A Simple and Lovely Salty Caramel Pie Recipe
I don’t make pie as often as I should. I love pie, but cake is in my blood. Bundts are my best friend, and layer cakes are like family. But, lately, it is pie that I crave. I wake up every day – fully aware that I need more pie in my life.
Thankfully, in the midst of my Spring pie reverie, I received two amazing pie-centric treats from two amazing friends. The first is my fancy new pie pan from the Pi Pan guys. It’s kind of genius and kind of fun, and it works like a dream. Not to mention that every time I serve a pie in this pan, people gush. The Pi Pan creators are pie fanatics, like-minded entrepreneurs, and all around really good guys. Go support them, buy their pan…it’s worth every penny.
And wouldn’t you know another good friend, Alison Kave of Butter & Scotch fame, just published an amazing all pie cookbook, First Prize Pies. Alison and I share the same publisher (YES!!!) so I was able to get an early peek at the book. I instantly fell in love. So many sexy photos of so many luscious pies.
I intend to make half the recipes in this book, but for today’s blog post, I picked Samantha Bee’s Salty Caramel Pie as the starting pie…because…salt and caramel and pretzel and chocolate and thank you very much. The recipe is super easy. I made the crust and caramel filling in less than 30 minutes and let it set overnight before drenching in ganache and serving the next day.
So, here goes one recipe of Alison’s simple Salty Caramel Pie served up in my new Pi Pan.
A few notes about this recipe:
- I altered Alison’s recipe ever so slightly. I only used 6 ounces of pretzels for the crust but ended up using the full 8 ounces of butter.
- As with any caramel recipe, I bring all refrigerated ingredients to room temperature before starting (i.e. the heavy cream, and the mascarpone) to reduce extreme bubbling when super hot sugar meets super cold cream.
- I somehow ran out of mascarpone so ended up substituting one for one with cream cheese. It was still incredibly delicious.
- I also reduced the honey to ¼ cup to dial back some of the sweet. I don’t think it made a noticeable difference.
Samantha Bee’s Salty Caramel Pie from Alison Kave’s book, First Prize Pies
6 ounces pretzels (pick your favorite kind)
8 tablespoons (85 to 115 g) unsalted butter, melted
1 ½ cups (300 g) sugar
¼ cup (60 ml) honey
½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream, room temp
½ cup (1 stick/115 g) brown butter (or just use melted)
2 tablespoons mascarpone (or cream cheese), room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup (120 ml) heavy cream
4 ounces (115 g) unsweetend chocolate, chopped
Make the crust: Grind the pretzels in a food processor until finely ground or seal them in a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Pour in the butter and mix (hands are best for this) until the texture is that of wet sand. You may need more or less butter, depending on the texture of the pretzels. Firmly press the crumbs into a 9-inch (23-cm) pie pan. Chill the crust in the freezer or fridge. Once chilled through, bake the crust in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
Make the filling: In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together ½ cup (120 ml) water, the sugar, and honey until the sugar is mostly dissolved. Cook over medium-high heat, moving the pan around occasionally, until the caramel has turned dark amber and reached 340°F (170°C) on a candy thermometer. Remove the caramel from the heat and slowly pour the cream down the side of the pan, whisking constantly. Be very careful here: The caramel will start to bubble violently and release a lot of hot steam. Whisk in the butter, then the mascarpone, then the vanilla and salt. Pour the filling into your prebaked pie shell, and refrigerate it, uncovered, until fully set—at least 5 hours.
Make the topping: Heat the cream until scalded, and then pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute, then whisk until glossy. Spread or drizzle the ganache over the filling, allow it to set, and serve. This pie can be refrigerated for up to 1 week, covered well in plastic wrap. Allow it to come to room temperature before serving. For easier slicing, run your knife under hot water first to prevent the caramel from sticking to the blade.