Nov 14, 2020

Butterscotch Pie with Caramelized Pecans

Prep Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
This non-traditional pie with a creamy, custardy, butterscotch base topped with caramelized pecans is a great option for any holiday dinner. Butterscotch is a soft yet rich and creamy alternative to caramel.

It differs by being made with brown sugar, melted butter and usually cream, though I opt for milk in this recipe. If I’m making pies for Thanksgiving I always make them the day before and store them refrigerated (or if you live in a place where the weather gets cold enough, in the garage). It keeps the work down on Thanksgiving Day so I don’t get stressed out.

Tempering is the process of slowly whisking part of a hot liquid into egg yolks and then pouring that diluted mixture back into the remaining hot liquid, usually custard. This process is done so that the eggs don’t immediately scramble when added to the hot liquid.

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Butterscotch Pie with Caramelized Pecans

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Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Serves 9


For the pie crust:

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup 16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½” pieces

For the butterscotch-pecan filling:

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • packed cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 large egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the caramelized pecans:

  • ½ cup packed cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 cups halved pecans


For the pie crust:

  • Add the flour, salt and sugar to a medium mixing bowl. Add the pieces of butter and use a pastry blender to cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse and pea size pieces of the butter remain.
  • Add 4 tablespoons of ice water to the dough and mix with your hands until dough comes together. Be careful not to over-mix (you should still be able to see pieces of the butter).
  • Divide the dough in half and wrap each in plastic wrap and flatten into disks. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

For the butterscotch-pecan filling:

  • Heat the oven to 350ºF.
  • Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and allow to melt. Whisk in the flour until combined followed by the sugar, milk and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has thickened, about 15 minutes.
  • Add the egg yolks to a medium mixing bowl and slowly whisk in 1 cup of the milk mixture to temper the eggs. Pour the egg mixture back to the milk mixture and add the vanilla extract, stirring to combine.

For the caramelized pecans:

  • Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of water and bring the mixture to a boil, about 5 minutes. Add the pecans, stirring to combine. Spread over a wire rack, separating the pecans and let cool completely for an hour.

For assembly:

  • On a clean, lightly floured work surface, roll out one half of the dough into a 14-inch circle. Wrap around a rolling pin and unroll on a 9-inch pie pan. Use your thumb and forefinger to crimp the pie crust.
  • Add a piece of parchment paper over the dough and fill with pie weights or uncooked rice. Bake until the dough is firm, about 15 minutes, then remove the pie weights and parchment paper and continue baking the crust until pale golden brown, about an additional 5 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  • Pour the filling into the pie crust. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack until the center has set, about 1 hour. Arrange the caramelized pecans on the top of the pie.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve, at least 4 hours until serving.



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