A pie is a baked recipe made from a pastry bread dough. It usually contains a filling with various sweet and savory elements.
While I avoid the food-writer clichés, it is difficult not to talk about my grandmother. This has been especially difficult recently because her life was virtually unaffected by the pandemic. We hired someone to help her shop because she could not move around, and most of the food she ate was either freezer-friendly or shelf-stable.
You may recognize this pie as dulce de leche in a pastry shell. It is very easy to make, too sweet for your teeth, and lacking in subtlety. It stares at your face, challenging you to question its legitimacy and allowing you to eat an entire can of caramelized dairy right in your mouth. It demands, “Is dulce de leche something you don’t want to eat?”
You can make it with any crust. You can make it with just flour and sugar. (Or margarine, if needed). This was the route I chose because I had pretzels at hand and didn’t feel like measuring flour. Also, bitterness and salt were very much needed. A crust can also be made from saltines, but I wouldn’t recommend cookies.
If it seems excessive, indecent, or too sweet, you can add more to the caramel. My maternal grandmother Rita made a version with cut bananas as a banoffee deal. But, fresh apples would also work. Salty peanuts would temper the sweetness. Although I didn’t add any to the filling, I did sprinkle some Maldon and pretzel crust on top. If you have vanilla or booze, you can add it to the filling.
Jewel used an instant pot to boil the sweetened condensed dairy milk.
This pie will require:
- 1 crust, cooked and cooled
- 1 can sweeten condensed milk
- One teaspoon vanilla or your favorite alcohol (I used Applejack).
- You can add any extras, such as banana slices or chopped-up candy bars.
To make dulce de leche over the stove, place the can unopened in a large pot of water. Boil for 3 hours. Check every so often to ensure it remains submerged. Open the can and wrap it in aluminum foil. Then, place the Instant Pot insert on the trivet. The Instant Pot insert should be filled with water until it reaches half the height of the can. Once the water reaches the halfway mark, close the Instant pot and cook for 50 minutes under high pressure. After the timer has expired, manually release the pressure and open the Instant Pot. Once the can is removed, use tongs to lift it out of the pot carefully. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes. Then transfer the contents to a bowl and add any extracts or alcohol. Stir until smooth.
If adding fruit, place it in the cooled crust and then drizzle the caramel on top. Cool the top, smoothen it if necessary, and then place it in the refrigerator until it is chilled. Serve with a glass of milk if possible.