brown sugar | butterscotch | cinnamon | desserts | dough | holiday | pie | recipe | vanilla

B-b-b-butterscotch pie.

December 7, 2015

Uhm. I’m not really great at pie. Seriously.

Butterscotch pie with toasted meringue!

Or at least thats what I always say. I might not be able to get away with that anymore, though. Between the apple bourbon brown butter whatever it was pie and the apple cranberry pie and now this… people are starting to think I’m just full of shit. They’re starting to think I pretend I’m not good at pie so that I can avoid making it.

But in the past I’ve had on and off love/hate relationship with pie. I’m notoriously bad at the crust because I lack patience. And I also never wait for them to cool before cutting so, yeah, they can look messy. Some come out perfect. Others don’t. This one. Meh.

Butterscotch pie with toasted meringue.

This butterscotch pie came out visually okay. Not great. I was a little tired and it was getting late and I rushed it a bit in my anticipation of eating it. But the taste? OH MAN.

The taste alone made everyone crazy.

But did I mention I’m tired? Yeah. This time of year is kicking my ass. Between working & baking & decorating & blogging & family & this annoying cold I’ve been fighting off… let’s stick with pie.

Butterscotch pie with toasted meringue.

BUTTERSCOTCH PIE WITH TOASTED MERINGUE (adapted from Adventures in Cooking)


Pie crust:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 7 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 eggs, divided (yolks in one bowl, whites in another)
  • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar


  1. Make the crust: This recipe will give you enough for JUST the bottom to be fully covered. If you have a food processor, mix the dry ingredients and butter until just crumbly, then slowly pour in the water and mix until combined. Knead into a ball with your hands and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one hour or overnight. You can also do this by hand, I highly recommend using a pastry cutter/blender if you do. After one hour, roll it out on a lightly floured surface and place it in your pie plate. Trim the excess off the edges and pop it back in the fridge until your filling is ready.
  2. Preheat your oven to 375 F.
  3. Add 1/2 cup of dark brown sugar, butter and cream to a medium saucepan. Cook, whisking occasionally until butter is melted and it begins to boil. Meanwhile, using a whisk or a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until they’re frothy on top. Set aside.
  4. Turn off heat under brown sugar mixture and let cool slightly. Add the milk, cornmeal, flour, salt, vanilla extract and remaining sugar. Turn the heat back on to low, and cook, stirring occasionally until hot- NOT boiling. Again, turn off heat.
  5. Add half of the brown sugar mixture to a heatproof bowl and add the egg yolks, whisking non-stop. Add this mixture back to the saucepan and add the egg whites. Whisk. The mixture should be much thicker at this point. Cook over the lowest heat setting, again whisking non-stop, and do NOT allow it to BOIL!
  6. Pour into your prepared pie crust and bake for 20 minutes. While it’s baking, make the meringue: add the egg whites and cream of tartar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Beat until the eggs hold a firm peak. Slowly whisk in the sugar and beat until they are glossy and hold their peaks stiffly.
  7. Remove the pie from the oven and add the meringue. You can make designs in it, or just plop it on. Keep in mind the highest points will toast more, so making little peaks or swirls can look awesome when it’s done.
  8. Bake another 15 minutes. Remove and let pie cool at least 30 minutes before serving. Keep refrigerated.

Butterscotch pie with toasted meringue.

Let it be said: you CAN skip the meringue and serve this pie with whipped cream instead. That is totally acceptable.

Butterscotch pie with toasted meringue.

I like to use dark brown sugar in my butterscotch, which is totally untraditional and not what most people do. But I like the richer, darker flavor. You can definitely substitute light brown and make it the normal way if you so choose. Butterscotch pie is a little bit different than just butterscotch pudding- I find the dark brown sugar gives it a little more oomph. More caramel-y.

I rushed through the meringue, which is silly, especially since it’s so east to make with a stand mixer. But I had to catch the light!

Butterscotch pie with toasted meringue.

This butterscotch pie, when it’s still slightly warm, is heavenly. Truly heavenly.

Soundtrack: “Let the Mystery Be” – Iris DeMent
Sources & credits: Red plaid tablecloth; Threshold for Target, red Bakelite cutlery; vintage, cork trivet & red striped tea towel; Ikea, black pie plate; Longaberger, dessert plates; vintage Spode “Cowslip.”
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