When I was younger, I hated pie. I really did. Sometimes, I would eat something made with chocolate pudding, but it was always so cloyingly sweet. I was a carb-lover even as a young child -- who isn't, really? -- and would always take a piece of bread over a piece of pie. In recent years, though, I've come to appreciate pies -- apple and pumpkin are two of my favorites, as well as strawberry, blackberry, and really, anything with berries and whipped cream.
When I came across this brown butter butterscotch pie, I was immediately intrigued because: 1) I love butterscotch and 2) I need to expand my pie horizons. I remember butterscotch pies from school when I was younger: the pudding filling was from a box, the crust was basically cardboard. I had to redeem the butterscotch pie in my mind.
Brown Butter Butterscotch Pie (adapted from the Kitchn)
- 1 pie crust, blind baked
- 1 stick of butter
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons flour
- a pinch of salt
- 12-ounce can of evaporated milk
- 1/2 cup milk (2% works best)
- 4 egg yolks
- a splash of butterscotch schnapps
You'll want to start by baking your pie crust. Blind baking is the best way to make pretty pie crusts, but I have never successfully done it. I just through mine in the oven -- yes, the sides fell, yes the bottom bubbled. It hardly matters when you'll be filling it with delicious butterscotch goodness.
In a saucepan, melt your butter over medium heat. (You'll want to use a pan with high sides. No frying pans.) Once the butter is melted, cook it until it browns. This only took a few minutes for me -- as a sign, mine got really fuzzy and formed a lot of foam. At this point, you'll add your sugar. It'll look like wet sand for a while and as the sugar melts, it may separate. You'll want to switch to a whisk as this point and whisk it up. Eventually, it will cook completely and the separated portions will come together and form a paste.
In a bowl, combine your evaporated milk and milk. If your milk is cold, microwave it for a few seconds. Add to your cooked butter and sugar. Warning: you might panic, thinking you've messed up, but the sugar/butter mixture will seize up. There is very little way to avoid it, except to add your milk painfully slowly and I don't have time for that. Whisk it while it cooks to separate any clumps and to help the sugar/butter blend into the milk. It will smell overwhelmingly of butterscotch; resist the urge to drink it.
In another bowl (you can use the same one you used to combine your milks), measure out your cornstarch and flour. Once your sugar/butter has combined into the milk completely, ladle out a bit of it and add it to the cornstarch/flour. Whisk together to form a paste and then add to the saucepan. It might lump up and that's totally okay; mine got ridiculously lumpy, but it was also very thick and lovely.
Cook for about one minute. During this time, separate your egg yolks into a bowl and whisk slightly. Once your butterscotch has thickened up, stream in ladle full into the egg yolks while stirring constantly. (This is tricky. As for help if you need it.) Once it is combined with the egg yolks, add back to the saucepan and stir. Cook for another minute or so and remove from the heat. Add your butterscotch schnapps, stir, and allow to cool for about 15 minutes.
This is a messy part, but it makes a difference: once the filling is cook, strain it through a mesh sieve. If you don't have one (I do not), you can use a regular strainer. This helped me get rid of some of the cornstarch lumps that had formed and smoothed out the filling pretty nicely -- I still had a few lumps, but not as many. It's messy and it takes a while and you're arm will really hurt from pushing the filling through a strainer, but trust me, it's worth it.
Pour the filling into your cooked pie crust and smooth the top. If you want, you can press plastic wrap against the top to prevent a skin from forming. (I'm not opposed and I don't have plastic wrap.) Chill for about four hours until firm.
I put Fall sprinkles on mine for some cuteness.
It's not the prettiest pie I've ever made, but, my goodness, it is one of the tastiest! I actually can't get over how good it is. Real butterscotch is one of the tastiest things on the planet. This is the first time I've successfully made it and had it taste like real butterscotch. It's so rich and so perfect for a warm night at home with a fire, a good movie, and a healthy dinner... followed by a slice of butterscotch pie.
I hope you have a wonderful Thursday!