Imagine sitting in the studio audience of the Martha Stewart Show, watching Martha and her special guest chef making a buttercream pie on the overhead monitors (as you can’t actually SEE them due to the umpteen cameras in the way), and you kind of forget where you are. You forget that you are there, live, and they really are in the room with you. So when they are stirring the batch of caramel, and you can smell it? Very confusing. You are all –what’s that aroma? It’s delicious! This is better than surround sound! It’s, it’s…Smellivision! And you vow that very minute, when I get home, I am so making that Butterscotch Cream Pie. Even though you hate to temper eggs. Or make pie crust. Or stand up. You know, things like that.
So anyway, amidst my orders for all of the Thanksgiving goodies I have been making for clients, I snuck in a couple of hours on Tuesday to finally make that pie. Sure, I could have made my own gingersnaps. I could have…but time was short and I already had a bag of very yummy gingersnaps just begging to be crushed. So I cheated. Sue me. It’s not like I went out and purchased a readymade crust. I still had to mix it and press it and bake it. Judge me if you must.
The crust wasn’t what it was about for me anyway…it was all about that filling. I wanted that smell in my house. And I got it! It came together quite easily, although I did make a stumble along the way. Here’s the part where you should really pay attention to me – when it says “add the cream slowly” – ummm, do that. If you dump it all in at once, the caramel freaks out and seizes, becoming one with the whisk, clinging to it for dear life. You’ll think – Oh God, I ruined it! – but hang in there. The caramel will melt back into the cream. Just go with it. See my pictures? It turned out just fine, and you won’t have to cry or curse or have a tantrum or call The Martha a douche now that you know. Not that I did any of those things, I’m just being hypothetical.
I dressed my pie up with a nice, thick meringue. The original recipe calls for unsweetened whipped cream, but since the pie filling calls for 5 eggs yolks, I just so happened have 5 eggs whites on hand. I added the meringue just before heading to our Thanksgiving dinner, as I don’t like the weeping that can happen to meringue pies. Expect deliciousness! See the vanilla seeds in the spoonful of filling that I had to keep out of the pie as a taste test? So gorgeous…so silky smooth. Full of flavor too. I was lucky enough to have farm raised chicken eggs to use, and to me, you just can’t beat how rich and creamy those egg yolks are. But, no matter where you get your eggs, this pie is destined to be a real winner, whether you make it today to cart off to a family filled Thanksgiving, or this weekend when all of the desserts you had are gone and you really need something to go with that turkey sandwich. Try it. You’ll like it! And until then, have yourself a great holiday. Be safe. Be loved. Be thankful. And most importantly, be out of my sister’s way at Kohl’s on Friday morning at 4am. Consider yourself warned.
from Karen Demasco’s The Craft of Baking on Martha Stewart.com
Makes 1 9-inch pie
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out, bean and seeds reserved
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream, split
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- Gingersnap Crust
- 1/2 cup chopped Honeycomb Brittle
- In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup sugar, egg yolks, and cornstarch until pale in color; set aside. *NOTE-add sugar to eggs first! Then you can add the cornstarch. Otherwise – clump city)
- Combine remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water, and the vanilla bean and seeds in a medium saucepan. Stir until sugar is completely damp. Heat mixture over high heat until sugar becomes a yellow-golden caramel, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Slowly whisk in 1 cup cream, being careful to avoid splatters, then stir in milk.
- Return caramel mixture to stove and bring to a boil; remove from heat. Pour one third of the caramel mixture into the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking to combine. Whisk egg mixture into caramel mixture until well combined. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat and cook, whisking constantly, until custard thickens, about 8 minutes. Remove pan from heat; whisk in salt and butter.
- Strain custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl; pour into prepared pie crust. Transfer pie plate to a wire rack and let filling cool completely. Transfer pie to refrigerator and chill until cold, about 1 hour.
- Top with whipped cream & brittle, as in the original recipe, or, top with meringue. (use the reserved 1 1/2 cups heavy cream to make the whipped cream if that’s the route you choose to take.)