Monday, February 2, 2015
Chocolate Caramel Pie: A Book Club Dessert for Unbroken
I'm part of the best, most fun, most fabulous book club ever. We read books. We make food. Usually we make food that goes with the books.
This month we read Unbroken. You might think that this is because we are hopeless trend-followers, but the truth is I'm not sure my friend realized they'd made a movie out of it until she picked it and all the library copies were checked out. That's the way we roll. But, whatever, follow the trend if you must because Unbroken is a truly beautiful book and everyone should read it.
While you're reading it, thinking about all those men having rice balls thrown at them and contracting beriberi, and starving to death, you should eat a chocolate pie with a layer of caramel underneath and a crust made from Oreo cookies and butter. It's the American way. And then you should top it with little Hershey's bars. If you were floating along on a raft with sharks circling you, this is surely one of the recipes you would daydream about and recreate in your mind.
Also--Hershey's bars = thematically appropriate for Unbroken. Because when the POWs were rescued, well, I will just say that Hershey's bars were dropped from planes into the camp. And if that's not heaven to starving 20-year-old boys, I'm not sure what is. This pie--also kind of like being in heaven. If only it could be dropped successfully from a plane. (Note: Do not try that at home; just eat it.)
Also--chocolate pie = thematically appropriate for Valentine's Day. You might want to forgo the Hershey's bars and go for some sea salt to make it sexier.
Chocolate Caramel Pie: A Book Club (or movie club if that's your thing) Dessert for Unbroken
adapted from Kevin and Amanda
Makes 1 pie
Prep time: 5-10 minutes per layer (about 30 total, plus several hours of chill time in between)
Cook time: 5
Cost: $7.70 (no, it's not cheap; I'm sorry)
Oreos: 2.00 (for generic), butter: 1.00, cream: 1.25, brown sugar: .20, chocolate chips: 2.00, Hershey's bar: 1.25
Note: I'm going to confess something here. This caramel was billed as fool-proof. I did not consider it thus. I made it twice and both times it came out slightly (although not excessively) grainy. I almost went for a third, but didn't have it in me. That was okay because next to the cookie crust I did not notice even a tiny bit of graininess as I actually ate. Still, well, it was just kind of annoying. I wanted perfectly-creamy-yet-thick-enough-to-stay-as-a-layer-in-the-pie caramel. Perhaps one day I will work to fix this so that it is perfectly perfect in every way (I have a great caramel recipe, but need something thicker), but for now let me say that it was wonderfully tasty and no graininess was noticed as you ate it--that's good enough.
Another note: You'll note I didn't get a picture of the inside of the pie (which is a pity because it's quite pretty. Yeah--we ate most of it, and the rest that came home with me got smashed--sorry. I will rectify the lack of center pictures next time I make this.)
about 36 Oreos (generic is fine)
8 Tbsp butter. melted
For Caramel layer:
8 Tbsp butter
2/3 C brown sugar
1/4 C whipping cream
For Ganache layer:
12 oz chocolate chips or nice chocolate
1 C whipping cream
To make your crust, put cookies and melted butter into a food processor and process until you've got fine crumbs. Alternately, you can put them in a big Ziploc bag and smash them with a rolling pin via child labor.
Put this crust into a tart, springform, or pie pan. I used a 10-inch, but I think you could get away with a 9-inch. Using a pan with an outside that springs off is nice for presentation, but my pie pan worked just fine too.
Throw this in the freezer or fridge to set up.
In the meantime, make the caramel layer. To do this, add your cube of butter and the brown sugar. On medium or medium low heat, melt the butter as you whisk in the brown sugar. DO NOT melt the butter first, then add the brown sugar, or your finished product will be super grainy. Whisk it gently the entire time it's heating. When it starts to boil, cook it for one minute (whisking) and take it off the heat. Immediately drizzle in the cream, whisking constantly.
Allow it to cool for about 10 minutes.
Then add it to the pie crust and put it in the freezer for 30 minutes (or fridge for a bit longer)--until it sets up.
When it's set, make the chocolate ganache. Do this by putting the chocolate chips and whipping cream in a microwave proof container and nuke it for a minute. Then whisk. If it needs another 30 seconds to whisk smooth, give it that. It should whisk into a smooth creamy chocolate deliciousness.
Pour this onto the caramel layer. Freeze for 30 minutes or refrigerate until set. DO NOT put it in the freezer and forget all about it. This isn't meant to be a frozen pie. You just want it to set up.
When it's set, you can add Hershey's bars if you want (they are perfect thematically for Unbroken, but they do take an already rich dessert over-the-top so be warned). Alternately, you can sprinkle this with sea salt.
Chill for 2-4 hours in the refrigerator and eat.