Yes, caramel. In a pie. This is the most decadent and indulgent dessert I have ever made. The rich caramel is thick and sweet, creating a perfect balance with the mounds of aerated, vanilla-spiked cream and the crumbly crunch of its graham cracker crust.
Before making this, I had never even heard of—yet alone tasted—a caramel pie. The pictures I saw were so enticing, I just knew it had to be good. I’m not a huge caramel or even dulce de leche fan, but the simplicity of the three layers of crust, caramel, and cream transcended the singular ingredients into a melty and mouthwatering mélange.
This pie is easy to make. Plus, you can cheat and buy a graham cracker crust instead of make one. I opted to make one. Instead of using a food processor, I just pounded the graham crackers until they were almost completely crumbled. I then mixed in the brown sugar and melted butter, patted it into my pie dish, and baked it.
Next, I baked the sweetened condensed milk in a casserole dish that I set in a large pan with water (a water bath). I stirred the condensed milk every 30 minutes, and added water to the larger pan when needed. Once the condensed milk transformed into a bubbly, brown caramel, I removed the dish from the oven and scraped the caramel into the pie crust. (Don’t worry—the bubbles will smooth out as the pie cools!) I then let it set in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, I whipped up some heavy cream and mounded it on top.
The whipped cream may very well be the most important part of the dish. Don’t be afraid to mound it high, and serve the extra cream with the dessert. Otherwise, you will end up with too much caramel and not enough cream!
This dessert pairs perfectly with coffee. And you may want to go light on the cream and sugar since the pie has so much!
- 1¼ cups graham cracker crumbs (about 5 ounces or one "pack")
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- Two 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2½ cups heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Pound the graham crackers into crumbs, then combine with the brown sugar and melted butter. Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie dish. Bake for 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Let cool. Increase the oven temperature to 425°.
- Scrape the condensed milk into a glass baking dish and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt. Cover the dish with foil and place it in a larger pan. Add enough hot water to the pan to reach one-half of the way up the side of the baking dish. Bake, lifting the foil to stir every 30 minutes, until the condensed milk is golden and thickened, about 2 hours; add more water to the larger pan as necessary. The consistency of the caramel should be like dulce de leche. It will be brown and bubbly.
- Scrape the caramel into the pie crust, smoothing the top. Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with vegetable oil spray and cover the pie. Refrigerate until the filling is chilled and set, at least 4 hours.
- In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream with the confectioners' sugar and vanilla until firm. Reserve one cup of the whipped cream for serving. Remove the plastic. Mound the remaining whipped cream on top of the pie. Enjoy!