What started out as an attempt to make the best Butterscotch Meringue Pie ever for my love’s birthday, turned into the best Butter-Bourbon Meringue Pie ever. After making this pie three times (yes, that’s right; practice makes perfect), I finally came up with the “Winner, Winner, Fake Chicken Dinner” recipe that you’ll find here.
If you recall from my Chocolate Meringue Pie experience, cream pies can be tricky. The filling needs to be thick, like pudding, before you bake it because the baking is really just to brown the meringue. Patience and practice make for perfect pies. It is also important to have all of your ingredients measured before you start baking. Things start to move quickly and you don’t want to burn your butter or brown sugar, which I have done, and it’s not pretty. It smells bad, too. And it makes you cry, until you remember that “pie should not make you cry.”
Note: The pie needs to cool at least four hours before slicing or it will just mush apart. It can be refrigerated overnight, which actually makes it taste even better.
Butter-Bourbon Meringue Pie
2¼ cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
6 tbs unsalted butter
1¼ cups dark brown sugar, packed
4 egg yolks
¼ cup cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
1 tbs bourbon
1 whole vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla extract
1 9-inch prebaked pie shell
In a large saucepan, whisk together milk and cream over medium heat. If using vanilla bean (recommended), slit the bean, scrape out seeds, add to milk and cream and bring to a simmer. Yes, add the split pod, too, just remove it after simmering. Do not boil milk, just bring to simmer then remove from heat.
Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed (tee hee!) saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in brown sugar and continue to stir constantly until caramelized, about 3-5 minutes. DO NOT OVERCOOK! Once you start to smell a caramel aroma, it is done.
Slowly whisk the sugar into the milk until mixture is smooth.
Put egg yolks in a medium bowl and slowly whisk in about a half cup of the milk. (You are trying to avoid cooking the eggs, so a slow drizzle while whisking is preferred.) Whisk in cornstarch and and salt until combined. Whisk the egg mixture into the saucepan of milk. Whisk in the bourbon.
Continue to whisk constantly while cooking over medium-high heat until big bubbles form and filling is thick, like pudding. DO NOT OVERCOOK!
Remove from heat and pour into prepared pie pastry. Set aside and prepare your meringue. I like Paula Deen’s Mile-High Meringue, but you can cut it down to four egg whites and 8 tbs. sugar, if you prefer the 3/4-mile-high meringue.
Top pie with meringue and bake at 325° for 15 minutes, or until meringue is nicely browned. Cool on a wire rack for at least four hours or refrigerate overnight.
Since the cream pie baking goes so quickly, I don’t have as many photos for this one. I’ll try to add more after I bake this one again.