29 November 2011

salted caramel pecan pie

Thanksgiving rocked. Spending time with both sets of family and family friends was wonderful. Lots of fun, and even more food. For some reason--my family especially--cooks enough for everyone to eat on for the remainder of the year. And while fresh veggies get soggy when reheated, veggies in casseroles don't have the same fate. So the 5 casseroles will be nice over the next few weeks. Normally, I eat one bite of turkey as an ode to Thanksgiving, but the turkey this year was really good. I even brought leftovers from my parents. Unlike Husby's family who cooked one turkey for about 30 people, mine went for two turkeys for 15 people. Clearly, we're not the best at math. But give us some canned veggies and cream of mushroom soup, and we'll whip it up into a creamy something that doesn't taste like a vegetable.

The results are tallied, and the Salted Caramel Pecan Pie was a hit. Simply amazing. Fabulous. I made it twice. Husby and I don't even like pecan pie. But we both converted to the salted caramel variety. So, we're not unequally yoked in the pecan pie department.

I merged three different recipes (here, here and here). You should know that although I know how to make real pie crust, I don't like to make it. If I can find a press-in crust recipe, I'll do it. My apple pie has a similar, non-shortbread crust, and even non-crust lovers eat it. So, I thought that rather than rolling out the crust given in the original recipe that a brown sugar shortbread crust would be great. And it was!

Salted Caramel Pecan Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie


For the caramel filling:
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup half and half

For the pie crust:
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt


To make caramel filling: in a medium sauce pan add corn syrup, butter, half and half, sugar, and sea salt. Bring to a boil then remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. While cooling, add vanilla. Once cooled, whisk in beaten eggs.

While caramel filling is cooling, prepare the pie crust. Spray pie plate with non-stick cooking spray. Cream butter and brown sugar about 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy. Add in egg yolk and salt, mix well. Stir in flour 1/2c at a time. The mixture will seem very crumbly; this is normal. Press dough into bottom and up sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Freeze until firm, about 20 minutes. While pie is in the freezer, preheat oven to 375 degrees (350 if using a glass pie plate).

Remove pie crust from freezer and place pecans in the crust. Pour caramel filling into pie pan and bake in the 375 degree oven for 45 minutes.

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