Butterscotch pudding was Gail Simmons’s number one dessert choice when she was a kid. It’s recently made a comeback, and the Top Chef judge has seen it embellished with creative and sophisticated flourishes, but she still likes to keep it homey, focusing on the buttery flavor and lingering finish of real Scotch. Once in a while, if she wants to impress, she thickens the pudding more than usual and pours it into a fully cooled piecrust flecked with golden pecans. The contrasting textures of rich pudding and nutty, flaky dough make this a grown-up ode to the comforting childhood classic.
Slideshow:More Pie and Tart Recipes
PIEScrape the butterscotch filling into the piecrust and smooth the top. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the remaining 1 cup of cream until stiff peaks form. Mound the whipped cream on the pie and garnish with turbinado sugar and the remaCRUST :
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped pecans
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
1/4 cup ice water
1 3/4 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons Scotch whisky
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Turbinado sugar, for garnish
How to Make It
Make the piecrust Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and toast for about 8 minutes, until fragrant and lightly browned. Let cool.
In a food processor, pulse 1/2 cup of the pecans until finely ground. Add the flour and salt and pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse until pea-size pieces form. Add the ice water and pulse until a dough starts to come together. Transfer the dough into a 9-inch round fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and press it evenly over the bottom and up the side. Prick the piecrust all over with a fork, then freeze it for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°. Put the piecrust on a large baking sheet and bake for about 35 minutes, until the edge is lightly browned and the crust is firm. Let cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the filling In a small saucepan, bring the milk and 1/2 cup of the cream to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over moderately high heat. Add the brown sugar and cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is bubbling and smooth, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the milk mixture.
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the cornstarch and salt. Very gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of the milk mixture. Scrape the mixture into the medium saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until very thick, about 7 minutes. Strain the pudding into a medium bowl and stir in the Scotch and vanilla. Let cool slightly, then press a piece of plastic directly on the surface and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Scrape the butterscotch filling into the piecrust and smooth the top. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, beat the remaining 1 cup of cream until stiff peaks form. Mound the whipped cream on the pie and garnish with turbinado sugar and the remaining 1 tablespoon of pecans. Cut the pie into wedges and serve.
Use the bottom of a metal measuring cup to help press the dough into an even layer in the tart pan.
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