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Monday, November 21, 2011

Caramel Pecan Pie

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I've eaten my fair share of pies in my twenty-five years and yet I don't think I've ever had more than a bite or two of pecan pie. It's not that I don't like pecan pie, it's just that my grandma is the pie master and her specialty is apple pie, so that's what I grew up on (more on that in a few days!). Recently we celebrated my sister-in-law's birthday and she requested pecan pie for dessert. In searching for a recipe, I came across this caramel pecan pie recipe from Southern Living Magazine. Given my recent obsession with all things caramel, I knew I had to stray a bit from standard pecan pie.
Caramel came through for me once again! This pie was a hit with Ryan's family--the filling uses melted caramels instead of corn syrup which makes for a sweet and gooey filling that isn't quite as overwhelming as the traditional pecan pie.  I used a crust recipe that comes together easily in a food processor, making this pie rather easy to put together. Have you figured out your dessert menu for Thursday? There's still time to whip this up!
One Year Ago: Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie (I also highly recommend adding this to your dessert selection for Thanksgiving this year!!)
Two Years Ago: Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Ball

Hey did you enter my giveaway for FREE CHEESE? Check it out here--you have two ways to enter--I'll pick FIVE winners Tuesday night!

Caramel Pecan Pie
crust seen on Apple a Day from the Martha Stewart Living Cookbook, pie from Southern Living
*serves 8-10

for the pie
-1 pie crust (recipe below, or use packaged refrigerated crust)
-28 caramels, unwrapped
-1/4 cup butter
-1/4 cup water
-3/4 cup sugar
-2 large eggs
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-1/4 tsp salt
-1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted

for the crust (makes a double crust so halve the recipe or freeze the other for another pie!)
-2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
-1 tsp kosher salt
-1 tsp granulated sugar
-2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
-1 tbsp chilled vodka
-1/4-1/2 cup ice water, less 1 tbsp

To make the pie crust:
1. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process just to combine. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse sand (about 10 seconds). Add the vodka, followed by the water in a steady stream through the food processor feed tube with the machine running. Process just until the dough holds together (not more than 30 seconds).
2. Place the dough on a floured surface and divide into two equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least one hour before using. (If you freeze one crust just thaw in the fridge when ready to use).
For the Pie:
1. Roll out pie crust and fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Prick bottom and sides of crust with a fork. Bake at 400F for 6-8 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
2. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine caramels, butter, and water. Cook, stirring constantly, until caramels and butter are melted (5-7 minutes). Remove from heat.
3. Stir sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt into caramel mixture until completely mixed. Stir in pecans and pour mixture into prepared crust.
4. Bake at 400F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and bake for 20 more minutes. Shield the edges of the crust with foil to prevent browning. Remove pie to a wire rack to cool completely.