Originally from Classic Home Desserts, this is one of my favorite recipes for Butterscotch Meringue Pie. A few things I’ve learned over time are to a) use whole milk b) make sure to cook the filling for 3 minutes after it boils to prevent runniness and c) make sure you cream of tartar is fresh and hasn’t absorbed any odors.
Here’s an old picture of the pie. The most recent is the one above. I really like this version of Butterscotch Pie because the ingredients are so basic that I almost always have them around. The meringue calls for 3 egg whites, but if you’d like a bigger and fluffier meringue, you can use 4 and increase the sugar. I added that to the notes.
If you like the idea of Butterscotch Pie but don’t want to bother with meringue, here’s a recipe for Butterscotch Cream Pie.
- 3 large egg yolks room temp
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups whole milk warmed slightly in microwave
- 1 big pinch salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter salted European style if possible
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar (100 grams)
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar (100 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 9 inch pie crust, baked
- 3 large egg whites** room temp
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Have all meringue ingredients measured out and ready to go - -you’ll need to make it quickly.
- Whisk the 3 egg yolks together in a bowl. In a second bowl, whisk flour with half of the warm milk, until smooth. Whisk the beaten egg yolks and the salt into the milk/flour mixture, then whisk in the remaining cup of milk. Set aside.
- 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 3 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the hot filling into the crust. Make meringue quickly so that you can put it on the filling while it’s hot (helps cook underside of the meringue).
- Make meringue. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks just begin to form. Beat in the vanilla, then slowly beat in the sugar and continue doing so until mixture is thick and fluffy. Scrape over hot filling. Set pie on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Let pie cool at room temperature for an hour, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 4 hours or until set.
Consider using brown sugar in the meringue instead of regular sugar. My grandmother made it that way. However, she didn’t use cream of tarter in her meringue. Feel free to take a peek at my blog if you want to see my grandmother’s recipe and the results with brown sugar meringue. I posted step by step instructions for my family since it is a family recipe.
As for it being runny, you might need more flour. My grandma used 5 tablespoons of flour and only 1-1/2 cups of whole milk. But, butterscotch is tricky and you have to stir for what feels a long time to get the consistency right. In my experience, butterscotch does not thicken much more after it cools.
Jenny, thanks for the feedback!!! I’m glad you liked it, that it set up, and that you didn’t have any issues along the way.
I made this pie, it turned out really well. The family loved it. It set up just right, and the flavor was amazing!!
This pie looks scrumptious!!
I’m with Dawn and use h&h too for baking and cooking. And I buy full fat cheeses as I’d rather eat a little of the real thing than more of something less tasty. But 1% is fine on cereal 🙂
Dawn, that’s what I’m learning. I usually make pie on last minute impulses and 2% is all we have around, but I think I’m going to start buying whole.
Erin, I love meringue! Some meringue is better than others, though. It can be eggy or runny or it can be sweet and candy-like. Making good meringue takes practice. The one that goes with this pie isn’t my favorite meringue recipe, but it’s convenient and uses the 3 leftover egg whites.
Erin @ CelticHeart Designs
That looks so good. I’ve never had meringue before though. Is it good?
anna you know i rarely use 2% milk when baking and cooking. it just never works, too watery you know? i always like to use h&h.
Looks yummy! I have a butterscotch craving now!
Ohhh butterscotch AND meringue. Heaven.
That was my fave pie that my grandmother made. She would make it just for me when everyone else had lemon or others. I know hers was runny sometimes, but not all the time even with the same recipe, I think she said something about the humidity? I can’t remember. I think I have her recipe buried somewhere. Now I have a craving!
Who knew you must leave the lid on cream of tartar?
Bummer about the cream of tartar! The pie looks great though, butterscotch is such a great flavor 🙂
the pie looks so yummy
i’ve never had butterscotch pie! *gasp* but it sounds really yummy. i’m going to have to try this one!!!
Debbi Does Dinner Healthy
My brother LOVES butterscotch. He’s dieting this week too. I should so make this. Yes, I’m mean, I know.
Marykate, yes. If you make this pie for your dad I am quite sure he will love it. I’m playing around with the recipe this evening and will have a slightly different version by tomorrow, but if you want to make this one as-is today, I think you will be happy with the results.
is this the best butterscotch pie you’ve made so far? since you posted your first recipe, i’ve decided butterscotch is the perfect pie to bake for my dad’s 50th birthday. i eagerly await your recommendation and helpful tips!!