Don’t you just love those little small town restaurants that still serve huge slices of homemade cream pies with a homemade pie crust and fluffy meringue topping? Even if you’re not a fan of meringue, the homemade pie itself is so delicious. Okay, I have noticed that the younger generation isn’t as crazy about meringue as us
older folks, so if I’m talking about you, feel free to use a whipped topping on top of this delicious pie.
I’ve been eating homemade Butterscotch Pie since I was a little kid, when my mother frequently made them. I think this was her favorite pie and I know it’s at the very top of my favorite list. When I make this pie, I can’t wait to lick the spoon while the pie filling is still warm. That’s the benefits when you’re the pie maker. This pie filling is delicious warm or cold. You can even make it as pudding if you don’t want to make a pie. It is one of the easiest pies you’ll ever make and once you make one, you’ll never go back to a box of pudding.
There are 3 components in making this creamy Butterscotch Pie.
The Pie Crust
You’ll need 1 pre baked pie shell. If you choose to make a homemade pie shell, and I hope you do, click here for easy instructions on pre baking a pie shell. I used Aunt Elsie’s Flaky Pie Crust for this pie recipe. It is tender and flaky and has never let me down. It makes 2 pie shells and you can freeze one half to use later.
The butterscotch pie filling is super quick and easy to make and you just need 5 simple ingredients to get started… brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, milk and half & half. Just bring them to a boil over medium heat and boil for 1 minute.
Then you’re going to pour some of the hot mixture into some egg yolks while whisking vigorously. This is called tempering the eggs, and keeps you from having cooked scrambled eggs when they get added to the hot mixture. You’ll cook the mixture for about 1 more minute until it thickens and remove it from the heat. Then you’ll add the two last ingredients, butter and vanilla.
Mix them in until the filling is nice and creamy. Trust me, you’ll be wanting to eat the filling right out of the pan, but don’t – you have to pour it into the pre-baked pie shell.
Just in case you’ve always thought that making meringue was hard, you’re so wrong! It’s one of the simplest things to make. It simply involves combining 3 basic ingredients – sugar, water and cream of tartar and whisking them over a pan of simmering water. Why? To simply dissolve the sugar.
Then all you have to do is whisk it on high speed until stiff peaks form and place it in the oven for 7-8 minutes to brown the meringue. Super easy!!
- 1 - 9 inch pre baked pie shell, shallow
- 1 cup packed brown sugar, I use half light and half dark
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups milk, 2% or whole
- 2/3 cup half & half
- 1/3 stick butter
- 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- 4 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Add the beaten egg yolks to a 2 cup measuring cup or medium bowl and have a whisk nearby.
- Combine the sugar, cornstarch, salt, milk and half & half in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute.
- Remove pan from heat and pour about one half of the hot mixture into the egg yolks and immediately whisk to combine. (This is called tempering. If you simply add the egg yolks to the pan of hot mixture, you will have scrambled cooked eggs.) Add the egg mixture back to the pan and return the pan to the heat. Cook for about 1 minute until mixture begins to thicken and remove from heat.
- Add butter and vanilla and mix until combined and smooth. Pour into the pre baked pie shell. Set pie aside while making the meringue.
- If you are replacing meringue with a whipped topping, place a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the pie and refrigerate until cold before placing whipped topping on pie.
- Fill a medium sauce pan about 1/4 full with water. Bring water to a simmer over medium heat. It should not be a rolling boil.
- Add the egg whites, sugar and cream of tartar to the heat proof bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk to combine. Place bowl over the pan of simmering water. Whisk mixture until the egg whites become warm and the sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Test by rubbing a tiny bit between two fingers. If it feels grainy the sugar has not dissolved.
- Transfer the bowl to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or use a hand mixer.
- Beat mixture on low speed for about 1 minute, slowing increasing speed to high. Whisk for about 10 minutes until very stiff glossy peaks form. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
- Place pie in preheated oven for 5 minutes, long enough to get the filling hot again and remove.
- Pile the meringue high onto hot pie filling. Spread the meringue all the way to the very edges, touching the edge of the pie crust. This prevents shrinking and weeping. Using a tablespoon, make circular swirls, pulling upward to form tips or peaks on the swirls. Bake for approximately 8 minutes until the top is delicately browned. Keep a close eye on it. It will over brown quickly.
- Cool pie to room temperature away from drafts and refrigerate. Serve at room temperature or refrigerate for at least 2 hours to serve cold.
- Pie will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days. However, the meringue will start to weep after 1 day. It's best to serve the pie the same or next day after making it for the best looking meringue.
- For a darker butterscotch pie, 1 cup of the milk can be replaced with 1 cup of water.