Yesterday was my second Father’s Day without Dad. It was also West Virginia Day! Two important holidays in my world. Which got me to thinking, that if I’d spent the day with Dad, we probably would have enjoyed his favorite WV meal–beans and cornbread followed by butterscotch pie!

So, in case you’d like to sample his favorite dessert, here’s a recipe that’s a blend of the one I grew up watching mom make and the one from The Foxfire Book of Appalachian Cookery.


  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 6 T self-rising flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • 1/4 t cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup sugar

Stir together sugar and flour in a saucepan then add milk and cream, whisking to make sure it’s smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth and beginning to thicken. Separate egg yolks from whites. Beat the yolks in a bowl and add just a little bit of the hot milk mixture at a time, whisking constantly, to temper the eggs. Once you’ve got about a cup of tempered egg mixture, add it back into the saucepan with the rest of the filling. Continue cooking (and stirring constantly!) until very thick. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and butter, stirring until the butter is melted. Pour filling into a baked pie crust (ideally one you made yourself using lard).

Whip egg whites until frothy then continue whipping, gradually adding in cream of tartar and sugar a little bit at a time to incorporate fully. Once you have stiff peaks, swirl over pie filling making sure to seal meringue to edge of crust. Bake in a 375 degree oven for up to 15 minutes (check during those final minutes to make sure your meringue doesn’t burn). Cool on a wire rack then chill in the refrigerator. And LET IT GET COLD before you’re tempted to cut into it.

Of course, the TRICK to great butterscotch pie is great ingredients. The ones mom made used milk and butter from our own cows. I think that’s why mine never quite live up to my memories . . .