should make this for her. :-)

  2. says

    I’m glad there are a few people here who haven’t heard of this pie.

    Emilie, I hope your chocolate cake experiments are going well.

    Debbie, I certainly did pack a lot of info into one paragraph. Eek.

    I made some good looking cookie dough this morning and will be posting the recipe later this afternoon when we get back from a birthday party.

  3. says

    I love this pie. I have made it with mandarin oranges before too. Furr’s Cafeteria brings back childhood memories in West Texas. I love Top Chef but Padma’s monotone voice is sometimes annoying. I think you would be great on that — but better yet — the Next Food Network Star!! Since Sweet Dreams with Gale Gand went away — you would be a great replacement.

  4. says

    Anj, I like your idea of adding oranges. I’m not a fan of mandarins, but I like the idea of adding orange flavor. Maybe some sort of Dreamsicle/Creamsicle pie…the pineapple would have to go.

    I like Padma. Her career in modeling must have really helped her here because she can go from being stern to comforting and sympathetic in a flash. I guess the modeling worked for Heidi Klum too. Half of the fun of these shows is watching how the judges react to things. Padma probably talks monotone sometimes on purpose so that she doesn’t give things away with the tone of her voice or show favoritism….that’s my guess.

    I’ve never seen the Food Network Star Show, but people keep telling me about it. As for me doing it, most of those people have loads of experience in cooking. All I know about is cookie baking.

    Amy, Todd’s the same way with Top Chef

    There’s another show we’re trying to get into called “Welcome to the Parker” which is a reality show about a luxury hotel in Palm Springs.

  5. says

    How fun – at one time in my life I lived in Oklahoma for about 2 years and frequented Furr’s Cafeteria. Came to know and love this pie. The recipe was published in the local paper and I started making it. Funny – I wrote it up on my blog recently, but used the tried and true recipe which I’ve made since the early 1970’s. Does the addition of sweetened condensed milk and sour cream give it a more cheesecake taste? I may have to try it!

  6. says

    Joe, if you like the show, you should read Tony Bourdain’s blog entries. I think my Top Chef Blogs link goes right to it.

    Carolyn, I’m looking forward to reading what you wrote about Millionaire Pie. The sour cream is hardly noticeable. I just added it because I left out the nuts and felt like I needed something to counteract the sweetness from the condensed milk. But no, it doesn’t taste like cheesecake.

  7. says

    Emilie, I am sure you liked that one since you are into all things French ;). We just watched that episode last weekend — haven’t missed one yet. It seems almost all of the Flight of the Conchords stuff is on You Tube now.

  8. says

    This pie reminds me of something my grandmother made when I was a little girl. It was started with whipping cream, I believe, and had cherries, pineapple and pecans in it. It was frozen in an ice tray. I loved it, but haven’t had it since I was maybe 10.

  9. Debbi says

    My husband won’t admit to anyone that he likes Top Chef but he watches it with me too. I missed last weeks episode so I’ll have to catch it sometime this week.

  10. says

    Wow what an interesting looking pie. Looks so inviting. Top Chef, you lucky things I am still waiting for the 3rd Season here in Australia. I am just hanging to see it. I loved the first two seasons, it is just the best show. The food is awesome :)

  11. gardengirl says

    I used to work for the Gulfport Miss convention center ages ago. One of the most popular deserts served during convention banquets was Millionair Pie done in individual Phyllo tartlets. It is a great llight dessert after a big meal like Thanksgiving, Easter or Christmas and because the tartlets are pre-baked and only need to be filled and chilled they make less work in the kitchen.

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