The delight of butterscotch pie 

Don Bingham whipped up a delicious butterscotch pie for this month’s Entertaining article. (Mike Kemp photos)

by Don Bingham

We all have our favorite pies – one of mine is Coconut Cream Pie – but a close second is Butterscotch Pie with Seven Minute Frosting! Oh my, I’m tempted to make several while working on this article and distribute them to the neighbors!

The word “butterscotch” was first recorded in Doncaster, a Yorkshire city in England, by Samuel Parkinson, around 1817. It is basically made by boiling sugar syrup, butter, cream and a variety of other chef-choice additions, such as lemon juice. The origin may be connected to Scotland, and even to the word “scorch.” Butterscotch mixture is actually heated to 270-290F or 132-148C. It is different than butterscotch chips, butterscotch pudding or butterscotch flavorings.

There are so many schools of thought on the meringue for pies; some diners prefer egg whites, some whipped cream, some rake the topping off to the side.

When I am truly enjoying a cream-based pie (realizing I must throw all nutrition and heart-healthy dining out the window for a brief season), I prefer a piled high Seven Minute Frosting for the pie topping. It is such an amazing, smooth, creamy texture – rich in every way. It takes a bit more effort to make the Seven Minute Frosting for a pie topper, but it is worth every minute of it, once you are confident in the cooking procedure!

I have included with this article a favorite Butterscotch Pie Recipe, and a Seven Minute Frosting topping for the pie. The frosting is wonderful for cakes. The pie can have your choice of topping – whipped cream, egg white meringue or Seven Minute Frosting – all are great toppers!

The Seven Minute Frosting is much more simple than you think – and it is also the basis for an amazing buttercream frosting (simply add room temperature pats of real butter, a little as a time, to the cooled frosting). Be sure to take note that all ingredients are placed in a double boiler container – even the raw egg whites – once they have reached the proper temperature. They are placed in a mixing bowl and whipped to spreading consistency! Try it sometime, you’ll be delighted with the results!

Rich Butterscotch Pie

3/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed

1/3 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups water

3 eggs, separated

3 tablespoons butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 (9-inch) pie shell, baked and cooled

6 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 325. Combine brown sugar, flour and salt in top of double boiler. Blend in 2 cups water; cook over simmering water, stirring constantly, until thick and smooth. In a small bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored. Add small amount of hot mixture to egg yolks; mix well. Add yolks to hot mixture. Cook stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Remove from heat; add butter and vanilla. Cool slightly; spoon into pie shell.

Meringue:  Wash and dry mixer beaters and small bowl. Place egg whites in bowl; beat until soft peaks form. Continue beating while adding sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time; beat until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over warm filling, sealing to edge. Bake until meringue is lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Cool before serving.

Seven Minute Frosting

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

6 egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla

Place first three ingredients in double boiler over boiling water.  Cook for approximately 2 to 5 minutes, or until 160 degrees. Time will vary. Place in mixer bowl and beat on high speed for 5 minutes – add one teaspoon vanilla.

Don Bingham
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