Although my memory is hazy  from a night or day (?) a few weeks ago, I do remember Jason (my non chocolate loving friend) standing up and exclaiming “Lisi, hands down the BEST thing you ever made!”  (Kind of like I won the game!)  Everyone else agreed by mmmm…ing and eating as he made this pronouncement.  This pie is ridiculously and particularly easy to pull together and the taste is so decadent and luscious.  It truly is.  I decided to make it again last weekend and Rob and Steph couldn’t get enough of it.  They mmm…ed too and were delighted to keep the pie for friends who were coming over later.  My friend Beth poo poo’d the dessert when I told her about it saying “but where is the chocolate?!”  but she too tried it and loved it – although we both did agree that some sort of chocolate addition would also be quite awesome.  Maybe a chocolate wafer crust and/or bananas too.  Next time.  Anyway, this pie is sweet and salty – gooey and rich.  I love love love it.

Oh and btw, you can make the filling 3 in advance to make life easier on the day you plan to serve it.

salted caramel pie (very slightly adapted from Simplethings Sandwich & Pie Shop in LA written up in the November issue of Food & Wine):

1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
two 14 oz. cans sweetened condensed milk
fleur de sel or Malden sea salt (delicious)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2  tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Preaheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix together the graham crumbs, brown sugar, melted butter and salt.  Once all incorporated place and press into an 8-9 inch glass or metal pie pan.  Place in the oven for about 11 minutes until fragrant and lightly golden.  Remove and set aside.

Increase oven temp to 425 degrees.

Place the condensed milk into a 9×13 pyrex pan – or of similar size.  Cover the pan with foil.  Then place that pan into a bigger roasting pan and place in the oven.  Fill the roasting pan (the outside pan) with enough hot water so that it comes about 1/3 up the sides of the condensed milk pan.  I like to do this with the pans in the oven so that I don’t have to carry the pan with water sloshing around.

Now bake the condensed milk for about 2 hours.  During this time, lift the foil and mix with a spatula.  Do this 3-4 times while it cooks.  It should thicken like dolce de leche  and turn nice and golden (versus the whitish color it started out as).  Don’t worry if lumpy – you can smooth out later.  Also – check the water level during this time and add more if necessary (keeping the water 1/3 up the sides of the pan.)

Remove from the oven and let cool.

Scrape caramel into pie crust.  Cover with plastic wrap (spray this with veggie oil spray so that it doesn’t stick to the caramel) and let sit until the filling is chilled and set (about 4 hours).

Whip up heavy cream and sugar (check out whipped cream post for more instruction).  Sprinkle with the fleur de sel/Maldon salt (best!)

And slice and serve…wait for the mmms….

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