Several years back, a woman approached me one night at our church’s Wednesday night meal to ask me if I knew how to make butterscotch pie. She explained that her husband’s mother used to make it and that it was a family favorite. No one had the original recipe anymore, so she was hoping to find someone who could make it. As the designated “dessert lady” at church, she came to me for help.
My response? “I’ve never made butterscotch pie before, but if you are willing to be guinea pigs, we can try some recipes until we get it right.”
Who’s going to turn down an offer like that?
It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. 🙂
The “must-haves” of the pie included a graham cracker crust and meringue topping.
Researching recipes is right up my alley. I love to hunt down the perfect ones, and I love all the learning and sidetracking that happens on the journey. When I began looking for a butterscotch pie recipe, almost all of them began with a box of instant pudding in the ingredient list. I knew this would not do. A mom’s beloved butterscotch pie from the past surely wouldn’t have started with boxed pudding.
I eventually selected three recipes to try over the course of a few weeks. I think my tasters were more than thrilled to eat all three pies, but the third one emerged as the winner. I have been making it for the past four years now. Last year the butterscotch pudding (made into a parfait) was considered special enough by a bride and groom to be chosen as part of the dessert spread I made for their wedding. It has gotten rave reviews from butterscotch pudding and pie fans all around.
(When I make this pie for my friends I include their preferred meringue topping, but for today’s bake I used a whipped cream topping. I had several egg yolks to use up but no whites. I will have to post this again sometime when I make it with the meringue. If you want to make the meringue, click on the recipe source link at the end of this post.)
Butterscotch Pudding and Pie
For the graham cracker crust
- 6-7 tablespoons melted butter (6T is sometimes too dry in Colorado, so I have been using 7 now)
- 1 and 1/2 cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs
- 1/3 cup (scant) white sugar
For the pudding/pie filling
*The original recipe I found was for only a 7 inch pie, so I have scaled it up. You should have enough for a 9 inch pie or for several servings of pudding, depending on the size of your serving dishes.
- 6 large egg yolks (whites can be used to make a meringue topping or reserved for another use)
- 1 and 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 tablespoons unsalted room temperature butter (or use salted butter and omit the salt above)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- (optional) toffee bits
- Make the crust: Melt the butter in the microwave in a medium glass bowl. Add graham crackers and sugar and toss with a fork until evenly moistened. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie pan. Use a measuring cup to press the crumbs firmly and evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes until slightly browned and toasty smelling. Set aside.
- Make the pudding by following the steps below:
- Whisk the egg yolks in a small to medium size heat-proof bowl. Set aside.
- In a medium sized pot, stir together the brown sugar, flour, and salt. Set aside.
- Warm the milk in the microwave for a minute.
- Place the pot with the brown sugar mixture over medium heat and slowly whisk in the warmed milk until sugar is dissolved and the mixture begins to simmer.
- In order to prevent getting scrambled eggs instead of pudding, you must temper the eggs at this point. Slowly pour about half of the simmering milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. (This step heats the egg yolks more gradually before adding to the full hot mixture.) Return the pot to the burner and now pour the warmed egg yolk mixture back into the rest of the pot.
- Continue stirring and heating until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken. Whisk and stir for another two minutes while the mixture continues to bubble.
- Remove the pudding from the heat. Whisk in the softened butter and vanilla and stir until fully incorporated.
- If making pie, pour the pudding into the prepared pie shell and then immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. If making pudding only, you can either cover the surface of the pudding in the pot with plastic wrap or divide the pudding into individual servings cups and cover each one. Refrigerate pie or pudding until chilled and set. (I usually chill the pie overnight.)
- When ready to serve, make whipped topping by mixing whipped cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla on medium to high speed until desired stiffness. Top pie or pudding dishes with desired amount. Garnish with toffee bits if desired.
Source: Cookie Madness