It’s been my nickname from my grandpa, (whom I, in return, dubbed “Pie”), as well as my dad, since childhood days. I couldn’t tell you how either one began calling me that, but it’s stuck with me; and to be honest, it fits, considering my love for food.
I love to eat food, cook food, go grocery shopping, all of it. I attribute this love to summers spent at my grandma’s house. No matter how hot the day was, we spent our mornings making apple pie and plum jam with the fresh fruit from the backyard.
Then, we would move on to the vegetable garden by making individual loaves of zucchini bread. My grandpa’s garden produced giant zucchini’s, so we always had A LOT to make.
As I grew, those summer trips became scarce and I had to start doing the baking on my own.
I baked for school trip fundraisers, for parties, and sometimes just for fun. I even helped mom by cooking dinner once in a while.
With all this time in the kitchen, people often ask what my favorite food is; the answer is: I have no idea.
Don’t get me wrong, I have my “go-to” recipes for things like chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and other easy staples. But to choose a favorite is just too hard, especially when I cook and bake with the seasons.
After this Thanksgiving, I may change my answer, as I found a pie recipe that will become a family holiday tradition.
Behold the deliciousness of the Salted Caramel Chocolate Pecan Pie!
Now I wish I could take credit for this recipe, but unfortunately I cannot.
I found the recipe online while searching for desserts on Pinterest. This recipe appealed to me because of its sweet and salty combo. Also I liked this recipe because most pecan pies have a gooey and syrupy center due to the corn syrup.
This recipe calls for only 1 tablespoon of corn syrup while the rest of the filling has a consistency of homemade brownie batter.
The chocolate is not overly rich, and with a sprinkling of sea salt it is the perfect combination for any holiday party.
I love pie crust; I could eat baked pie crust all by itself. I decided to make my own dough using the following recipe:
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1-2 Tbsp sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼ inch. slices
6-8 Tbsp ice cold water.
Combine flour, salt and sugar in large mixing bowl. Dump the butter into the flour mixture and quickly begin to pinch the chunks of butter into the flour. Do this until the mixture resembles a texture like that of wet sand. It should be crumbly without big chunks of butter. Next begin to add the water until the dough sticks together.
Once you have your dough, divide into two even balls and wrap each in plastic wrap. Flatten into a 4-inch disk. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
This pie only requires one crust, so use the rest for pie crust cookies.
Now that you have your crust you are ready to make the pie.
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup 100% cacao unsweetened cocoa
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup toasted chopped pecans
1 (9-inch) unbaked deep-dish piecrust shell
Salted Caramel Topping
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 cups toasted pecan halves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1. Prepare Filling: Preheat oven to 350°. Stir together first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add eggs, stirring until well blended. Fold in chopped pecans. Pour mixture into pie shell.
2. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes. (Filling will be loose but will set as it cools.) Remove from oven to a wire rack.
3. Prepare Topping: Bring 3/4 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, and 1/4 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. (Do not stir.) Boil, swirling occasionally after sugar begins to change color, 8 minutes or until dark amber. (Do not walk away from the pan, as the sugar could burn quickly once it begins to change color.) Remove from heat; add cream and 4 Tbsp. butter. Stir constantly until bubbling stops and butter is incorporated (about 1 minute). Stir in table salt.
4. Arrange pecan halves on pie. Top with warm caramel. Cool 15 minutes; sprinkle with sea salt.
I hope you get a chance to try this delicious dessert. I know I will be making it again, only next time I think I might try a pretzel crust.