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This make-ahead butterscotch pudding pie from former culinary team member Grant Melton is crunchy, creamy and irresistible.
"To guarantee all the crunchy vibes, I like to prepare this dessert in a thin tart pan, but if you don't have one, a 9-inch pie pan will do the trick. The slices might be a little tricker to extract, but delicious nonetheless. The rum in the whipped cream topping is optional—but highly recommended to counterbalance the sweetness of the tart. If you’re not a fan of dark rum, try scotch or bourbon." –Grant
Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Place an 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom on a baking sheet.
For the crust, in a food processor, combine the cornflake cereal, coconut, graham crackers and light brown sugar and pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand. Add the melted butter and pulse to moisten the crumbs. Dump the mixture into the prepared tart pan, then, using the bottom of a measuring cup, spread the mixture evenly, starting in the middle of the tart pan and working your way to the edges and up the sides of the pan. Transfer the tart pan on the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until crumbs are toasted slightly on top and crisp. Set on a wire rack to cool.
Meanwhile, for the pudding, place the butter in a medium saucepan and cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until the butter begins to brown and has a nutty aroma; keep an eye on it, as the butter can go from brown to burnt quickly. (This may take several minutes.)
While the butter is browning, measure the milk in a 2-cup measuring glass and add the cornstarch. Stir with a fork to dissolve. In a separate glass, whisk the heavy cream, vanilla bean paste and salt.
Once the butter is brown and fragrant, stir in the brown sugar, then whisk in the cream mixture and bring to a boil. Once bubbly, add the milk mixture, being sure to scrape out all the cornstarch, and continue to stir until the mixture is very thick.
Pour the mixture into the cooled crust—it’s fine if it hasn’t completely cooled—and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Remove the pie from the refrigerator at least 15 minutes before serving. For the whipped topping, using a whisk or hand mixer, beat the heavy cream with confectioners' sugar until soft peaks form. Add the rum, vanilla and salt., then whisk again to desired consistency.
Remove the outer rim of the tart pan and slice the pie. Serve each slice with a dollop of whipped topping, a sprinkle of orange zest and some crushed cereal.