Paula's Pie Project Blog

52 different pies in 52 weeks

Pie #21- Butterscotch Pie May 23, 2010

Everyone of the pies I have made for the pie project has some sort of back story.  This recipe definitely has some real history to it and is probably the oldest pie I have made to date.

My good friend Angie passed this recipe on to me.  She loves old things even more than I do and because she is from a small family, she has acquired (and kept) many family heirlooms.  One of her favorite treasures is a cookbook from her Great Grandmother Inez Elma (Brown) McKain.

Inez Elma Brown was born in 1885 in Grenola, Kansas. She married William Henery McKain in 1901 at the young age of 16.  Together, she and William had six children, all of which were boys.  The youngest of the boys, Newell Rhobert McKain is Angie’s grandfather.  Newell married Edna Mae Correll and had two daughters, Janis and Ann McKain.  Janis is Angie’s mom.  Whew!  There’s the family tree for you.

I borrowed the fragile cookbook and carefully scoured through the pages looking for recipes amongst the notes of the Ladies Aid Society, funeral notices and newspaper clippings.  The same recipe for butter scotch pie showed up twice, once on page 8 and the other on page 34.  Turns out butter scotch pie was big in the day and when you look at the ingredients, you’ll know why.  Everything basically comes right out of your pantry or refrigerator. No trip to the grocery store needed.

Photo of Inez Brown taken at her Sunday school class in 1901 when she was 16 years old, the year she married William Henery McKain.

Here is a photo is of the cookbook.

The first pages of the book date back to December 26, 1907.  It held the notes of the “Laidies Aid Society of the First Baptist Church of Grenola, Kansas”. The women in the group each paid $.05 dues.  Inez McKain’s name is second from the bottom.  She was 22 years old at the time.

Found this funeral notice slipped in amongst the recipes too.

Here’s a recipe for Jusie’s Devils Food.  It is a cake recipe.  I love the old straight pins holding it in place instead of tape.

Here is page 34 where I found the butter scotch pie.  This exact same recipe was also found on page 8 of the cookbook, so she must have really liked it to write it down twice.

Here is a close-up of the actual recipe for her “Butter Scotch Pie”.  Simple ingredients and simple instructions.

For the project, I started off with my Basic Flaky Pie crust recipe.

Now comes the making of the butter scotch filling- sugar, butter, egg yolk, flour and milk on the double boiler.

After 20 minutes on the double boiler with no action, I placed the mixture directly on top of the heat source and within seconds, “Houston, we have bubbles!”

Now for the whipping the egg white.

and browning it in the oven.

The final product!

Inez McKain’s legacy- Angie (great-granddaughter) and Janis (granddaughter)


Personal Notes:

  • The only alteration I made to the recipe was to the egg white at the end.  Inez used one egg white.   I used two egg whites, a small handful of sugar and a pinch of cream of tartar to create a “meringue” on top.
  • I am not sure I would have made a butterscotch pie had I not been given this recipe.  Who doesn’t love a story, so I couldn’t pass this up.
  • The pie itself was wonderfully sweet and true to its name.  It was even sluggishly runny just like butterscotch on top of an ice cream sunday.  I served it a la mode and everyone left with happy faces and full bellies.

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4 Responses to “Pie #21- Butterscotch Pie”

  1. Travis Says:

    Not only did this pie have a wonderful flavor, it came to our home under such wonderful circumstances!

    With our friends Scott & Angie recently moving to Boise, we have been learning more and more about their family history thanks to Angie’s passionate collecting and record keeping. Like many other Western immigrants, we’ve all arrive here bringing our stories, furniture and family legacies. This pie was one of those wonderful touchpoints of our modern Western migration.

    Back to the pie. It was so wonderfully sweet that it really benefitted from a strong cup of black coffee. Almost as sweet as pecan pie filling, so you know I loved it right away. It was like tasting history, if that doesn’t sound to strange. And like the raisin pie before it, an interesting view into the way our ancestors enduring the Depression and other meager times with creativity.

    I give it an 8 rating without hesitation. Thanks Angie and Paula!

  2. adams Says:

    My family was from Grenola, I would like to see more recipes from Inez’s cookbook. Please email me howarddennisadams at hotmail.com. Thank you.

  3. James (Jim) Lee McKain Says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. Inez was my Gr. Gr. Grandmother as well. I was taking a long shot and googled her name just to see what I could find. Low and behold I found this really neat. Janis is my dad’s cousin. My wife and I can’t way to try the pie.

    Thank You!
    Jim McKain.


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