Butterscotch Pie — The Best for Now

UPDATE:  I’ve made this recipe many times since I first posted it in 2010. Over the years I’ve grown to prefer a whipped cream topping rather than the meringue.  However, it’s good with meringue if that’s what you’re into.  One thing you should know is that this pie is creamy.  It’s stiff enough so that you can cut it and it won’t run all over the place, but it is like butterscotch pudding in creamy pie form.   I’ve posted the updated version at the bottom.  The meringue version can be found using the link within the text.

Butterscotch Pie


After a trip to the store yesterday for some fresh cream of tartar, I made a third butterscotch pie. Because the second recipe was so good I only made minor changes, and I think with or without those changes this pie is *the one*. At least for now.

Butterscotch Pie

About those changes, rather than re-type the recipe I just incorporated them into the recipe I posted yesterday and will discuss them a little more after the jump

First, I used half dark and half light brown sugar. Light brown sugar tasted fine, but the dark brown sugar heightened the flavor. Since dark brown sugar is a little heavier and sweeter cup for cup, I didn’t pack it in quite as much.

Next, I made sure to warm the milk. Okay, so I did that in the first pie too, but I wanted to emphasize that because it really speeds things up and not all recipes say to do this. If you start with warm milk, you should only have to whisk about 6 minutes max. To warm the milk, just put the 2 cups in a microwave-safe glass measure and heat it for about a minute before proceeding with the recipe. And definitely use whole milk.

Another thing I felt improved the pie was using European style butter. When I buy ESB, I buy the salted type, so I used salted butter and found the little bit of salt plus the richer than usual butter made a difference.

The bad news is, the version made with the dark brown sugar and the fancy butter didn’t slice quite as neatly. But that might have been due to my problems with the crust. As usual, that particular crust recipe tends to stick to the side of the dish.

Butterscotch Pie

Now about the crust, I’ve been experimenting. The first time around I used a graham crust as directed in the recipe. It was very good, but for the next two pies I used plain pastry – Best Ever Pie Crust from allrecipes.com and another from CI/ATK. The allrecipes.com crust with the 1 cup flour, ½ cup fat, ¼ cup water ratio was a little too “short” for my tastes, but it did slice neatly and didn’t stick to the sides of the pan. The CI/ATK one was good, but not anything super special. Right now I think my favorite crust is still Greg Patent’s from Baking in America, but for now I recommend you go with your own favorite pie crust recipe.

So that’s it for butterscotch pie for now. I think what I really need to work on is crust since I’m still recipe hopping.

Butterscotch Pie -- The Best for Now
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Butterscotch Cream Pie topped with whipped cream. This pie is creamy -- neither too stiff nor runny. Make sure to use whole milk for best results.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8
  • 1 9 inch pie crust, homemade or store-bought, baked
  • 3 large egg yolks, room temp
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups whole milk, warmed slightly in microwave
  • 1 big pinch salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, European style or Land o Lakes**
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped Cream
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. With a fork, mix the three egg yolks together in a small cup or bowl. In a second bowl, whisk flour with half of the warm milk, until smooth. Whisk the egg yolks and the salt into the milk/flour mixture, then whisk in the remaining cup of warm milk. Set aside.
  2. Place the butter in a saucepan and soften it a little over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and whisk or stir for about 2 minutes or until butter is melted and sugar has dissolved. Whisk the milk mixture into the saucepan. Continue whisking constantly over medium heat until mixture thickens and bubbles — this should only take 2-3 minutes. After big bubbles start to form, continue whisking for another 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Lay a sheet of greased waxed paper directly over the top to prevent a skin from forming and let cool for about half an hour at room temperature.
  4. Transfer to the baked pie shell and chill thoroughly.
  5. Shortly before serving, prepare the whipped cream. In a chilled metal bowl using chilled beaters, beat the cream and sugar until stiff peaks start to form. Beat in the vanilla. Pipe around edges of the pie.


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  1. Amanda says

    I wonder how this would be in a shortbread crust? Dorie Greenspan’s book has one that rocks. 🙂 Glad the pie turned out!!

  2. Shelly says

    Wow! Now that is interesting that you used dark brown sugar (dbs)with the butterscotch. DBS has more molasses in it then the light brown sugar. I would have thought it would conflict with the butterscotch and made it overly sweet. Thanks Anna for getting the old noggin to rethink some of my families butterscotch recipes (a big hit with this clan)!

  3. CindyD says

    Have you ever tried an oil pastry crust? That’s my go-to pie crust because it cuts the fat/cholesterol a bit and we really like the flakiness. I also have good luck rolling it between two sheets of wax paper.

  4. Louise says

    My vote is for the Greg Patent basic pie dough that’s half butter and half lard. It’s great for all pies.

  5. says

    Oohh! That looks really good! I don’t think I’ve ever had butterscotch pie, but I’ve had the candy and oh is it ever good.

    I will definitely try out a recipe sometime soon!

  6. says

    Hi Shelly,

    I think it did make it a little sweeter even though I didn’t pack it. It tasted good and had a richer, deeper flavor. But I think you are right in that the “deeper” flavor (as I described it) is just more molasses. It’s a tough call as to what’s really better. I preferred the third pie, but the second one was perfectly good.

  7. says

    Louise, I like the recipe where he combines regular flour with cake flour and throws in an egg yolk.

    Crust Recipe – Adapted from Greg Patent

    1 cup all purpose flour (4.5 oz)
    1/3 cup cake flour (1.5 oz)
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut-up
    1/4 cup ice water
    1 egg yolk
    1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

    In bowl of food processor, combine flour, cake flour and salt. Pulse to mix. Alternatively, you can mix the flours and salt in a big bowl. In a separate bowl, stir together ice water, egg yolk and vinegar.

    Pulse flour mixture four or five times or until mixture appears chunky. If you’re doing this by hand, scatter the cut up butter over the flour and knead it in with your fingertips or a pastry cutter until you get pea size lumps.

    Pour the egg yolk mixture in a thin stream through the feed tube, pulsing constantly, until mixture forms several large chunks and almost gathers into a ball. If you’re doing this step by hand, pour in the egg and use a heavy duty scraper to gently push the dough together – push it up against the sides of the bowl to form the almost-ball.

    Spread a large sheet of plastic wrap on the counter. Empty mixture onto the plastic wrap and press into a 1 inch thick disc. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for one hour.

    Unwrap the dough and place it on a lightly floured surface. Roll dough into a 12 inch circle. Fold the circle in half, then fold in half again, and place the point in the center of a 9 inch Pyrex pie plate. Carefully unfold the dough and fit it into the pan by nudging it gently into the pan without stretching it. Trim the excess pastry to a ½ inch overhang. Fold the edge back under itself toward the side of the pan, and pinch the double thickness to make a high-standing rim. Flute it by pinching it at ½ inch intervals to make a zigzag pattern. Chill the lined pie plate for another hour or put it in the freezer for 25 minutes.

    Adjust oven rack to center position. Preheat to 400 degrees F.

    Place a large square of foil (Release foil is great for this) over unbaked pie crust and press gently over the bottom and sides. Fill the shell with dried beans or set pie weights in center. Bake for 20 minutes, until the edges of the pastry just begin to brown. Remove from the oven and carefully lift out the foil and weights. Prick the bottom of the pastry evenly with a fork, return to the oven and continue baking until golden brown and cooked through – 10 to 15 minutes more. Cool completely before filling.

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