I am in LOVE with this cookbook, First Prize Pies by Allison Kave. It might come as a surprise to you knowing that I am a health coach and here I am blogging about eating sugar-laden pies. I firmly believe in moderation, I don't think it's possible for most people to completely eliminate sugary sweet desserts forever. I believe that we have to find a balance for ourselves to live and be happy. (In a previous post, I explained my Social Pie Experiment.) I've decided that 2018 will be the year of making pies and what better day to post a recipe for a pie than on Pi day!
For my very first pie I made one of the recipes from First Prize Pies cookbook. I chose this one for my wife, both for her love of caramel and Samantha Bee. The pie tasted fantastic, extremely rich in flavor and relatively easy to make except that I will note that making this pie is time consuming. Not labor intensive but waiting for things to set in order to finish the recipe takes patience. I hope you enjoy!
Samantha Bee's Salty Caramel Pie: First Prize Pies by Allison KavePretzel Crust
8 ounces pretzels (pick your favorite kind)
6 to 8 tablespoons (85 to 115 g) unsalted butter, melted (pretzels can be very dry, so you may need more)
1 1⁄2 cups sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup (1 stick) brown butter (I used regular butter)
2 tablespoons mascarpone (I couldn't find mascarpone so I used 2 tablespoons of full fat cream cheese and a splash of heavy cream)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped or chips
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 pie pan. Chill the crust in the freezer or fridge for several hours. (For a less crumbly crust: 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 1/2 cup 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. (Or just guess, like I did.)
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 prepared 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.