I broke down and bought Joy the Baker’s newest cookbook. I kept seeing it everywhere and couldn’t resist that pretzel cake on the cover. That pretzel cake must have still been on my mind while I leafed through the pages because I stopped dead in my tracks at this pie with pretzel crust. I needed to do some pie research for Thanksgiving, so I gave this a shot. Strictly for research purposes…
The crust is pretty basic, but uses cold buttermilk instead of water. I had to add a bit more buttermilk than called for in the recipe to get it to stick together easily, but that is the only issue I ran in to with the crust. It rolls out nicely and bakes up well. I love the way the pretzels look lining the crust. It’s really too bad you can’t see it after filling and baking.
Into the crust goes a butterscotch filling that is rich and creamy and amazing. When the first step in any recipe is browning butter you can’t be on the wrong track. After cooking it has to chill for 2 hours, so be sure to plan accordingly.
The meringue is surprisingly good. I was hesitant to add in the thyme, but was very glad I did. It’s just noticeable enough. Not overpowering but you still know it’s there, a slight savory note to balance the sweetness. And the marshmallow does make it very sweet, which I happen to like. I think it would be especially good on a sweet potato pie. As we all know, sweet potatoes and marshmallows are meant for each other.
After filling and topping, the meringue gets a nice toast in the oven. I think I under-baked mine just a bit. I only let it go for about 4 minutes. It could’ve used just a couple more for color and for the meringue to get a little sturdier. When sliced the meringue got a little oozy, which makes no difference in taste but makes for a messy presentation.
You can serve this immediately after cooking the meringue, or chill it in the fridge. I had better luck slicing and serving after the pie had time to chill, and my meringue was more cooperative.
The pretzels get a little soggy but still have enough crunch to add some nice texture to the pie. I love the idea and the look of the pretzels, but this would still be a delicious pie without them.
I am really looking forward to trying more recipes from this cookbook! Go grab a copy, it’s so much fun to look through and drool over.
Butterscotch Pie with Thyme Meringue and Pretzel Crust
From Homemade Decadence by Joy Wilson
Makes 2 crusts
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks butter, cold and cut into cubes
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cold buttermilk
- small twisted pretzels (20-34 depending on size)
- Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl and whisk together.
- Add in butter and work in using either clean hands or a pastry blender. When butter is broken down into pieces roughly the size of oat flakes with some large pieces make a well in the center and add in the buttermilk. Mix together using a wooden spoon until dough kind of holds together, but is still loose.
- Turn dough out onto a floured surface, knead into a disc, cut the disc in half and form each into a round. Wrap each in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour. (You only use one of these rounds for this pie, so use or freeze the other.)
- Flour a work surface and roll one of the rounds into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Move to a 9-inch pie plate, press gently into the plate and trim the edges and fold or crimp the edges.
- Arrange the pretzels on the bottom and up the sides of the pie crust, pressing them slightly into the dough. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Spray a piece of foil with cooking spray and press gently into the pie plate. Fill the foil with beans, rice or pie weights.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake crust for 10 minutes, then remove the foil and weights and bake for another 5-7 minutes, until it begins to brown. Cool completely before filling.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 egg yolks (whites reserved for meringue)
- 1 teaspoon molasses
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Brown the butter in a small saucepan by heating it over medium heat. Cook, watching it carefully and swirling the pan frequently until butter begins to brown and smell nutty. Remove from the heat immediately so it doesn’t burn. Let cool.
- In a medium saucepan combine egg yolks, molasses, brown sugar, cornstarch and salt and whisk. Heat over medium and whisk in the milk. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking constantly until mixture thickens to a pudding-like consistency. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the custard and chill for at least 2 hours.
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, finely chopped
- 1 jar marshmallow cream (7 ounces)
- 4 egg whites
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Combine the sugar and thyme in a small bowl and use your fingers to rub the thyme into the sugar.
- Scrape marshmallow into a large bowl and whisk (at least try to, this stuff is sticky!)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment whisk egg whites on medium speed until they begin to froth. Add the salt, then add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time while increasing the speed of the mixer gradually to medium high. Beat until stiff peaks form and the meringue is glossy.
- Fold half of the egg whites into the marshmallow to lighten it, then fold in the rest of the egg whites in 3 batches.
Assemble and Bake
- Preheat oven to 400°F and move oven rack to the middle or top third depending on your oven size. You want the pie near the top to brown the meringue.
- Spoon custard into pie crust and smooth the top.
- Top with the meringue and spread just to the edges without covering the crust.
- Bake for 4-7 minutes, until meringue has browned to your liking.
- Serve immediately or chill for an hour.