Obligatory Fearless Friday Spiel:
Fearless Fridays are an exercise in kitchen bravery. It’s not about grossout games like Fear Factor, no, Fearless Friday is trying to learn a new skill. It’s a time to stop making excuses and try to cook, even if it doesn’t turn out perfectly. It’s serving a vegetarian dish to your meat and potatoes family or taking a walk down the freezer aisle deciding to try make one of those items on your own. For some, Fearless Friday is cooking a meal or not eating out. We all have our starting point, the key to becoming successful is to keep going, even if it doesn’t turn out perfectly.
This must be the summer of the pie. For someone who isn’t even into pie, there has been a crazy amount of baking happening. Last week I was poking around on a website and found where someone had posted an audio file of their aunt explaining her award winning butterscotch pie. When I heard the clip, I just knew that this would be my Fearless Friday. I didn’t even realize it would be a meringue until the end of the clip.
I like clear cut directions and these took some deciphering, but I was curious to see what this pie looked like. The recipe had no gorgeous photos, no clear list of ingredients, yet something about it said, “Try me.” I played with a couple ingredients, but in the spirit of Fearless Friday I tried to keep true to Robert’s aunt.
Did you push the boundaries in the kitchen this week? If you are a blogger, please share your success or failure in the MckLinky (we’re trying something new this week). If you don’t have a blog, we want to hear what you have to say, please leave a comment. If you’d like to include the badge on your site, here’s the code:
Aunt Jo’s Butterscotch Meringue Pie
- 1 pre-baked pie shell
- 5 TBSP butter
- 1 cup, packed light brown sugar
- 3 TBSP corn starch
- 1/2 TBSP half and half (or milk)
- 3 eggs, separated
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- pinch cream of tartar
- 1 TBSP confectioners (powdered) sugar
Separate the eggs. Trust me, do this first, you don’t want to worry about your filling scorching while trying to keep a yolk from breaking. Place the yolks in a small bowl. Make sure your mixing bowl is clean and dry. Any stray droplets of oil will reduce the volume of your meringue. Place the egg whites in the mixing bowl and set aside.
Lightly beat the egg yolks, then add to the 2 cups of milk, stir in the vanilla, and set aside.
In a heavy sauce pan whisk the cornstarch and brown sugar together. Add the butter and turn the burner to medium heat. Stir occasionally until the butter and sugar have melted. If your pan is thin, use Emily’s tip and first set a large frying pan on the burner, then the pan you use to melt the sugar. This step takes some patience and scorched sugar is a pain to clean.
Do not turn up the heat. Stir in the 1/2 TBSP (just eyeball it) of half and half or milk. Keep stirring, I let this lightly boil for about ten minutes.*
*The recipe’s creator said, “You know how taffy gets?” Well, I don’t, since I’ve never bothered to make taffy, so I just kept slowly stirring hoping it would eventually completely melt or do something interesting. Eventually I decided the liquid would dissolve the last of the sugar grains.
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Slowly drizzle in the milk, egg yolk, and vanilla mixture. Stir constantly while adding the liquid. If your addition gets ahead of the sugar mixture (it starts pooling on the top) stop adding and stir until the mixture is smooth before adding more.
If you have a stand mixture, now is a good time to start your meringue.
Bring the filling to a boil and stir until it begins to thicken. Remove the pan from the heat and cover with plastic wrap if you have not yet started the meringue.
In a clean stainless steel or glass mixing bowl, add the egg whites and cream of tartar. Beat on low until a froth begins to form, then increase the speed to medium,as the whites gain volume increase the speed to medium high then finally high until the meringue forms stiff peaks. Do not turn the mixer off, just sprinkle the sugar into the bowl while it beats.
Once the sugar has been incorporated immediately begin spreading it over the hot pie filling. The hot pie filling cooks the underside of the meringue. Be sure to seal the meringue to the crust or it will shrink and pull away from the edges.
Bake at 375 for 8 – 10 minutes. The meringue should be a golden brown.
To avoid toddler in the kitchen syndrome, I made this pie late in the evening, requiring it to cool overnight before sampling. I am not always a huge fan of sweets and I was not in the mood for pie before 6am. The flavor was very good. It is a very sweet pie and I was overwhelmed. Mr. Heather gladly took my piece and swiped the rest of the pie to share with his co-workers. Since it IS his birthday, I didn’t argue.