"The Social Network of the South"
While it might not be quite as magnificent as my beloved brown sugar pie, this pie is definitely going to be part of my favorites rotation. I think vanilla beans are fantastic--I love the speckled appearance of the tiny black seeds against the pristine white filling. Their taste is enjoyable too, and much more intense than vanilla extract.
Yep, this pie is truly tasty. Though there are no eggs in it, it sets up like a dream and is extremely smooth and velvety. The highlight for me, of course, is the sprinkling of cinnamon, and the final step of broiling the top is key in bringing out some fine flavors.
Vanilla Bean Cream Pie
In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cornstarch; set aside.
On low to medium heat in a medium-sized sauce pan, add 4 tablespoons of butter, heavy cream, and milk. If you're using a vanilla bean, scrape the seeds from the bean and add them and the empty bean to the pot with the liquids. After the butter has melted, remove the bean, then slowly add the cornstarch and sugar mixture. Cook, stirring constantly with a wire whisk just until the mixture is thick and creamy. This will take approximately 10-15 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, if using.
Immediately pour the mixture into the pie crust and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Place the pie under the broiler until the butter bubbles. Watch your pie carefully; this will not take long.
Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight.