A cream pie is essentially a type of pudding served in a pie crust, usually topped with a whipped cream or meringue topping. They can come in any flavor and there are some really delicious cream pies out there – including Coconut Cream Pie and Chocolate Cream Pie – but they don’t always get the same attention as fruit pies. Cream pies can be amazing, but they can also be overly sweet and seem more like candy than a pie. Fortunately, that is not the case with this Bourbon Butterscotch Cream Pie.
This is a pie that definitely has a grown up twist to it, giving it a sweet and sophisticated flavor that is very hard to resist.. The filling is a delicious butterscotch made with golden brown sugar and vanilla that is spiked with a generous pour of bourbon. The bourbon amplifies the vanilla that is already in the filling and tempers the sweetness of the butterscotch. There isn’t enough bourbon in the pie to give anyone a buzz (especially since some of the alcohol will burn off after being incorporated into the filling), but you will be able to taste it in each bite.
I used a homemade vanilla crumb crust for this pie, but you can use just about any kind of pie crust. A graham cracker crust is going to have more of a spice flavor to it than the vanilla wafers, while a pastry crust is going to be a bit more substantial when compared to the filling. No matter which kind of crust you use, it will need to be baked and cooled completely before you can fill it. If you are making your own crust, I recommend baking the crust the night before so that it is ready to go when you need it. If you are going to use a premade crust, keep in mind that those metal pie tins are often quite shallow and you might have a bit of pie filling leftover after filling up your crust.
This pie slices well, but it will loose a bit of its shape after it has been sliced, like many cream pies. It is best the day it is made and the crust will start to loose some of its crispness (mostly due to having to be stored in the refrigerator) within two days of making it, so it is best to plan to enjoy slices of this pie early and often.
Bourbon Butterscotch Cream Pie
9-inch pie crust, baked and cooled
3/4 cup light or golden brown sugar
3 tbsp butter
2 1/2 cups milk, divided
6 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
3 large egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp bourbon*
Sweetened Vanilla Whipped Cream, for topping (recipe below)
In a medium saucepan, combine the butter and brown sugar and cook over medium heat until sugar is melted and mixture starts to bubble.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup milk with the cornstarch, salt, egg and egg yolks until very smooth. Whisk in remaining milk. Pour into brown sugar mixture in the saucepan without turning down the heat. Cook, stirring regularly with a spatula or whisk, until mixture begins to thicken. As it gets thicker, stir constantly until pudding just starts to bubble. When it starts to bubble, remove from heat immediately and whisk in vanilla extract and bourbon.
Pour pudding into prepared pie crust and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cold, at least 6 hours or overnight. Top with Sweetened Vanilla Whipped Cream when cool.
Sweetened Vanilla Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
Whip heavy cream to soft peaks in a large bowl. Beat in sugar and vanilla extract until smooth.
*You can use any kind of bourbon in this pie. I recommend using Maker’s Mark or 4 Roses Bourbon. If you really want to skip the bourbon, you can add in a bit of rum extract (which also goes well with the butterscotch) along with the vanilla extract at the end of the cooking.