Auntie Em's Guide to Life

A guide to all the important things in life- marriage, family, cooking, gardening, reading, travel, Christian living… And whatever else grabs my attention!

Auntie Em’s Grandma Ballard’s Caramel Pie

on November 20, 2012

You might wonder why I’m tagging marriage in this recipe post. It’s because “Speak your husband’s language” is one of Auntie Em’s rules. One of Mr X’s love languages is acts of service. And when I serve him by cooking, he has always been very appreciative. When I make his favorite pie, which is pretty easy to make now, but at first was time-consuming and complicated, it spells L-O-V-E to him! Be a student of your husband; find out how to speak his language, then speak often!

Now– on to the pie. It’s not as simple as some– It uses FOUR dishes besides the pie pan! But it’s worth it. You’ll love it! Grandma Ballard's Caramel Pie recipe

(You can see lots of trial and error here. One of my first times to make it was when we were visiting my brother- and sister-in-law; I made it without the recipe. He spent most of the night sick, and the whole family jokes about my bad pie…. however, when the truth came out, he ate most of it in one sitting, and I think THAT is why he was sick !)

PREPARE:

  • Preheat your oven to 400 so you can bake the meringue when you’re all done.
  • Get out your food you’ll need: Flour, sugar, butter, vanilla, eggs, cream of tartar, a cooked pie shell
  • Get out your dishes you’ll need: A heavy pan for mixing the dry ingredients and cooking the custard, a heavy skillet for caramelizing the sugar; a bowl for mixing the eggs and milk, and a bowl for beating the egg whites. Plus a whisk for stirring the custard, a knife to cut the butter, measuring spoons and cups, and a spatula for applying the meringue.

Start with a baked pie shell. (Video instructions for a homemade one are here. It’s not as hard as you think!)

homemade pie crust cooked separate eggs

Now mix your wet ingredients together and your dry ingredients together

  • 2 3/4 C milk and 4 egg yolks. You’ll have to separate your eggs; put the whites in another bowl so you can beat them.
  • 1 C sugar and 1/2 C flour.  The recipe says “4 heaping TBS but I hate the vagueness of “heaping,” so I measured. (Believe it or not.)   I mix this in the pan I cook the custard in. Mix together well so you won’t get blobs of flour. (So says the voice of experience)

Now stir the milk and egg mixture into the dry mixture in the heavy pan. Mix together with a whisk till it’s smooth. This is the custard mixture. Heat it over medium heat. You can take a shortcut and heat it on higher heat till it begins to get warm, but watch and stir! It can burn and curdle quickly.

Then put 1 C of sugar into a heavy skillet; shake it to spread it around evenly. Heat over medium heat. Same as with the custard, you can start the heat higher but turn it down for more control.

sugar and flour mixture caramelizing sugar in skillet

Now you wait. And stir the custard. And stir the custard. And wait. Don’t stir the sugar. Just wait. After 10 minutes it looked like this, just barely beginning to melt.

sugar beginning to melt caramelizing sugar

After another 10 it looked like this. All this time I’ve been stirring the custard. If it has thickened or begun to bubble, I turn down the heat until the sugar is melted.  (At this point you can add the vanilla and butter and use this custard for a wonderful banana pudding! No jello pudding at our house!) Granny says never stir the sugar, just shake it around, so that’s what I do.

melting sugar caramelizing sugar

Once all the sugar melts it’s time to be really careful. The custard has to be VERT hot, or else the caramelized sugar will cool and harden instead of blend in. When you pour it in, it will bubble up violently. Stir, stir, stir!

caramelized sugar caramelized sugar poured into custard

Till it looks like this.

caramel pie filling

At this point, remove it from the heat and stir in 1-2 TBS butter and 1 tsp vanilla till it’s all smooth.

Pour into your cooked pie shell. You’re almost done!

Now you have to make the meringue topping. A Kitchenaid stand mixer makes quick work! Add 1/2 tsp cream of tartar and mix the 4 egg whites on high. When “frothy” like the first picture, add 4-6 TBS sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Beat till stiff peaks form– that means when you lift the beater it sticks and the mixture in the bowl keeps its shape, like in the second picture.

frothy egg whites stiff peaks egg whites meringue

Now gently place blobs of meringue onto the hot pie filling. You don’t want to do a lot of stirring because that will get the filling all over the meringue plus get the air out of the meringue, which will cause it to deflate. That’s bad. Gently connect the blobs to form a solid surface, and press to the sides of the pie crust to seal.

meringe on pie meringue on pie

Now, cook the meringue till it’s as brown as you like, at 400 degrees. This was about 4 minutes.

Auntie Em's caramel pie with meringe topping

Here’s what was left: (It will be a hit at your house or church too!)

leftover pie

Auntie Em's holiday cooking Collage

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17 responses to “Auntie Em’s Grandma Ballard’s Caramel Pie

  1. It must taste as delicious as it looks, little wonder the bowl ends up empty. Okay, have to make mine now, thanks a lot for sharing this recipe. Have a super blessed day!
    Love

  2. Oh my word. That looks delicious. The receipe book looks well used too. :)

  3. You are absolutely ADORABLE! I found your site through your linkup on WLW (normally I don’t even look at the links). I just love your personality and everything you are about. I’m a new facebook follower (Angell A) and I bookmarked your site into my “Daily Visit” folder.

    God bless you!! I look forward to getting to know you!

    • Auntie Em says:

      Oh my goodness, Angell, thanks so much!! I found you on FB too, and will be visiting your blog. I have a lot written so it will take you a while to dig through… hopefully it will live up! Looking forward to getting to know you as well!

  4. Oh yum, I love caramel and I love pie so this is perfect! Thanks for sharing at The Fun In Functional!

  5. This pie looks amazingly delicious!
    I would love to have you share this and/or any other recipe of yours at Wednesday Extravaganza – my Link Party with a special something. There is a pretty nice Giveaway going on this week too. Here is the link:
    http://www.hungrylittlegirl.com/1/post/2012/11/wednesday-extravaganza-5-giveaway.html

    Can’t wait to see you there!

  6. Sounds yummy! And it’s great that your husband loves this pie. :)

  7. It sure does look like a crowd pleaser. I also like your cookbook, there is nothing like a nice old worn cookbook that speaks of nothing but love! Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. Judith says:

    This looks so delicious!! What a blessing you must be to your husband and a constant encouragement to other wives to speak her husband’s love language. I don’t know what man wouldn’t like his wife to make him a pie, no matter what his preferred love language is!!

    Thanks for linking up over at WholeHearted Home Wednesdays this week.

  9. Kelly says:

    So good!! I can see why your hubby loves it. My hubby loves it when I make something that is his favourite too. Men are so easy to please :) Thanks for linking up with us at No Ordinary Blog Hop. Every blessing, Kelly

  10. [...] Auntie Em’s Homemade Pie Crust (VIDEO TUTORIAL)  Auntie Em’s Grandma Ballard’s Caramel Pie [...]

  11. […] And here’s the pie I made– Grandma Ballard’s Caramel Pie! […]

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