Butterscotch-Pecan Pie

January 29, 2020
4 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop Stylist: Amanda Widis.
  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

For more stories, memories, and extended histories behind your most-loved, treasured family recipes from the column, check out our new podcast My Family Recipe.Jennifer Justus

What You'll Need
  • 1 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, plus 3 tablespoons for garnish
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped, for garnish
  • 1 (9-inch) pie crust, baked
  1. In the top of a double boiler, heat milk over high heat until just before boiling, stirring often with a whisk. While milk warms, combine 1 cup brown sugar, flour, and salt in a medium bowl. Once milk is hot, add sugar mixture, reduce heat to medium-high, and stir slowly and regularly with whisk until sugar is dissolved and mixture thickens, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Off the heat, add eggs and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly. Then add 1 tablespoon of butter and the vanilla. Cook until the consistency of the butterscotch filling is just a touch thinner than a pudding.
  3. Pour butterscotch into prepared pie crust.
  4. Prepare topping by melting remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and combining it with remaining 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and the pecans. Garnish pie with pecans and allow it to set up about 30 minutes to an hour to serve warm to room temperature. Or, chill the pie in the refrigerator for an hour or more and serve cool.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Danielle Haynes
    Danielle Haynes
  • marti
  • Jess
  • Smaug

8 Reviews

Danielle H. June 22, 2020
Didn't have much luck getting this pie to set. Was pretty soupy, even after a full night in the fridge. In step 1, I wasn't too sure what "just before boiling" meant, so I heated the milk to about 175 degrees -- which is about where it stalled anyway after 15 minutes of cooking. Later in the same step, I cooked for longer than the 20 minutes with the sugar, but it never really got much thicker. Finally gave up and went ahead and added the eggs. Cooked for another 20+ minutes and it never got "a touch thinner than pudding." I even tried adding in a cornstarch slurry (about a teaspoon of cornstarch and a teaspoon of water). I finally gave up because at this point I had been cooking the fulling for well north of the 30 minutes the recipe suggested it would take. Not sure what else I could do ... I kept the temp on my stove at high or medium-high and used a double boiler as suggested. Any recommendations are welcome. Thanks!
lplachy March 14, 2020
Loved this pie for taste and presentation. The pecans added such a great flavor. I did cut into it a little too soon so it was a runny. I served mine with fresh whipped cream , it really wasn't necessary. I did temper the eggs ( added some hot mixture to the eggs before adding them to the hot mixture). I was afraid to have scrambled eggs in my pudding. The cooking time was not an issue for me, used double boiler and got the water HOT before placing the pan on top of the water. the directions did state that it took one hour of prep time and it was accurate. Will be making this again. My husband loved it.
marti February 18, 2020
I enjoyed this pie. I too would make it again, only in a sauce pan this time... Using another thickener rather than the flour... I was thinking tapioca as well. But this was delish.
Jess February 5, 2020
Am I right in assuming we should return the mixture to the heat after adding the eggs?
Smaug February 5, 2020
Smaug February 2, 2020
This was actually pretty good. Very sweet, as befits a prewar recipe, but butterscotch is largely sugar, so that's to be expected. As it's a historical recipe, I tried it straight (other than accidentally upping the butter a bit), but I think the process could be simplified and will try some things if I make it again. I think I'd use 2Tb. tapioca starch in place of the flour, as it requires considerably less cooking. I think the milk and sugar could be heated in a saucepan ("almost boiling" in a double boiler will take forever): I would mix the eggs and tapioca with some cold milk (from the total amount) and then add the hot milk/sugar mixture to that very carefully, and finish cooking in a double boiler. Possibly the sugar could be cut a little bit, adding a bit of molasses for flavor. Also, the amount of filling is not generous- it would perhaps be a bit more comfortable in an 8" shell.
Jennifer J. February 4, 2020
Great suggestion on the tapioca. A pastry chef friend recommended trying it without the double boiler, too. And right on about the 8-inch shell. Thank you for this!
bjm February 16, 2020
I am going to make this pie - I love butterscotch. I don't have an 8 inch pie plate, but will use a 6 inch and if there is remaining filling, will eat as pudding. Thank you for the recipe.