Friday, September 30, 2011

Tim's Caramel Pie

Back in high school, one of my family's favorite restaurants was a little place called Santamour's Cafe.  It served soups, salads, sandwiches, and amazing desserts. It was the first place I ate Cesar salad and actually it was run by my high school track coach's parents.

It was fabulous.  What I remember most is my favorite waiter, Tim, and his caramel pie.  Actually it's technically Dulce de Leche I believe (since it's made from milk).  He once shared the secret that all you have to do to make it is boil a can of sweetened condensed milk.  For some reason, now about 10 years later, I got a craving for Tim's pie and decided to try my hand at making it.

Tim's Caramel Pie

  • 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk (SCM) (do not use evaporated milk)
  • Graham cracker pie crust (I opted for the mini's to try to help my portion control)

I knew prior to making this is that I needed crust and SCM.  I knew to get it to caramelize, I needed to put it in boiling water but that was about it.  It turns out there are several methods to get the end result.  I used one of the suggestions from Eagle Brand SCM's recipe website.
  • Preheat oven to 425F
  • Open SCM can and pour into 9" pie pan (however, we don't have a pie pan so I opted for a small rectangular glass dish
  • Place 9" pie pan into a larger pan and fill larger pan) with at least 1" of water (essentially you're making a double boiler to go in your oven)
  • Cover the pie pan with tin foil
  • Place in oven and bake/cook for 1hr and 45 min
  • Remove from oven and remove pie pan from larger pan
  • Stir SCM (now caramelized).  If SCM is slightly chunky, use whisk and add in 1 Tbsp of milk at a time until mixture becomes creamy
  • Pour into pie crust(s)
  • Chill for at least 30 minutes (you can eat it right away, but I think it tastes much better cooled)
  • Optional:  Mince Granny Smith apple for topping; H put Nutella on his and I thought it was a bit too much

Caramelizing variations:
  • You can actually just put the can of SCM (remove label first) in a pot of boiling water for 3-4 hours.  Do not open the can first.  However, it's very important that you be sure the can is submerged in the water at all times, so always keep at least 1" of water above the can.  Add more water as it boils and evaporates. (I definitely didn't have the patience for this method)
  • Use a stove-top double boiler for approximately 2 hours (water in bottom and poured can of SCM in top)

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