Butterscotch Pumpkin Pie

October 30, 2013

butterscotch pumpkin pie | une gamine dans la cuisine

We're just one day shy of Hallowe'en, October's magnificent bon voyage festival! I should note that I am over summer. (It happened three weeks ago, when I bit into a warm cinnamon doughnut from the local orchard.)  If, on occasion, I lament the dwindling daylight or icy "typing" fingertips, autumn gently coaxes my gaze from sticky summer afternoons. The burnt orange sassafras outlined against an oxford blue sky, a drifting scent of smoldering leaves from the house down the road and the intoxicating aroma of spices wafting around ovens from coast to coast. Autumn surrounds me with the warmth of an earthy oversize sweater. I am utterly content with this rare mental alignment with the season.

October my darling, I saved the best for last. A month without pie would be tragic.

butterscotch pumpkin pie | une gamine dans la cuisine

Please don't let the length of this recipe dissuade you. Read through it a few times and you will find that it's not as tangled as it appears at first glance (the crust and filling can be made in advance).

The crust contains ground walnuts and buttermilk - not too sweet, not too savoury and super-easy to work with.  A good crust sets the foundation for a superb pie; how often have you carved the filling out of a pie because its crust was intolerable? (So sad when that happens.) This flaky crust pairs perfectly with the sinfully decadent filling. Even if, like me, you're not a fan of pumpkin pie, you will adore this rendition! It's actually more butterscotch-esque than pumpkin. You start out by caramelizing dark brown sugar with butter and maple syrup, next you stream in the scotch and heavy cream and after a few agonizing moments of wondering if the caramel bits will melt (they will!), you're left with an intoxicating butterscotch "milk." The pumpkin, once it's added with cinnamon and ginger, is really more of an afterthought; not at all overpowering.

Last but not least, the cloud of fluffy meringue. To be perfectly honest, I originally made the meringue for the sake of better quality photos! I'm not a meringue fan. Thanks to this recipe, that's no longer the case. The sweetly toasted meringue truly makes this pie more polished. It's the fedora to a pinstripe suit.

Happy All Hallows' Eve, everyone!

butterscotch pumpkin pie | une gamine dans la cuisine

butterscotch pumpkin pie
makes one 9-inch pie

for the crust
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons chopped walnuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup (that's 1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes {Note: I cut the butter into cubes and let it freeze overnight in a covered bowl.}
3 -5 Tablespoons cold buttermilk

for the filling
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup scotch or whisky
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

for the meringue
4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Prepare the crust: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, walnuts, salt, and granulated sugar. Add the cold butter cubes and mix until evenly coated.

Place everything into the bowl of a large food processor. Using several short bursts, pulse until the mixture resembles cornmeal (it will look very dry). Transfer the mixture back to the large mixing bowl and place the bowl into freezer. Freeze for about 30 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the freezer and sprinkle about 1 Tablespoon of the buttermilk on top of the mixture. Use a wooded spoon, a rubber spatula (or your hands) to gently work the milk into the dough. Keep adding buttermilk, one Tablespoonful at a time, and mixing, until the dough starts to form a ball (you might not need all 5 Tablespoons). Don't add too much milk - the dough should be cohesive and slightly wet, but not sticky. Gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. {Note: Well wrapped, the dough can be refrigerated for three days.}

Remove dough from the fridge. On a very well-floured surface, using a well-floured rolling pin, roll the disk into a 12-13 inch circle that's about 1/4-inch thick. Gently place the circle of dough into a 9-inch pie plate. (Note: Be sure it's centered, if you try to stretch the dough at this point it will shrink whilst baking.) Trim the overhang to one inch, tuck it under the crust and pleat the edges. Refrigerate the crust for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Remove crust from the fridge and prick the bottom with the tines of a fork. Butter the shiny side of tin foil (a large enough piece to cover the pie crust) press the foil, butterside down, into the chilled crust and line the foil with pie weights (or uncooked beans). Bake for 20 minutes - Don't turn off the oven. Carefully remove the weights and foil, using the back of a spoon to gently press down any puffed areas. Continue baking the crust, uncovered, for another 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and place onto a cooling rack; Cool completely before adding the filling.

Prepare the filling: Before you begin, measure out your scotch and cream ahead of time and put them within reach of the stove. Also have a strainer set over a medium heatproof bowl.

Place 1/2 cup of sugar, butter, maple syrup and salt into a medium sauce pan. Whisking occasionally, cook over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and cook until deep brown (about 5-10 minutes, depending on the amount of heat). Remove the pan from the heat. Slowly whisk in the scotch and cream {Note: The mixture will sputter and spew so be careful!} When the liquids are added to the sugar, it will seize up - don't panic. Return the pan to medium heat - continue cooking and whisking until the caramel bits are mostly dissolved. Strain the butterscotch into heatproof bowl. Cool until it reaches room temperature (about 20 minutes).

If you turned off the oven, set to 375 F.

In a separate bowl whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup of brown sugar and pumpkin. One by one, whisk in the eggs, whisking for about one minute after each addition. Finally, whisk in the cinnamon and ginger. Add to the cool butterscotch and whisk until well combined. {Note: The filling can be made a day in advance. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.}

Pour the filling into the baked pie crust. Bake 45-55 minutes, or until the filling is set. {Note: Cover the crust with foil if it looks like it's browning too much.} Remove the pie from the oven and place onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before topping with meringue.

Prepare the meringue: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and cream of tarter on high speed until frothy. Whilst beating, slowly stream in the 1/2 cup of sugar - continue beating until stiff peaks form. Coat the cooled pie with meringue, using an offset spatula to make random peaks. If you have a blow torch, use it to brown the meringue. If you don't have a blow torch, place the pie onto a large baking sheet and place it under your oven's broiler - don't step away as it's broiling and turn the sheet every few seconds to enure even browning.


filling adapted from bon app├ętit


  1. Gorgeous pie! I love all the elements (the walnut & buttermilk crust, the boozy filling, the meringue topping). Simply sublime!

  2. I wasn't sure how these flavours would work together, but this pie sounds divine. (You had me at scotch.) What a perfect fall recipe!

  3. What a lush and lovely recipe. Walnuts, whiskey and meringue, so, so intoxicating! What a way to welcome fall!

  4. holy cow, this is an epic pumpkin pie Valerie! gorgeous and I can imagine how absolutely delicious it tastes!

  5. This pumpkin pie might seriously go down in history!!

  6. Divine and incredibly tempting! This is a top-notch pie.



  7. I LOVE the idea of making butterscotch pumpkin pie...the plain old pies I made last night for this evening look a little sad now :-)

  8. Beautiful pie and gorgeous images, Valerie. I need to get in the kitchen and start baking1 :)

  9. Valerie - this is a STUNNING pie~ Despite pie not being one of my favorite desserts - I might have to make this beauty!!

  10. Doesn't the pumpkin go so well with butterscotch?
    I really hate the taste of butterscotch chips on their own but wow mixed with pumpkin it's so good!

  11. Lovely rendition of pumpkin pie. I've never been a huge fan of pumpkin pie since to me it's too bland, but this I could really go for. I'm going to try your pie out and crust it sounds delish. As always your writing is captivating!

  12. I've yet to bake with pumpkin this season and it's already November! Hope to be able to remedy this by Thanksgiving.

    Lovely pie!!

  13. I just made my first pumpkin pie from scratch last week, as practice for the ones I have to bring to Thanksgiving, and now all the stores have stopped carrying pumpkins. Oh bother.
    But the scotch and butterscotch sound interesting, I might try something different. Thanks

  14. Oh! This pie looks absolutely amazing! Well done!!


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


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