Ok everyone, repeat after me, browned butter scotch pie. A little slower now: Browned. Butter. Scotch. Pie.
Oh yes, this is not your average butterscotch pie, but one dressed up with browned butter and a splash of real Scotch and crowned with a fluffy meringue topping.
Browned butter has been in vogue of late, and if you haven't met, it's about time you got acquainted. Browned butter takes on a nutty deep flavor completely different than regular butter, and best of all the deep flavor means you don't have to use as much butter to get maximum oomph out of it. I've written this recipe with an indulgent four tablespoons, but if you're watching things in the calorie arena, I think three tablespoons would do just fine.
A hint of Scotch spikes the pie, and if you're like me with little liquor collection to speak of, then it pays to have a good friend who happens to live nearby and can exbound upon the merits of single and double malts for a good half hour. Yes, I hope you all have such neighbors.
I made my crust with half whole wheat flour because I like the nubbly toastiness it brings to the pie, almost cookie-like as it crumbles. And even though the pie has deep assertive flavors of butter, Scotch, and wheat, it's nice and light enough for summer, when something cool and creamy is always welcome.
Browned Butter Scotch Meringue Pie
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon Scotch, or 1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch salt
1 (9 inch) pie crust, baked and cooled
4 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Combine brown sugar and cornstarch in a bowl. Beat in the egg yolks until the mixture is thick and forms ribbons when drizzled from a whisk.
3. In saucepan, heat the milk until steaming but not boiling. Add about a quarter of the milk to the egg mixture and stir to combine. Add the egg mixture back into the saucepan and stir to combine.
4. Place the pan on medium/low heat and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Remove from heat and add the Scotch/vanilla and salt.
5. Let the pudding cool to room temperature, while it is cooling make the brown butter. Place the butter in a saucepan and let melt, watch carefully as the butter browns and releases a nutty aroma, making sure it doesn't burn. Remove pan from the heat and let the brown butter cool slightly. then whisk the brown butter into the pudding. Pour the pudding into the prepared pie crust and place in the refrigerator while you make the meringue.
6. With a mixer, beat egg whites with vanilla and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff and glossy peaks form and all sugar is dissolved.
7. Spread meringue over slightly warm filling, spreading to edge of crust.
8. Bake pie at 350° for 12 to 15 minutes, or until meringue is golden. Cool for 10-15 minutes. Store in the fridge, loosely covered.