Ms. American Pie, by Beth M. Howard (Race Point Publishing, 2014), shares Howard’s pie recipes for strawberry crumble, shaker lemon, banana cream and dozens more. Howard also shares her pie principles and stories of connecting with other people through pie. The following excerpt, from the chapter “Pies to Compete in the Iowa State Fair,” is a recipe for butterscotch pie.
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My pie mentor, Mary Spellman, always told me, “You can’t go wrong with brown sugar and butter.” She’s right. The caramel taste and creamy texture make everything seem right in the world. Maybe that’s why butterscotch pie is such a popular category at the Iowa State Fair.
Butterscotch Pie Recipe
• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, chilled and cut into large chunks
• 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, chilled
• 1 1/4 cups flour, plus at least 1/4 extra for rolling
• Dash of salt
• Ice water (fill a 1/2 cup but use only enough to moisten dough)
• 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
• 1⁄3 cup cornstarch
• 2 cups whole milk (for a richer pie, use half-and-half or mix in some heavy cream)
• 4 egg yolks (save whites for meringue)
• 2 tsp vanilla
• 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) butter
• 4 egg whites (6 egg whites for a bigger meringue)
• 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla
1. Prepare the Blind-Baked Crust.
2. Prepare the Filling: In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the brown sugar and cornstarch, then gradually stir in the milk. Cook until thick and bubbling. Remove from heat.
3. Beat egg yolks in a separate bowl.
4. Add about a cup of the hot mixture to the eggs, stirring quickly so the eggs don’t curdle. Then add this egg mixture back to the saucepan and continue cooking and stirring until it comes to a gentle boil again.
5. Continue cooking for 2 more minutes, stirring the entire time. (I hope you like stirring because that’s what it takes to make these cream pies!)
6. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and butter.
7. Pour into a blind-baked pie shell.
8. Prepare the Meringue: In a clean, grease-free bowl, beat egg whites until foamy.
9. Add cream of tartar and beat until peaks start to form.
10. Beat in sugar a little at a time. Add vanilla. Beat on high speed until peaks become stiff.
11. Spread the meringue over the pie filling, all the way to the edge of the pie crust to create a seal. Dab at meringue with the back of a large spoon, pulling up to create curlicue effect.
12. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes or until meringue peaks turn brown. Keep a close eye on it while the meringue is baking!
More from Ms. American Pie
Reprinted with permission from Ms. American Pie: Buttery Good Pie Recipes and Bold Tales From the American Gothic House, by Beth M. Howard, and published by Race Point Publishing, 2014. Buy this book from our store: Ms. American Pie: Buttery Good Pie Recipes and Bold Tales From the American Gothic House.