Powdered milk isn't particularly appetizing on cereal or to drink straight, but it works beautifully in many cooked foods, including cream pies. Use it just as you would fresh milk, combining it with sugar, eggs and flavorings to make a thick filling. For added richness, include a few tablespoons of cream or even evaporated milk.
Make the Filling
The filling for most cream pies is nothing more than a thickened pudding, flavored according to your preference. To make a cream pie with a commercial pudding mix, simply use reconstituted powdered milk in place of regular milk. Whisk the prepared milk into the pudding mix until thickened. You can also make homemade fillings with powdered milk. Reconstitute the powdered milk with water and heat the milk until it is steaming but not boiling. Whisk the reconstituted milk into a mixture of egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and flavorings. Cook the mixture over medium heat until it boils and thickens. Stir in some vanilla and butter to add flavor and richness. Allow the pudding to cool slightly before you pour it into a prepared pie crust.
Make the Topping
Use powdered milk to make a whipped topping for a cream pie. Chill water in a metal bowl in the freezer until ice crystals form around the edge of the bowl, about an hour. Use a stand mixer or hand mixer to beat in an equal amount of instant powdered milk. Continue whipping until the mixture forms stiff peaks, which may take as long as six minutes. Add powdered sugar and a bit of vanilla. This whipped topping isn't as rich as one made with fresh cream, but it works admirably in a pinch. Serve it right away because it loses volume quickly.
Make almost any flavor of cream pie at home using powdered milk by varying the ingredients. Use vanilla, eggs and butter for a creamy vanilla pie. Add cocoa powder and chocolate chips for a chocolate pie. To make a coconut pie, add a bit of coconut extract and shredded, sweetened coconut. Banana pie calls for banana puree, as well as sliced bananas.
Using Powdered Milk
Some kinds of powdered milk are more effective than others in a cream pie. Regular powdered milk is inexpensive and stores well, but it doesn't dissolve easily in cold water and can have a chalky texture. Instant powdered milk is regular powdered milk that's been ground more finely, so it dissolves quickly without lumps. It has a fresher flavor than regular powdered milk. Both kinds may be used in a pie filling. For the topping, however, stick with instant powdered milk. It dissolves quickly in cold water and contains the fat necessary to be creamy.