Salty-Sweet Caramel Chocolate Pretzel Pie

Sweet mixed with salty, all crispy and golden
Sugar that’s thickened and baked until molten
Pretzels and graham crackers, dolloped with cream
Caramel and chocolate, pairing supreme
(Apologies to Rogers, Hammerstein, and Julie Andrews)

salted caramel pie
Rather than belabor the point with five more stanzas about a pie that’s one of my new favorite things, I’ll just say that this dessert stole the show last month at Thanksgiving. Actions spoke louder than words; while carrying the lineup of pies and tarts to the buffet, I heard the usual chorus from the living room of how everyone was too full to even think about something sweet. But surveying the scene after the smoke had cleared and plates were scraped clean, not even a sliver of this pie—nay, just a misshapen lump of crust and whipped cream—remained.

A simpler version of the pie in Food & Wine caught my eye with a plain old graham cracker crust, a layer of homemade dulce de leche, and a whopping topping of whipped cream. Never being one to leave well enough alone, I snuck a bunch of salty pretzels into the crust and subbed out half the whipped cream for a chocolate pudding layer. And bumped up the amount of sea salt, because of my salt tooth.

Am I also crazy for thinking a milk chocolate mousse layer topped with vanilla-tinged marshmallow fluff also might be a scene-stealer? Or is that just the sugar talking?

For those of you who feared making dulce de leche at home because you thought boiling sealed cans of condensed milk was the only way to go? There’s a less anxiety-inducing method. (I won’t even try the boil-a-can way myself.) Just crack open those cans and slow-roast the contents in a water bath to make a milky, intense caramel without the threat of lava-like explosions.

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    • Casey BarberCasey Barber says

      There’s really very little baking involved, too – as long as you remember to stir and keep the water level where it should be!