This pie indulged my sweet tooth, and my highly closeted rebel nature. You see, this recipe makes dulce de leche out of sweetened condensed milk. And does so by boiling the cans. Yes. Boiling them. If you are looking to add a little danger to your life, this is the way to do it. I’ve been told the cans can explode, spreading thick gooey sticky caramel milk all over your kitchen. I think some cans even explicitly warn you not to boil them due to the risk of explosion. Sounds exciting right? Pretty sure it’s made up danger though. No eruptions for me, and in all the years my grandmother made a thick, milk-based caramel sauce out of canned sweetened condensed milk, I don’t recall it ever happening to her either. I did have a little excitement while baking this pie. Enough to completely derail my day and prove that you really cannot mess up a pie this easy. More on that later.
First, the boiling of the cans. Get a big stock pot and fill it with water. Remove the labels from two cans of sweetened condensed milk, and set them on their sides inside the pot. Be sure to fill the pot enough to fully cover the cans, plus a couple inches of water. Set the pan to boil. Also, fill another pot with water (just water) and set it to boil as well. During the 2 1/2 hours your cans are cooking, you’ll have to replenish the water as it evaporates to keep the cans covered — you want to have readily available boiling water to refill with. That’s what the other pot of water is for. Apparently this is the part where you can blow up your kitchen. Don’t blow up your kitchen please.
While your cans are boiling, make yourself a nice graham cracker crust. I love the already crushed crumbs. Just add a little sugar and a little butter – and voila.
Press the crumb mixture into a pie plate and bake until golden. If you want to make this pie even easier, go ahead and buy a pre-made graham cracker crust. I won’t be mad at you.
This moment in the process is where my excitement happened. The bad kind. There I was, water about to boil on my cans, crust pressed out ready to pop in the preheated oven, and suddenly, I heard my daughter screaming. She was out riding bikes with my husband and son – when her wails drifted into the kitchen. You know as a mom when you can just tell it’s not a normal cry? That something really horrible has happened? This was one of those times. The pie was forgotten as I ran to meet my husband carrying my sweet girl into the house. She’d fallen from her bike and hit her head (thankfully, a helmeted head). I quickly realized that she needed to get to a doctor post haste as she had all the signs of a concussion. Long story short…I spent my day watching my 7 year-old fail (could not spell her own name — scary fail) the physical and mental concussion tests and then be sent for a CT scan to ensure no brain bleeding (thank the Lord, that scan came back negative).
Many hours later I returned home, exhausted, but thankful it wasn’t a worse diagnosis and set my baby girl up on the couch to rest. But not sleep. Do you know how hard it is to keep a concussed person awake? Sheesh! Then I realized my pie stuff was all still hanging out in the kitchen. The water and oven had been turned off by my hubby and I decided to just go ahead and resume the process. I needed a distraction badly. Pie always works for me. Worst case scenario, it was already ruined. On the flip side, if a 5 hour break for a concussion emergency didn’t destroy this pie, nothing any of you do while baking will either. So, I turned back on the water and let it resume boiling. Let your cans boil 2 1/2 hours, keeping the water level above the tops of the cans. Then carefully remove and allow to cool on the counter. This is very important. DO NOT OPEN THEM IMMEDIATELY. Unless you want a face full of molten caramel spewing out at you. I certainly didn’t need that kind of drama on top of my day. Just let them hang out on the counter until they’ve cooled enough for you to hold them in your hand.
Once they’ve cooled, use a can opener to reveal the magical transformation inside. Boom. Caramel. Or if you want to be fancy…dulce de leche.
Delicious. Oooey gooey caramel. Empty the cans into a bowl and stir slightly until the consistency is silky, smooth and easy to pour. Then, dump it into your prepared crust.
Pop it in the fridge and allow it to cool completely.
Top with whipped cream (or cool-whip if that’s your topping of preference). I piped my cream on with a big star tip and gave it a dash of some Heath Bar bits. You could sprinkle with chocolate chips, or chopped nuts too.
This pie is decadently rich and delicious. Rich like Bill Gates is jealous of how rich this is.
Sweet thick and gooey caramel topped with cool fluffy cream. Mmmmmm. Oooh, there’s another version of this pie too. You add sliced bananas around the crust before pouring the caramel in. Then proceed per this recipe. It’s called banoffee pie. I’ll bet it’s delicious.
Nom, nom, nom.
Oooey Gooey Sinful Caramel Pie
2 (14 ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
1 (9 inch) graham cracker crust *recipe below*
2 cups fresh whipped cream or 1 (12 ounce) container frozen whipped
1. In a large pot, place the cans of sweetened condensed milk with the label taken off, in the pot and cover with water. Cook on high until water comes to a boil, then turn on medium/high for 2 1/2 hours, adding water to keep the can covered. (hint: keep another pot of water boiling and use that to add water to the main pot with cans)
2. Remove cans and allow to cool (until you can easily handle them). Carefully open cans and pour into bowl. Whisk slightly to creamy consistency. Pour into pie shell. Cool pie in refrigerator. When completely cooled, top with cream/whipped topping. Serve.
Graham Cracker Crust
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine, melted
PREHEAT oven to 375°F. Mix all ingredients until well blended.
PRESS firmly onto bottom and up side of 9-inch pie plate.
BAKE 6-8 min. or until golden; cool completely.