Monday, November 15, 2010

Pie Week!

Just like Shark Week but sweeter!

Eons and eons ago, when I was but a mere teenager, I spent a summer working at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. I was there to play nanny to a young baby, the son of the hotel manager, and to free my parents, who were living in North Carolina, of my presence so they could have sex anytime they damned well pleased.

Beside the perks of being able to use the spa free of charge, to eat anything on the premises I desired, and to spend hours hanging poolside with hunky teenage lifeguards, all while getting paid, I got to play Suzie Homemaker and bake during the baby's naptime. On one such magical afternoon, and after searching for recipes which I had the ingredients to make, I discovered the glory that is Butterscotch Cream Pie.

Although a butterscotch pie is not traditional for Thanksgiving, and, in fact, no pie that I feature this week will be, it is a delectable dessert treat. Not too sweet, the richness of its pudding filling is balanced with the lightness of meringue cradled in a flaky pie crust. It's ready for its closeup, Mr DeMille. Just bake and devour.

Recipe was submitted by Colleen on the website. The photos are my own. 

And, no, I am not a photographer. If Barry or Julie visit, you'll be able to see some quality food porn.

Butterscotch Cream Pie

Submitted By: Colleen
Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Ready In: 45 Minutes
Servings: 8

"This recipe has been a favorite of mine and my family for over 50 years. The meringue topping with the butterscotch filling makes for a very rich dessert, eat it warm."
2 cups milk
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Brush pie crust lightly with egg white to seal. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, or until light brown and crisp. Remove from oven and reduce temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.In a small bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar and salt; set aside. In the top of a double boiler over medium heat, scald the milk while stirring with a whisk. Slowly whisk in the flour mixture. Cook, stirring constantly until thickened; remove from heat.
3.Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Stir in 1/3 of the milk mixture to temper the yolks, Then pour the yolk mixture back into the pan. Return to the stove and cook, stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Pour into baked pie crust.
4.In a large glass or metal mixing bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar and confectioners' sugar until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over pie, covering completely.
5.Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 to 15 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown in spots.

What I did right: As I don't cotton to tempering egg yolks (pathological fear of scrambling), I performed my Time Saving Superhero Pudding and Pie Filling Shortcut. After whisking the dry ingredients together in a heavy bottomed saucepan (I prefer All-Clad Master Chef), I mixed in the egg yolks and then drizzled in the milk before heating the pan. After about ten minutes of stirring with a whisk, the mixture thickened and came to a full boil. I took it off the heat, added the butter and twice the vanilla called for, and, shazam, butterscotch pie filling. Also, I used a clean copper bowl and a handheld mixer to beat the egg whites, giving me picture-perfect meringue.
What I did wrong: I could say I did nothing wrong though I did insist on using my favorite Emile Henry 10" pie plate which was a tad large for this recipe. My 8" Pyrex would have made a high and perfect pie but it's boring glass and I like pretty dishes. I am a girl after all.
What I thought of it: Delicious! There I was right back at The Greenbrier all over again, poolside with hunky teenage lifeguards. Then, I started to feel pervy because I am 47  and my twin boys are the same age as those lifeguards were so I just ate quietly and minded my own beeswax while my waistline expanded.
How I'll tweak it next time: I'll search the internets for a smaller but still pretty pie plate or, sigh, use the Pyrex one. Other than that, I won't change a thing.

Unless you all have a special request, tomorrow we'll talk dough and sweet potatoes. And ugly pie plates because the pretty one has a pie in it. 

BTW, Helen would definitely enjoy a piece of this pie. She liked having  "a little meat on her bones". In moderation. "Everything in moderation."

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