Friday, December 21, 2012

Caramel Pie

So, I am going to a Dirty Santa Ornament Exchange snack party tonight. I am taking boneless bbq wings, caramel pie and my ornament. I couldn't decide on what kind of crust to put the caramel pie in. I went to Save-a-lot and was looking for graham cracker crumbs, no luck. They had pre-made graham cracker crusts, but I wanted to do my own. OK, I decided to get graham crackers and crush them. As I was looking at the graham crackers, the vanilla wafers caught my eye. Hum. Vanilla wafer crust? Yep! That is what I did. Before I left home, I placed 2 cans sweetened condensed milk in a pot, covered the cans well with water, got the pot to boiling, then reduced the heat to keep it simmering. Boil the cans for 4 hours for best results, mine was 2 1/2 hours, and while the caramel made and tasted good, it needed to be a bit firmer. Go for the four hours. Cover the pot and keep it boiling for the entire time AND KEEP THE CANS COVERED WITH WATER, then cool the cans completely before opening. IF YOU OPEN THEM HOT, THEY WILL "LAVA OUT" hot caramel all over you and YOU WILL BE BURNED!!!!! 

Now, for the crust:
crush one box vanilla wafers in a food processor or blender on the crushed ice setting, pulsing until cookies are crushed. Do 1/3 box at a time until all are crushed. This will yield about 2 cups crushed cookies.
Stir in 2 tablespoons sugar
Melt one stick butter and pour over crumbs, stir to combine well.
Press mixture into deep 9" pie plate, as evenly as possible. Bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes until crust is set, cool and use. This is a great crust for lemon meringue pie as well.

When caramel is cooled, pour into crust and chill. Top with homemade whipped cream.

Whipped Cream
desired amount of whipping cream
sweeten to taste, use powdered sugar, it incorporates more quickly
whip to desired consistency, careful not to make butter.

Homemade whipped cream should be kept chilled until ready to use and generally doesn't hold together well for a second day, so make in small amounts. Also, for best results, chill bowl and beaters before whipping and use a stand mixer with whisk attachment rather than paddle, but a hand mixer will easily work, just may take a bit longer.


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