This pie has got to be one of my all-time favorites (I think I say that about all pies, but I really mean it this time!) Butterscotch Pie is so different from other pies that it really surprises people. A layer of thick butterscotch cream filling, a slightly salty cracker crumb crust, and a light and airy meringue topping make this pie dangerously good. While the meringue looks impressive, you could top this pie with fresh whipped cream instead if you prefer. If I am making this pie ahead of time and I know the meringue cannot be fresh, I will choose whipped cream and turn it into a "Butterscotch Cream Pie." Just make sure you cut the slices small, it is very sweet and rich!
1 1/3 Cups Cracker Crumbs (you can use graham crackers, but I prefer Ritz crackers for this - I like a slightly salty crust to offset the very sweet filling)
3 Tablespoons confectioner's sugar
6 Tablespoons Melted Butter
Mix together ingredients and press firmly into a pie pan. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes until just turning golden brown at the edges (it's a little harder to tell with graham crackers, but it should look dry and set). Set aside while you make the filling. Turn oven down to 325.
*NOTE* If you are making the cream pie version (and will not be baking the pie in the oven) you do not have to bake the crust, just chill it in the fridge until set, about 1 hour.
1 cup Brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 2/3 Cups milk
3 egg yolks
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In the top of a double boiler combine the sugar, flour, salt, and milk. Stir the mixture in the bowl while the water boils beneath it, cooking for about 10-12 minutes until the mixture thickens (stir it frequently). Thickening time depends on how cold your milk is to start with. It can take anywhere from 9-14 minutes to get it nice and thick like a pudding. In the first five minutes or so, it doesn't really thicken at all. Once it starts, the thickening goes fast, so watch it carefully and stir constantly once it starts. Once it has thickened, remove it from the heat.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks. Take a small amount of the hot milk/flour mixture (about a tablespoon) and stir it into the eggs. Add another spoonful and stir it in (you are "tempering" the eggs so they don't cook and curdle). Now pour the egg mixture into the rest of the hot milk mix. Return it to the double boiler and cook until thickened some more (about 3-5 minutes) stirring constantly. Take it off the heat. Add in the butter and vanilla extract. Now place a layer of Saran wrap directly on top of the filling (to avoid getting a thickened skin on top). Set aside for about 10 minutes and then pour into the crust.
*NOTE* If making the cream pie version, cool the filling completely in the fridge before filling the pie crust.
4 Egg Whites
4 Tablespoons Sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Beat the egg whites and the cream of tarter with a wire whisk until soft peaks form. Add 2 Tablespoons sugar, beat lightly for about 20 seconds. Add the other 2 Tablespoons and the vanilla. Beat until peaks are very stiff but still glossy. Spread over filling immediately and bake at 325 for approximately 15 minutes, until meringue is set and turning golden brown on top.
Allow to cool to room temp before slicing. Use a knife dipped in hot water to make clean cuts.
Fresh Whipped Cream (for Cream Pie version)
1 pint heavy cream
1/4 - 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
Make sure the cream is well-chilled, (I even chill the mixing bowl and beaters when I make whipped cream). Beat cream on high speed (or vigorously by hand with a wire whisk) until the cream is thickened. Add sugar and continue beating until it can form stiff peaks. Spread it over the chilled pie and then put the pie back in the fridge until serving.