for months, my husband has been asking me to make a butterscotch pie. personally, i like fruit pies better. so, rather than try to figure out how to make a fruity butterscotch pie, i went ahead and made two pies. luckily, we had some visitors and they helped us eat the pies!
butterscotch is a tricky flavor to achieve. many recipes simply expect the use of butter and brown sugar to give the flavor. that's a start but not likely to give you that buttery caramel flavor found in the little yellow hard candies. to really get that flavor, you need to caramelize some brown sugar and combine it with dark rum and a pinch of salt. caramelizing brown sugar is very tricky; it can quickly go from slightly colored to black and bitter. with that in mind, i opted to go with plain granulated sugar since it is easier to see the color gradations.
on the blueberry pie, i didn't have fresh berries on hand so i used some frozen berries and if you ask me, that is just fine. if you are lucky enough to pick your own fresh berries, do you let them go to waste? i'm thinking not and that what isn't consumed quickly, is frozen for later use. yes i know that there are purists out there that will scoff at the idea of using frozen berries, but i am not one of them. sometimes, you have to use what is available and at this time of year, those frozen berries will have much more flavor than anything fresh coming to us from the other side of the world. if you do use frozen berries, just be sure to let them thaw completely before baking and to add the juices to the pie. baking a pie with frozen berries in the filling will add a lot of time to the baking and it could mean a burned crust or topping! to make this pie a little different, i decided to give it a crumb topping made with almond paste and toasted sliced almonds. blueberries and almond go together very nicely. and for those of you, like myself, that do not have a kitchen scale handy, purchase the almond paste in the can. you can remove both ends of the can push out the paste, cut the cylinder of paste into half and then cut each half into 4 equal pieces and get your 1 ounce of almond paste. don't worry, you can freeze the extra and then anytime a recipe calls for almond paste by the ounce, you will just need to thaw the required number of 1 oz. wedges.
blueberry pie with almond crunch topping
each recipe yields 1 (9") pie serving 8
1 (9") pie shell, fully baked (can be any kind you like, even graham cracker)
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon corn syrup
3 tablespoons corn starch
2 cups half and half
3 egg yolks
1" piece of vanilla bean, split open
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons dark rum
place the sugar, water and corn syrup in a sauce pot (at least 2 quart capacity) with a heavy bottom. cover the pot and place over medium heat until it boils for about 1 minute. remove the lid and check to see that there aren't any sugar crystals on the sides of the pot. if any crystals are present, use a wet brush to wash them away. allow the mixture to boil until it begins to color. while this is boiling, place the corn starch in a heat proof bowl with about a 1/4 cup of the half and half and whisk it smooth. add the egg yolks to this mixture and whisk together. place the remaining half and half in a pot with the vanilla bean and the salt and heat over medium low heat but do not allow it to boil-just get it hot. when the sugar begins to color, gently swirl the pan to color it evenly. when it is a nice amber color, carefully pour in a small amount of the hot half and half-THIS WILL BOIL UP AND RELEASE LOTS OF STEAM!!! this step can be dangerous if you are not paying attention or if you try to pour it all in at once, so please, do this in batches and with caution. when all of the half and half is in the pot with the caramel, stir over medium heat to dissolve any sugar that has settled to the bottom. when this reaches a boil, pour a small amount into the egg yolk mixture and whisk it smooth. replace the hot half and half on the burner and carefully whisk in the tempered egg yolks. continue to cook, stirring gently, until it reaches a boil. boil the mixture for a full minute to cook the cornstarch and thicken the mixture. remove the pot from the heat, stir in the dark rum and pour the hot mixture through a mesh strainer right into the baked pie shell. spread the filling out evenly, press plastic wrap to the surface and refrigerate it until it is cold. to serve, top with whipped cream or serve it with whipped cream on the side.
for the whipped cream topping in the photo, i whipped 1 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream with 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract until it was stiff and then spread it over the cold filling.
blueberry pie with almond crunch topping
1 (9") pie shell, home made or purchased
1/2 cup sliced almonds
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
zest of 1 lemon
1 pound of blueberries-can be fresh or frozen (and thawed)
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 ounce almond paste, cut into small pieces
preheat the oven to 350. place the pie shell on a sturdy baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper and greased. toast the almonds on a separate tray until slightly browned and fragrant, about 5-7 minutes, cool them completely. in a mixing bowl, rub the sugar with the cornstarch, ginger and lemon zest until it is combined. add the blueberries and toss them to coat them (include the juices too if you are using thawed berries). pour the filling into the pie shell. to make the topping, place the almonds, flour, brown sugar and baking soda into the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. sprinkle the pieces of butter and almond paste over the top of the mixture and pulse it until it looks sandy and it begins to clump. spread the crumb topping evenly over the pie filling and bake it until the fruit filling is bubbly and the topping is browned, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. cool completely before cutting or the filling will not hold it's shape and will run out.
may the force be with you...and as always, make one and take a photo and i will share it here! firstname.lastname@example.org