Though there were so many vintage-inspired pie recipes in Petra Paredez’s book Pie for Everyone to choose from, I was particularly drawn to her butterscotch pie. What I love about this recipe is that instead of brown sugar, she uses white sugar with molasses which provides more depth of flavor. And no, there is purposely no actual scotch in this recipe which she firmly believes doesn’t belong there. I happen to agree, because the molasses does the nuanced work instead. If you’ve ever wanted to taste a Petee’s Pie, now you can!
I did adjust one instruction when stirring the pudding mixture. She uses a rubber spatula, while I believe a whisk does a more thorough job of making sure the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom. In addition, she instructs to scrape the sides of the pot when pouring the mixture into the pan. While you want to make sure the majority of the pudding hits the shell, scraping the corners and sides thoroughly will most likely cause you to get overcooked bits missed by the whisk that will ruin the texture and require a sieve. Avoid that by gently guiding the liquid pudding out and leaving the congealed bits in the pot to either discard… or snack on. I’m not there, I won’t judge.
For the pie shell, I recommend our own Tish Boyle’s recipe if you want to make it from scratch.
Makes one 9-inch pie
Butterscotch Cream Pie:
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 egg yolks (37 grams)
- 1 large egg (50 grams)
- ½ cup (120 grams) whole milk
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon molasses
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (115 grams) heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 pie crust homemade or store bought, blind-baked
Vanilla Sea Salt Meringue:
- 3 large egg whites (90 grams)
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup (198 grams) granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Make the Pie:
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and egg yolks until smooth. Whisk in the whole egg until well combined. Whisk in the milk in a thin stream.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the sugar, molasses, and salt until the sugar has completely dissolved and the mixture is bubbling.
- Remove from the heat and immediately whisk in the cream in a thin stream. The butterscotch will bubble wildly.
- Remove about ¼ cup of the butterscotch from the saucepan and add it to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Whisk until smooth.
- Add the butterscotch-egg mixture to the saucepan, whisking to combine. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until thickened. Remove from the heat. Add the vanilla and stir well.
- Pour the hot butterscotch pudding into the blind-baked crust. Use the spatula to ease the pudding up the sides of the shell, leaving about ½ inch of the crust exposed.
Make the Meringue:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on high until they are white and foamy and hold soft peaks
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan, stir ¼ cup (59 grams) water and the sugar over high heat until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup reaches a strong boil. The temperature on a candy thermometer should read 240˚ Remove from the heat.
- With the mixer running, pour the hot sugar syrup in a thin stream into the foamy egg whites. Continue beating until the meringue holds the pattern of the whisk. The texture should be voluminous but still silky.
- Add the vanilla and salt and beat until just combined. Use immediately.
Assemble the Pie:
- Pile the meringue on top of the pudding, using the back of a hot wet spoon or offset spatula to spread the meringue.
- Set the oven rack so the top of the pie is 3 to 5 inches from the heating element and turn the broiler on high. Place the pie under the broiler and heat until the peaks of the meringue turn golden brown, anywhere from 1 to 3 minutes.
- Transfer the pie to the fridge for 4 hours or until cooled completely. To serve, slice with a hot, wet knife in order to avoid dragging the meringue. The pie is best eaten the same day, but it will keep for up to 3 days covered in the fridge.