Sometimes you just need to shove all of your cravings into a pan and call it pie, you feel me?
Recently, I have been dipping my toes into the gluten-free world a bit more, in hopes that the next time someone announces their gluten intolerance I will be able to offer more than a confused stare and an armful of now-obsolete croissants.
I think this is known as balance. Every once in a while I find it, cherish it, and then lose it again for another three months. Sabine has the same cycle of frustration with her favorite ball. It’s life.
If you are still reading, let’s hop back on this path to salty-sweet greatness because it’s Wednesday and we could all use some chocolate.
I am using my most favorite chocolate pie filling that I adapted from The Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book. (Will she ever stop talking about that darn book? No. No, she will not.) I have used this filling recipe as a base for so many different pies - from peppermint bark pie to this midnight cravings party right here - and it is legitimately the best chocolate pie filling ever. Truth.
Oh, it’s also the easiest which is a pretty awesome rarity in the world of baking.
There is just so much to love here. Isn’t life such a sweetheart sometimes?
I used gluten-free pretzels to make a super crunchy, no-rolling-needed pie crust that sets the tone for this salty-sweet situation.
Honestly, gluten-free pretzels are one of the best things in this world. I rarely buy regular pretzels anymore because these are just SO crunchy and it makes me really happy.
After the crust has been baked and the filling whisked to luxuriously smooth perfection, we bake and then refrigerate.
I hate waiting for things to chill.
After the pie has set, we are going to make a caramel. This is the only step in this recipe where things can get a little dicey, but I promise you that with patience, sugar, and a bit of helicopter-mom attention, we can make a caramel that will fulfill all of your toasted sugar fantasies.
After the caramel has been poured, the pie is tucked in the refrigerator once again to allow the caramel to set up.
Decorate with extra pretzels, if you are into that sort of thing, and then show no restraint.
I really feel like this pie is a reverse-engineered Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
Gluten-Free Salted Carmel Dark Chocolate Pie with Pretzel Crust
FOR THE CRUST
2 cups gluten-free pretzels
4 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoons granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Place pretzels in the work bowl of your food processor and pulse several times; until the pretzels are in rough crumbs.
Add melted butter and sugar to the work bowl and pulse on high for 1 minute, until the crust comes together and falls away from the sides of the bowl.
Fold the still-crumbly crust into a 9-inch pie plate. Use the tips of your fingers to press the crust into the pie plate and work it about 1-inch up the sides.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes; until lightly toasted and fragrant. Allow the crust to cool while you prepare the filling.
FOR THE DARK CHOCOLATE FILLING
filling adapted from The Four and Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
12 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Place chocolate into a large bowl; set aside.
Combine milk, cream, and sugar in a 3-quart saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir continuously, until the milk is steaming and the sugar has dissolved.
Remove from heat and pour the milk mixture over the chocolate. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes, then whisk together chocolate and cream; until very smooth.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk eggs.
Slowly ladle half of the warm chocolate mixture into the eggs while whisking constantly. Pour the tempered eggs into the bowl, along with the remaining milk mixture, and stir in vanilla extract.
Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer and into the prepared pie crust.
Bake for 25-35 minutes; until the edges of the filling have set and are raised slightly. The center should still wobble slightly.
Remove the pie from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
Once the pie has cooled, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 4-6 hours; until set.
Several hours later, or the following day, prepare the caramel.
FOR THE SALTED CARAMEL
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup filtered water
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Combine sugar and water in a 3-quart saucepan and place over medium high heat. Stir, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is simmering.
Stop all stirring and simmer steadily, until the sugar is amber in color. If the sugar appears to be browning unevenly, gently swirl the pan. Do not stir.
Once the sugar is amber in color, remove from heat and whisk in heavy cream. Be careful, as the hot sugar will simmer heavily.
Return the pan to the heat and stir until thick and smooth.
Pour the caramel over the chilled pie and sprinkle with sea salt.
Chill for 1-2 hours; until the caramel has set.
Cook’s Note: Before serving, allow the pie to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes so that the caramel can soften a bit - this will make it much easier to slice!