Sue’s Butterscotch Pie is our favorite butterscotch cream pie recipe. Years ago I posted the 7 inch version, but I eventually scaled it up by 1/3 to make enough filling for a 9 inch pie. Hopefully some of you will try it, because it’s a very good rendition of classic butterscotch pie.
Sue’s Butterscotch Pie History
Sue shared this recipe a few years ago, along with a story of its origin. When she was in third grade, she and her classmates put together a book of recipes for Mother’s Day. This pie was her contribution to the little book, which her mother returned to her recently. Sue joked that she really liked the book because aside from one chili recipe, it’s mostly sweets.
Graham Cracker or Pastry Crust
Below is my take on Sue’s Butterscotch Pie. I’ve found that the cinnamon flavor of Nabisco Cinnamon Grahams really complements the deep brown sugar and butterscotch flavor, so I make it a point to use cinnamon flavor grahams instead of regular. I usually just crush them in a zipper bag with a rolling pin rather than use the food processor. This recipe also works well with a baked pastry crust, so if you are practicing your pastry crust skills or have an extra roll of refrigerated pie dough, you can pre-bake it and use the butterscotch filling.
Meringue or Whipped Cream
Meringue pies come together quickly if you assemble everything beforehand as instructed in the recipe. One thing I’ve learned with meringue pies is that it’s important for the filling to be hot when you slather it on. The heat from the filling helps cook the base. So for this recipe, have everything ready to go, whip up the meringue and let it sit for a few minutes while you cook the hot filling. That way you can put the meringue on the filling while it’s at its hottest.
Sue’s Butterscotch Pie is also great sweetened whipped cream instead of meringue. And lately, that’s exactly what I use. I just like whipped cream better. So if using whipped cream, you’ll want to let the filling cool down (you can put a piece of waxed paper or parchment over it), chill it a bit, then add the whipped cream.
Sue’s Butterscotch Pie Dish Size
This recipe was originally developed for a 7 inch pie dish. I increased the filling by about 1/3 to make it more amenable to a 9 inch pie dish. Still, it’s shallow. One thing that would work really well which I haven’t tried yet would be to use a store bought graham cracker crust (like a Keebler) and pour the filling into that. Those crusts tend to be smaller. But that is heresy to some (including my daughter) who would rather just use any type of homemade crust not matter the size.
Another option would be to just make it as a 6 or 7 inch pie. You can use this exact recipe, in which case you will have a little extra filling, or you can use the original version I posted when Sue first gave me the recipe. I linked to it in the first paragraph.
Help! My Filling is Runny!
This pie is thickened with egg yolks and less than 3 T. of flour. The filling will set up, but it needs at least 4 hours in the refrigerator. When my daughter first made this pie at college she called frantically saying the pie filling thickened, but had become runny during the cooling process. I told her that if she cooked the filling as directed and made sure to kill the amylase in the egg yolks with the 2 minute stir, it would set. It did. It just took a while. Also, another thing that helps this pie set is the butter. The butter melts into the filling when it’s hot, but butter eventually cools and sets too, so you do need that butter to set the pie. If you leave it out or use some sort of tub margarine, the pie probably won’t set right. So do use the butter.
Sue’s Butterscotch Pie
- 1 1/2 cup crushed graham crackers 18 squares (1 sleeve)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons butter melted
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 cup packed brown sugar, dark or light (200 grams)
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons flour
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1 1/3 cup whole milk
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons butter room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 large large egg whites room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 inch glass pie dish.
- Combine graham crackers and sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir in the butter. Press mixture into the pie dish and bake at 350 degrees F. for 8 minutes. Let cool while you make filling.
- Whisk the egg yolks together in a bowl and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan that is not yet set over heat, stir together the brown sugar, flour, and salt; set aside and prepare meringue.
- Combine the egg whites and the salt in a metal bowl and beat with an electric mixer until soft peaks start to form. Add the sugar 2 tablespoons at a time until the sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks form. Set it aside and proceed with the filling.
- Warm the milk in the microwave for 1 ½ minutes. Set the saucepan with the brown sugar mixture over medium heat and gradually whisk in the warm milk. Continue to whisk over medium heat until mixture begins to simmer.
- Gradually whisk about a cup of the milk mixture into the egg yolks, then add the egg yolk mixture to the saucepan and continue whisking and stirring over medium heat until mixture thickens and bubbles. Whisk and stir for another 2 minutes. Note: This 2 minutes of whisking is important! You want to start the 2 minute timer right after big bubbles start breaking the surface.
- Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla. Pour into the prepared pie crust and quickly top with the meringue, sealing the edges.
- Bake the pie for 10-12 minutes (or until nicely browned) at 350 degrees F. Let cool at room temperature for an hour, then transfer to the refrigerator and chill for 4 hours or more.
I am the daughter in question – the pie did indeed set after 4 hours! Every single time a recipe says “chill for x hours to set,” I manage to convince myself it won’t actually set, freak out for x hours, and am somehow always surprised when I take it out of the fridge and find it’s done exactly what the recipe said it would do. This says less about the pie and more about the fact that I apparently have trust issues, but that’s not something we need to unpack in the comments section of my mother’s blog. Anyhoo, I threw a dash of cinnamon into the butterscotch filling and baked it in a par-baked all-butter crust I had lying around. My housemates really liked this one! I left it in the fridge and it was gone within a day. Someone even liked it so much that they handwashed my pie dish for me after the last piece was finished!
I made your bigger version and it turned out great. Thanks for updating the recipe with this more useful size.
Hi Anna, Your butterscotch pie sounds yummy and congratulations on the cookbook. You may already have one of these, but I just bought a divided pie pan that can make 2 diffent half-pies. I can’t tell you how many times I have baked a half pie by rigging a foil divider in the middle of the pan, so I was excited to find a pan that already had the divider.
Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy
my oh my that looks outrageous! i love butterscotch!
I figured it was someone I knew who’d forgotten to put their name, but I couldn’t quite place it. It’s good to hear from you!! I think of you every time I go to Whole Foods :).
Hmm…that was my post about meringue….not sure what happened. I post less these days as I am on a new journey with my dad’s dementia but I read your blog every day, Anna. Again, congratulations on the cookbook!
Thanks so much for commenting on my book! Also, thanks for giving me the opportunity to say this pie would be excellent with lightly sweetened whipped cream. I should have mentioned that above, but I don’t see why you couldn’t just skip the meringue (and second round of baking) altogether and just put whipped cream over the top.
I just love butterscotch pie! I am one of those rare birds who is not fond of meringue so I prefer to top cream pies with whipped cream but this looks fabulous. (Can’t wait for the cookbook, btw….I probably have two dozen just devoted to cookies but I will certainly add yours to my collection!)
I’ve never tasted Butterscotch Pie, but I’d love to make it since butterscotch is one of my favorite flavors. I imagine the crust and meringue topping compliment the filling perfectly.
Yes, Fuzz is quite into Garfield.
I love the story as well as the pie! Speaking of nostalgia, is the pie on a Garfield book?
Good to have a bigger version of this pie! I love the idea of the cinnamon grahams for the crust! YUM!!!!