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My boyfriend's mother made a butterscotch pie from scratch, not pudding. We can't find a recipe anywhere. Maybe someone can help. Rachel Chiavernini, Pinellas Park

Margo Chauncey of Clearwater and L.G. DuPont of Ocala share a butterscotch cream pie recipe from Southern Living. Since this recipe has a meringue I seized the opportunity to make this while the humidity was low.

There are a few important things to remember when making a meringue. Try to do it on a lower humidity day so the egg whites will whip up nicely. Make sure the egg whites are at room temperature and the bowl you will be using is free of any oil or detergent residue. When covering the pie with the meringue, be sure it touches all sides of the crust; otherwise it will shrink during baking and you will wind up with a meringue puddle, which might look interesting but is not the desired outcome. Make peaks in the meringue before baking for a nice look, but don't work it too much or it may deflate.

After I baked the meringue, the pie wasn't setting up and was still jiggly. I refrigerated it to set and it was delicious. It does not keep well overnight however. The meringue began to weep and pull away from the crust. Though it didn't look great, it did taste fine. This is a pie better made for the occasion and not meant to be left over.

EASY

Butterscotch Cream Pie

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/3 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons butter

3 cups milk, divided

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 eggs, separated

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 baked 9-inch pastry shell

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 cup sugar

Combine brown sugar, whipping cream and butter in a heavy saucepan; cook over low heat until butter melts, stirring often. Add 1 1/2 cups milk and continue cooking until milk begins to bubble. Combine cornstarch and remaining milk; mix well and set aside. Beat egg yolks until thick and pale lemon colored. Gradually stir about 1/4 of hot mixture into yolks. Add to remaining hot mixture. Add cornstarch mixture, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into pastry shell.

Beat egg whites (at room temperature) and cream of tartar at high speed with an electric mixer until foamy. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at time, beating until stiff peaks form and sugar dissolves (2 to 4 minutes). Spread meringue over hot filling, sealing to edge of pastry.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool.

Makes 1 pie.

Source: Margo Chauncey, Clearwater, and L.G. DuPont, Ocala

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