Salty Caramel Chocolate Pie

salty caramel2If you’re intimidated by traditional pie crust, first you should check this out, then you should make a Salty Caramel Chocolate Pie that requires no dough making, rolling, or crimping.  It’s a “pat in the pan” crust which are the easiest ever and no longer only for graham crackers, you can pat into your pan speculoos biscuits, animal crackers, saltines, or in this case, pretzels!  This is most likely not the pie your grandma has made for years, but we are all about new traditions that start with you.  The salty crust perfectly sets off the caramel filling and of course there’s a silky layer of ganache on top because: obvious.  Your first bite will do that thing that perfectly balanced salty/sweet treats do where your mouth floods and demands you take another bite STAT! My Mother who is visiting wants me to tell you to have some cold milk with this because it’s very rich, and she’s looking out for you.  Also I recommend serving cold and trying to keep cold as the caramel likes to ooze as it warms up, which is yummy, but messy.

Pretzel Crust –

8 ounces (225 grams) pretzels

8-10 tablespoons melted butter (if your crust is still dry, add a little more)

Filling –

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup brown butter (you don’t need to use brown butter, but it’s a nice touch if you have time)

2 tablespoons mascarpone (I was out so I used cream cheese with terrific results)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

 

Topping –

1/4 cup heavy cream

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate choppped

 

IMG_9627Crust – Grind the pretzels in a food processor or blender until finely ground, pour in the butter and mix (hands work well for this) until the texture is that of wet sand.  Add more butter if your mixture seems dry.  Firmly press crumbs into a 9 inch pie pan.  Chill the crust in the freezer or fridge for 15 minutes.  Bake in a 400 oven for 8 minutes and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Filling – In a heavy bottomed saucepan, stir together water, sugar and honey until the sugar is mostly disolved.  Cook over medium high heat, moving the pan around occasionally (but DO NOT STIR) until the caramel has turned a dark amber and reached around 320-340 degrees on a candy termometer.  Keep smelling it, you don’t want it to smell like it’s burning at all and steam is okay, but smoke is bad.

Remove caramel from the heat and slowly pour the cream into the pan, whisking constantly.  Use caution as your caramel will bubble and steam.  Whisk in the butter, mascarpone, then the vanilla and salt.  Pour the filling into your pre-baked pie shell, and refrigerate it, uncovered until fully set – about 4-5 hours.

Topping – Heat the cream until scalded, then pour it over your chopped chocolate.  Let it sit for a minute, then whisk until glossy.  Spread or drizzle ganache over the filling, allow it to set, sprinkle with flake salt and serve.

This pie can be refrigerated for up to 1 week, covered well in plastic wrap.  Serve cold and push a piece of foil into the void after serving so your caramel doesn’t ooze into the gap.  For easier slicing, run your knife under hot water to prevent the caramel from sticking to the blade.

IMG_1022

 

Recipe adapted from First Prize Pies by Allison Kave.

 

Guest Post! Chocolate Granola Pie

chocolate chip granola pie1

It’s my very favorite pie, YES, I’m going there!  It has everything anyone could possibly want in a pie with it’s crunchy top, gooey center, and the perfect combo of chocolate oats and nuts.  Fun fact #1: It’s THE EASIEST PIE EVER! Fun fact #2:  The little people you get to hang with this holiday season would love to make it with you! Fun fact #3: The recipe is up now on the beautiful and brilliant Westerly Commons blog!

Please go there right this minute and if you aren’t following them, do that right away, you’ll certainly be glad you did.  Also take a minute to get stocked up on the cutest childrens clothing available to mankind.  We are so honored to be featured there – thank you Westerly Commons!

 

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

IMG_8914When I became I King 8 years ago I quickly learned that cake for your birthday is not the word around here, so if I baked a beautiful cake for my husband on his birthday he would be like “what do you want me to do with that?”  It’s been a pleasure learning the art of pie making which of course begins with a beautiful flaky crust.  The King crust is Crisco all the way, but if you come from the school of butter crusts go on ahead and do that, we won’t be mad.

We all love apple pie, especially when you drowned it in caramel and sprinkle it with raw sugar and flake salt – the combination makes this classic into an epic flavor party that you won’t want to miss.  I know there are a few versions of this pie out there, but I’m a Four and Twenty Blackbirds devotee so mine is very slightly adapted from the one they are famous for. Just for fun I used the triangle in my toddlers shape ball to cut out this top crust and it turned out pretty amazing, but do whatever you like.  I’m also a fan of the fat lattice they do at the aforementioned Four and Twenty Blackbirds – just do something fun and pretty.  Now go be the star of your Thanksgiving feast and make this STAT!

King Crust – Combine 2 Cups flour, ⅔ Cup Crisco, 1 tsp Salt and 7-8 TBS ice cold water. Mix with pastry cutter or potato masher, then with hands until a nice dough forms. Cut into 2 balls, roll them out thin, cut one into strips for lattice, or use a cookie cutter to make a decorative top, and place the other into your pie plate.

Caramel-

1 C plus 2 TBS sugar
¼ C water
1 stick unsalted butter
½ C heavy cream

Filling –
2 lemons
6-7 baking apples
2-3 dashes angostura bitters (I use them, it adds a little something, but don’t sweat it one bit if this rare ingredient is not in your pantry, it will taste great without)
⅓ cup raw or demerara sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice
pinch nutmeg
one grind blk pepper
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoon flour
¼ teaspoon flake salt (maldron is easy to find)
Egg wash (1 lrg egg whisked w/ 1 tsp water and pinch of salt)
Demerara sugar (also known as raw or turbinado sugar) for finishing

Caramel – Whisk together 1 cup of the sugar and the water in a medium-low heat until the sugar is just dissolved. Add the butter and bring to a slow boil. Continue cooking over medium heat until the mixture turns a deep golden brown (do not stir!) almost copper, but you don’t want to see smoke so not too crazy long. Remove from heat and immediately but slowly add the heavy cream – be careful, the mixture will bubble rapidly and steam. I like to add salt at this stage instead of putting salt on top of your filling before you top it with crust.  I just whisk in 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt after the cream.  Whisk the final mixture together well and set aside to cool while you prepare your apple filling.

Filling – Juice lemons into a large mixing bowl removing any seeds. Prepare the apples using an apple peeling machine or core, peel and finely slice them with a sharp knife or on a mandoline. Dredge the apple slices in the lemon juice. sprinkle lightly with the remaining 2 TBS sugar. Set aside to soften slightly and release some of the juices, 20-30 minutes. Once you’ve done this pour your extra juice out of the bowl, it’s very important you don’t fill your crust with loads of juice because no one wants an apple pie soup.  I like to do this before I add the spices so none of those wash out and I get all the flavor.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the angostura bitters over the raw sugar. Add the cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, black pepper, kosher salt, and flour and mix well. Add the prepared apples to the sugar-spice mixture, leaving behind any excess liquids that might have gathered. Gently turn apples to evenly distribute the spice mix.IMG_7876

Tightly layer the apples in the prepared pie shell so that there are minimal gaps, mounding the apples slightly higher in the center. Pour a generous ½ cup to ¾ cup of the caramel sauce evenly over the apples (use the larger quantity if you like a sweeter pie). Note that you won’t use all of the caramel, and it saves for weeks in the fridge. If you didn’t add salt to your caramel, then sprinkle with ¼ tsp of the flake salt, but skip this if you put salt in your caramel. Assemble the lattice on top of the pie and crimp the edges as desired.

Chill the pie in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to set the pastry. Meanwhile, position the oven racks in the bottom and center positions, place a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack and pre-heat oven to 400.

IMG_8907

Brush the pastry with the egg wash to coat, being careful not to drag the caramel onto the pastry (it will burn) and sprinkle with the desired amount of demerara sugar and flake sea salt. Place the pie on the rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is set and beginning to brown. Lower the oven temp to 375 move the pie to the center oven rack, and continue to bake until the pastry is a deep golden brown and the juices are bubbling, 30-35 minutes longer. Test the apples for doneness with a skewer or sharp knife; they should be tender and should offer just the slightest resistance.

Allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 2-3 hours. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Pie will keep refrigerated for 3 days, or room temp for 2 days.

Recipe adapted from Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book

Coconut Crunch Cake with Dark Chocolate Sauce

IMG_7959

IMG_8764It was one of those times when you come across something in a magazine and your mouth starts salivating so much you may or may not have drooled onto the table. This recipe was the catalyst for a whole folder of cut-out “I want to eat that” things. Of course I kept wanting to make it, but then found myself needing to do something faster, or missing one ingredient, and in the end, what I needed to make it happen was another Caroline. When Caroline 1.0 came to visit us in June we started talking about what we wanted to bake together, because the only thing better than one Caroline in the kitchen is two Carolines in a kitchen. Things got delicious fast, and this was our result.

Coconut Crunch Cake with Dark Chocolate Sauce

Cake:

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temp, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for pan
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup cream of coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs

Topping:

2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups sweetened shredded coconut (8 oz by weight)

Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a 10-inch spring form pan. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl stir cream of coconut and vanilla

Beat butter and coconut oil on medium-high until smooth. Slowly add sugar; beat until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce speed to medium; add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each and scrape down the bowl a few times. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 3 batches alternating with 2 batches of cream-of-coconut mixture. Beat until just combined.

For the topping – whisk egg whites and salt with a mixer until thick and frothy, about 1 minute. Stir in milk and vanilla. Fold in coconut.

Spread batter in pan. Dollop topping over batter; carefully spread in an even layer. Bake on a rimmed baking sheet until a toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs, about 1 hour (tent with foil if browning too quickly). You may want to make the chocolate sauce now while your cake is baking so it will have time to cool.

Let cake cool completely; remove from pan. Cut into wedges, drizzle with sauce, and serve with extra sauce on the side.

Chocolate Sauce

1 cup chopped dark chocolate (you can also use chocolate chips or semi-sweet if you want your sauce sweeter)
3/4 cup miniature marshmallows
One 5 ounce can evaporated milk

Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until melted and thoroughly combined, about 7-8 minutes. Let the mixture cool for at least 20 minutes before using. Keeps for at least a month in the fridge.IMG_5576

Coconut Crunch Cake: Martha Stewart Living 2015, Chocolate Sauce: adapted from Mrs. Rowe’s little book of Southern Pies

A couple of Caroline Kings here to make your day as delicious as possible.

%d bloggers like this: