Saturday, January 3, 2009


As I promised in the last post, I will tell you about the journey my family has gone through to perfect the making of carmel pies. Carmel pie is my dad's favorite dessert, and his mom always makes sure to have one ready when we go to visit her. Eventually, we got the idea that we could actually make our own, and asked mom-maw for the recipe. She gave it willingly (almost too willingly) and we set off home again, anxious to make our own carmel pie.

Mom tried them first. She tried, and tried, and tried. I shudder to think at the sheer volume of sugar she melted that day in her courageous but fruitless attempts to achieve the pie nirvana that is carmel pie.

After the smoke cleared, mom conceded defeat and we all immediately blamed mom-maw for giving us a bad recipe so we'd be forced to visit her every time we wanted a carmel pie. Her name was mud around here for a good six months. Every time a recipe didn't turn out from then on, even if mom-maw had never touched it, she was blamed.

The next time we visited mom-maw, we asked her to wait until we got there to make the pies so we could watch. Watch we did, and my dear husband took copious amounts of ridiculously detailed notes about the entire process.

So armed, we returned home and tried again.

Another dismal failure. This time we knew exactly what mom-maw had used (and there were, in fact, a few minor deviations from the recipe, although mom-maw swears to this day it's correct). We knew how long and how hot to make it. We knew everything she'd done, but it still turned out into a runny, flour-flavored catastrophe.

A couple more attempts were made over the last year or so, and were again met with disappointing results. Then, my dad became a fan of Alton Brown. This pretty much sums up Mr. Brown:

My dad is a geek. He loves the explanations and education of AB's show. He watched a few episodes, applied a little cooking chemistry (and a lot of time and use of the stand mixer he got this Christmas), and viola! The infamous carmel pie.

Top with mirangue, bake a bit, and you have yourself a delectable treat.

A pie composed nearly entirely of melted sugar.

Needless to say - it was consumed quickly and enjoyed immensely.