Sunday, November 24, 2013

Butterscotch Pie, Version 2.0

Image of pie available at: http://tinyurl.com/m2rmx29
You may recall not long ago I blogged about the Butterscotch Pie with Curry Crust from Bon Appetit. You also may recall, that I did not exactly love the recipe. However, I kept thinking about that pie. I thought there was a good idea there, and I thought the recipe could be improved upon. Yes, the GourmetsBon Appetits, and Saveurs of the world do not always have perfect recipes. Sometimes they are fabulous, and sometimes they need a little work.

So I decided to go to work on that recipe, and, let me tell you, I have changed my opinion -- this one will make it to our Thanksgiving spread. I started with modifying the texture. The first pie was too much like Jell-o for my taste. I upped the cornstarch, and decreased the gelatin, and voil√†, much nicer mouthfeel. Secondly, I got rid of the molasses -- the caramelized sugar and brown sugar were plenty flavorful, and, I added whiskey, because heck, why not?

Now, about the crust. The crust is a big deal, it is what takes a kind of straight up custard pie and makes it interesting. And, while the curry in the crust was a great idea, I didn't want to hit diners over the head with it. I was hoping for more of a subtle, mysterious flavor that would make you go "Hmmm, what is that deliciousness?" I decreased the curry and the butter in the crust (there was way, way too much butter as the recipe was originally written). I also left out the sugar in the crust entirely. You use vanilla wafer cookies to make the crumbs -- given that these are already sweetened, I thought it unlikely the crust needed more sugar.

Disclaimer: this is not an easy recipe. It involves caramelizing sugar, and making a cooked egg custard on the stove -- arguably two of the more difficult techniques in cooking. But please, don't let this dissuade you from giving it a try. Whether it turns out perfectly, or gets messed up, you will learn a lot (which is fun!), and you might just end up with something of a showstopper on your Thanksgiving dessert table.

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