I was born on my grandfather’s birthday in November of 1972. Stacy Brewer, who was my maternal grandfather, a firm believer in traditional gender roles, and the unquestionable innocence of Richard M. Nixon, told my mother – when my birth was imminent – that were I a boy, he would give me $100. However, should I happen to be a girl, I would receive $50. That communicates quite the message!
However, I loved my grandfather, and he and I shared a love of music and an ability to harmonize. One of the last memories I have of my grandfather was when my grandmothers, my grandfather, my mom and dad, my brother and I piled into my grandmother’s van and took a trip to Shatley Springs for breakfast. It was rare that my grandfather accompanied us on these jaunts. I was around 13-14 years old. On the way home from our mountain meal, we sang gospel hymns. His beautiful tenor blended with my alto and the melody from other family members, and I remember thinking what a gift he had. Not long after that trip, he left this world for that “over yonder” we sang about on that drive home.
Butterscotch Pie was my grandfather’s favorite dessert. I remember the smile that would creep across his face when he would peek under the lid of the Tupperware container and see his pie. My paternal grandmother, Larmie Pendry, perfected the Butterscotch Pie, and she refused to give her recipe to anyone. Everyone loved it, and it was one of her signature dishes for church dinners. However, when she became ill, she allowed my mom to give the recipe to Hospice for their cookbook because Hospice was so good to her. She never had it written down. She had it all in her memory, and my mother wrote the recipe down as she dictated. Thank goodness!
The thing is: I have a good Butterscotch Story on both sides of my family, and it is a wonderful recipe. I hope you enjoy it the way we have over the years.
From start to finish, the recipe will take approximately 50-60 minutes. (Makes two pies)
2 pie crusts
1 stick margarine
2 heaping cups brown sugar (just use the whole box)
5 egg yolks beaten (save the whites for the meringue)
1 cup granulated sugar
3 heaping tbsp. all-purpose flour*
3 heaping tbsp.. cornstarch*
1 large can evaporated milk
2 milk cans full of warm water**
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
*For flour and cornstarch, use a large tablespoon from your silverware drawer. Do not use a regular measuring tablespoon. My grandmother explained that this is what she used, and my mother tried it with a measuring tablespoon, and the filling was not solid.
** Make sure you use warm water – not hot or cold. The goal is to keep the eggs from cooking when you add the mixture to the brown sugar on the stove.
Bake pie shells according to directions and let cool.
In a thick pot, melt margarine.
Add brown sugar, and let simmer on low.
Use a hand mixer to combine granulated sugar, corn starch, flour, evaporated milk, warm water, and yolks.
Add to brown sugar mixture, and whisk constantly.
Turn heat to medium and whisk constantly until filling gets thick (5-10 minutes).
Remove from heat.
Stir in vanilla.
Pour into cooled shells.
Add meringue to top. (See recipe below.)
After meringue is added, bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until meringue is browned. (You may choose to broil for about 1 minute after baking.)
5 egg whites
¼ tsp cream of tartar
6 tbsp sugar
Place whites in the bottom of a bowl.
Add cream of tartar.
Use a hand mixer to whip the whites until fluffy.
Slowly and gradually, add sugar and continue to mix until soft peaks are formed.