Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Pi Day with Pie!

Happy Pi Day everyone!  This morning, when I remembered today was 3/14 (aka Pi Day), I immediately thought about one of my favorite pies!  My Grandma's butterscotch pie.  Growing up, this was always the one thing that my Grandma made for almost all of the family gatherings (actually two things, because she always made two).  There was even a time when she made a couple to be auctioned off at a benefit dinner!  Yes, auctioned off!  I think the going price was $45.  Before you ask, yes, it's that good!

Of course, since I forgot today was Pi Day, I wasn't prepared.  In the past, I've always just bought the pie crust from the store, but these days that seems silly.  I make my own butter after all, surely I can handle some pie crust.  So after work, I started and I have to say, I am very impressed with myself.  It's not perfect, but it's the best looking pie crust that has ever been formed with my two hands!  Gold star for me!!



This is also the first time I've made meringue in our KitchenAid.  What a breeze!!



I won't give you a crust recipe because you can use any crust.  I would suggest the one in the America's Test Kitchen cookbook that we love. Here's the recipe for the rest of the pie:

1 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons butter
2 cups milk
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
2 eggs + 1 extra egg white
vanilla to taste (I use about 1/2 teaspoon)
salt
1/4 cup sugar

Melt sugar and butter to caramel stage (do not need a candy thermometer).  The sugar and butter will be medium brown in color and thick (won't be a true caramel).  Add the milk slowly or the milk could curdle.  Stir until sugar crystals are dissolved.  If the mixture seems too chunky it will cook to a smooth mixture.  A wire whisk could be used to help smooth out the mixture if lumps are still visible.

Combine egg yolks, cornstarch, salt and part of the warmed milk mixture (tempering the eggs so they don't scramble when you mix them in with all the hot milk) to make thickening.  Add to milk mixture on stove top.  Stir continuously until mixture thickens and is smooth.  Pour into baked pie shell.  Makes 1 pie.

Meringue:

Beat 3 egg whites until frothy.  Add 1/4 cup of white sugar and pinch of salt.  Beat until it forms still peaks.  I usually add a little bit of vanilla at this point, but it's optional.

Spread carefully on top of pie filling and spread to the edges (make sure it touches the edge of the crust, or it'll shrink up to a meringue island).  Brown in a 375 degree oven just until the meringue is a golden brown.



Let it set for 10 minutes or so to cool and help it set up and then....


Well...this isn't a good example.  It was 10pm by the time we pulled it out of the oven.  Lynette and I had both been waiting for it, so we only let it cool for maybe 3 minutes.  It should set up quite a bit more once it cools down some.  I might add some extra cornstarch next time so it'll hopefully be a bit firmer right out of the oven.  

This is one of my favorite family recipes!  I'm so glad to be able to carry on the tradition of making this!

1 comment:

Rachel (Hounds in the Kitchen) said...

That's a beautiful pie crust! I'm usually satisfied with a much more 'rustic' looking one.

I may have to challenge myself to a meringue pie sometime - I've made hundreds of pies but never one topped with meringue.