Recipe: Browned Butter Butterscotch Pie

With fall lingering in the air down South - and throughout the rest of the country - the chilly weather can only mean one thing: it's pie season down in Dixie.

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While the fruity pies of summer are perfectly acceptable, I must admit that I'm a winter pie kind of girl. Give me pumpkin, sweet potato, and pecan over berries any day. So when a colleague recently requested that I make "something with butterscotch," I didn't have to think too hard about it. Needless to say, I happily obliged.

There's a bevy of butterscotch pie recipes floating around the food world. Trust me, I know. I've made (and eaten) my fair share of them. And while I love a cool butterscotch cream pie in the summer, I really crave a dark and rich sort of pie once October creeps in... a broody pie with the intense flavors of nutty browned butter and sugary sweet caramel. Yes, please.

This old Southern favorite is a great way to celebrate the season. Add a splash of bourbon and you've got yourself a party. Whether you bring this butterscotch pie to a fall festival or serve it on your holiday table, it's guaranteed to wrap you up in warmth.

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Browned Butter Butterscotch Pie

serves 8 to 10

For the filling
1 standard pie crust, blind-baked and cooled (Recipes: Sour Cream Pie Crust or Basic Pie Crust)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon bourbon whiskey

For the whipped cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the filling
In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Continue to cook until lightly browned, stirring occasionally, approximately 10 minutes. Add brown sugar to butter and cook until sugar is completely melted and a paste is formed.

Combine evaporated milk and regular milk and pour into the butter/brown sugar mixture. Bring to a simmer and stir until it is smooth and the sugar is completely dissolved.

In a separate bowl, combine cornstarch, flour, and salt. Pour 1/ 2 cup of the milk/butter/sugar mixture into the cornstarch mixture and whisk until smooth. Pour the smooth cornstarch mixture back into saucepan, stirring constantly. Cook for approximately one minute, until just thickened (cooking the cornstarch much longer can actually cause it to lose its thickening ability).

Stream 1/2 cup hot milk/butter/sugar mixture into the egg yolks, stirring constantly (this is called tempering; it prevents the yolks from curdling in the heat). Pour this mix back into the saucepan. Cook for approximately 30 seconds to one minute, and then remove from heat. Stir in whiskey. Allow to cool until warm, about 10 to 15 minutes. Strain filling through a fine mesh sieve and then pour into cooked piecrust.

Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding in order to prevent a skin from forming. Chill overnight, or until firm.

For whipped cream
In a medium-sized bowl, whip the heavy cream with an electric mixer until foamy and starting to thicken. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until soft peaks are just formed.

If serving whole pie, top with whipped cream and slice. If serving just a few pieces, slice and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

Related: Southern Pies by Nancie McDermott

(Images: Nealey Dozier)

Per serving, based on 8 servings. (% daily value)
Calories
431
Fat
26.3 g (40.4%)
Saturated
16.4 g (81.9%)
Trans
0.5 g
Carbs
45 g (15%)
Fiber
0.1 g (0.5%)
Sugars
38 g
Protein
4.5 g (8.9%)
Cholesterol
85.1 mg (28.4%)
Sodium
219 mg (9.1%)

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Nealey Dozier is a former wedding planner turned chef, culinary instructor, recipe developer, and food writer. She is based in Atlanta. You can find more of her Southern adventures in eating and entertaining at www.dixiecaviar.com.