Salted Caramel Pie

25 Oct

Despite the fact that yesterday was Sunday, it was still a stressful day; beginning with the fact that we still do not have a home phone…technical difficulties with the new, less expensive (cheaper?) provider, then, keys were lost, then found, a wallet was lost, then found, then $300.00 later spent at Home Depot when we only went in for a smoke detector, then the afternoon was spent cleaning a mess that someone else made in one of our rental units.  Don’t people clean their fridges any  more?? Or take back empties?  Or recycle their broken glass?  No, no they don’t and I have bleach smelling prune hands covered in cuts to prove it.  And, my Mom is still in the hospital.  Stress in my life always manifests itself in illness, I’m doing whatever I can, not to get sick…trying to find some balance and peace.  So I made a pie, a salted caramel pie.

What intrigued me about this recipe, aside from the obvious lava like gooey caramel was the fact that it had few ingredients(all of which I had in my kitchen) and that it was relatively quick once you made the caramel.

A year ago I bought a small slow cooker to make caramel or dulce de leche.  Really, that all I use it for.  This recipe from the November issue of Food&Wine calls for the caramel to be made in a water bath in the oven, I used my slow cooker set on “high” for about two hours instead, stirring about every 30 minutes.  It worked perfectly.  Other than the time required for the caramel, the pie took 20 minutes to prepare.

Spending time alone in my kitchen cooking or baking is living in the moment, it is both restorative and nourishing, helping me to face another day, and quite likely another trip to the hardware store.

Salted Caramel Pie (from November 2011 Food&Wine)

1  1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

4 tbsp. butter, melted

1/4 cup brown sugar

two cans of sweetened condensed milk

fleur de sel

2 cups of heavy cream

2 tbsp. icing sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a food processor, process crumbs, melted butter and brown sugar until moist.  Pat into a 9 inch pie pan (bottom and sides).  Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.

For the caramel I used a small slow cooker, but the original recipe calls for the caramel to be made in the oven, so if you opt for the oven method; increase the oven temp. to 425F. Pour the condensed milk into a glass oven proof 13 X9 inch pan, sprinkle with a 1/2 tsp. of the fleur de sel.  Cover the dish with foil and place in a large roasting dish.  Add enough hot water to come half way up the side of the dish.  Bake, lifting the foil to stir 2 or 3 times until golden and thick, about 2 hours.  Which is how long the slow cooker method took and seemed less work.

Scape the caramel into the baked shell, cool for 1/2 an hour.  Whip the cream with the icing sugar, spreading it on top of the chilled filling, sprinkle with an additional 1/2 tsp. of the salt.

Super delicious, easy and oh so comforting.

The finished pie.

The test piece.

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