First let me say that this is not my best photograph, but it may be one of the tastiest desserts I’ve made in quite some time. My excuse is that I took the photo the day after serving the pie and those crumbs can be oh so messy. The good part is that there was even anything left over that I could photograph. Of course that also means that there’s a little something for tonight’s dessert.
I’m a huge caramel fan and as much as I love it, anyone who has made it can tell you how vigilant you have to be-watching sugar transforming to a rich mahogany color without letting it burn, pouring in cream while taking care not to let it splatter and burn you. Well this recipe eliminates all of that. The caramel for the pie filling is made with condensed milk that you simply bake in a water bath in the oven. Two hours later and like magic, you have caramel! This really is one of the simplest desserts to assemble-a graham cracker crust, the baked caramel filling and whipped cream-that’s it.
You should definitely give this recipe a go, but do not shy away from making caramel the traditional way and here are some of my favorites-salted caramels, almond bread pudding with caramel sauce and salted caramel ice cream.
Salted Caramel Pie (from Food & Wine)
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 5 ounces)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup light brown sugar
Two 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
Fleur de sel
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a food processor, pulse the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and light brown sugar until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly into a 9-inch glass or metal pie plate. Bake for about 10 minutes, just until lightly browned. Let cool. Increase the oven temperature to 425°.
Scrape the condensed milk into a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish and sprinkle with a scant 1/2 teaspoon of fleur de sel. Cover the dish with foil and place it in a roasting pan. Add enough hot water to the pan to reach one-third of the way up the side of the baking dish. Bake, lifting the foil to stir 2 or 3 times, until the condensed milk is golden and thickened, about 2 hours; add more water to the roasting pan as necessary. The consistency of the caramel should be like dulce de leche. Don’t worry if it is lumpy; it will smooth out as it chills.
Scrape the caramel filling into the pie crust, smoothing the top. Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with vegetable oil spray and cover the pie. Refrigerate until the filling is chilled and set, at least 4 hours.
In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream with the confectioners’ sugar until firm. Remove the plastic. Mound the whipped cream on top of the pie and sprinkle with fleur de sel. Cut into wedges and serve.