I'm surprising someone with a very special treat of mine today: Salted Caramel Pudding Pie! I grew up on chocolate pudding pie (Keebler graham cracker crust and My-T-Fine chocolate pudding) and still love to serve it at parties—who doesn't love chocolate pudding!? But you know what people love more than chocolate pudding? Salted caramel pudding, which is why I started making this updated version of my grandmother/mother's classic recipe: chocolate cookie crust, salty-creamy caramel pudding filling and sweet whipped cream (feel free to add a little chocolate drizzle, too, if desired)!
SALTED-CARAMEL PUDDING PIE
SERVES: 8 to 10
FOR THE CRUST
1 sleeve chocolate graham crackers (about 9 crackers)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup sugar
½ to 1 teaspoon salt
FOR THE FILLING
2 cups whole milk
6 tablespoons cornstarch
3 large egg yolks1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt½ cup dark brown sugar
FOR THE TOPPING
1 cup cold heavy cream
1 to 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1. Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 350˚. Pulse the chocolate graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground. Add the butter, sugar and salt and pulse until the mixture resembles wet sand. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake until set, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
2. Make the filling: Whisk ½ cup milk and the cornstarch in a small bowl; set aside. Whisk ½ cup milk and the egg yolks in a medium bowl; set aside.
3. Heat the granulated sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until melted. Once melted, stop stirring and continue to cook, swirling the pan, until the sugar boils and turns dark amber. (Here's a little video to help, if you're interested!)
4. Immediately add the heavy cream and the remaining 1 cup whole milk (be careful, the caramel will bubble up) and stir until the caramel returns to a simmer. Whisk in the cornstarch-milk mixture until the caramel returns to a simmer (do not boil).
5. Whisk ¼ cup caramel mixture into the egg mixture to bring it up to temperature; slowly drizzle back into the pot with the caramel, whisking constantly, until combined. Simmer 2 to 3 minutes (do not boil). Add the butter, vanilla, salt and brown sugar and whisk until smooth, about 2 more minutes. Press through a fine-mesh sieve until the cooled crust (use a rubber spatula to push it through). Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.
6. Make the topping: Right before serving, beat the heavy cream and granulated sugar with a mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Spread over the pie. Serve immediately.