I love meringue, but I also live in Oregon where a good meringue stays that way for about two minutes before it succumbs to all of the humidity. This recipe, cobbled together from a couple of different ones from James Beard's American Cookery works with the idea that meringue will inevitably end up soggy.
This recipe could also be adapted to other cold-fill pie recipes--various cream pies or pre-cooked fruit pies; perhaps even an ice-cream pie. I like it with butterscotch because it doesn't seem to matter much when more than a day goes by and all of the flavors and textures start to blend together.
Plan on making this the day before you serve it. —doctorbaker
egg whites (about 4), at room temperature
cream of tartar
sugar or caster sugar
egg yolks (however many you have from the cup of whites)
Preheat oven to 300. Lightly oil a 9"-10" pie plate or springform pan. Use a paper towel or cloth to make sure that all of the plate/pan gets oiled and also that no excess oil is present.
In a large bowl (completely clean, not plastic), beat egg whites until soft peaks just form. Add cream of tartar and continue beating.
With mixer running, add sugar 1 Tbsp at a time and continue beating until sugar is dissolved (rub a little bit between your fingers--if it still feels "gritty," beat some more) and stiff peaks have formed.
Spread meringue into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour at 300 degrees. After an hour, shut off the oven, prop the door open slightly, and allow meringue to sit for another hour or so.
Remove from oven and chill in the refrigerator until ready to fill.
In a bowl, pitcher, or large measuring cup (something about quart size that is easy to pour), mix together yolks, salt, and flour with a fork. Stir in 1 cup of milk. Set aside.
On the stovetop, heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add butter and sugar. While stirring often, brown/caramelize to the point you like; just don't let the mixture burn, boil, or get hard. Remember, the browner your butter mixture gets, the less thick your final filling will be.
Add 2 cups of warm milk while continuing to stir.
Continue to heat while stirring until mixture is hot but not boiling.
Stirring the whole time, gradually add the egg/flour/milk mixture in a steady stream.
Stir constantly until it begins to boil, then reduce heat to low and continue to stir and cook until mixture reaches desired thickness; 1 to 5 minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and a splash of Scotch, if desired.
Cool to room temperature and then pour into chilled meringue.
Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Serve with whipped cream.