Tuesday, October 19, 2010

TWD: Caramel Pumpkin Pie



Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, and if that is true, Albert would have been the first one to tell me that I would not enjoy this pumpkin pie, and that I was insane for even thinking that I might like it. As is well documented on this blog, I do not enjoy boozy desserts. And if I happen to like a boozy dessert okay, I always think that I would have liked it more if it hadn't been boozy. For those of you keeping score at home, that is over two years' worth of boozy desserts; over two years of not liking boozy desserts; and/or over two years of thinking thoughts like "that dessert wasn't bad, but a little too boozy for me -- I think it would have been great without the booze." And yet what do I do every. single. time a boozy dessert shows up on my calendar? I use the full amount of booze called for in the recipe, while thinking "I bet this rum will complement the fall spices nicely." Why would I think that? Because I'm insane, that's why. That is not to say that the rum does not complement the fall spices nicely; it very well might, it's a matter of personal taste -- *I* will just never think that it does. I will just think that it is too boozy. And that is what I thought about this pumpkin pie.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm not a huge pumpkin pie fan to begin with. I love pumpkin flavored baked goods and pumpkin spices, but the texture of pumpkin pie is not my favorite. This pie offers a fun spin on the classic pumpkin pie with the addition of a very dark caramel. The caramel begins with sugar in a skillet, and after it turns a dark amber color and starts bubbling furiously, cream, butter, and dark rum, cognac, or apple cider get added to the mix. Had I been sane, I would have opted for the apple cider since I know/should know what my personal preferences are by this point, but instead I decided to prove Albert right by going with the 2T rum (although in fairness to my inner sane person, I know that a lot of people in my world like boozy desserts way more than I do, and I don't bake to eat it all myself, anyway). I actually think I nailed the caramel for once, without setting off the fire alarms or frightening small children.

This pie? Really not the pie for me. I felt like the rum was simply overpowering. I did not taste caramel at all - rum, just rum (and a slightly bitter aftertaste). The next night, I served a piece to David, who had been on a haunted camp out with Jacob the day I made this, and I issued a warning before I served it. And David liked it WAY more than I did. That is why I want to be clear that this might be -- heck, probably is! -- an incredible pie - but it is not your pie if you don't like pumpkin pie or boozy desserts. If you do like pumpkin pie and boozy desserts, you should absolutely try this pie, because it's a Dorie dessert - i.e., money in the bank - and therefore without a doubt the best boozy pumpkin pie ever.

Janell of Mortensen Family Memoirs chose this pie. Janell made the pie twice because she did not enjoy it the first time, and voila! -- the second time was a charm. Janell suggests not cooking the caramel quite as long as the recipe calls for. This is an interesting point, and it makes me wonder if that was part of my issue - my caramel was definitely deep amber (I thought the perfect color), but perhaps if I hadn't cooked it as long I would have tasted more "caramel" and wouldn't have gotten that bitter aftertaste. Anyway, food for thought. Janell, thanks for the great seasonal pick!

21 comments:

Audrey said...

oh, you're funny. If I liked pumpkin pie (don't) and boozy desserts (don't), and was ever unselfish enough to make a boozy pumpkin pie anyway (wouldn't be), I would want to share it with you so we could dish.

Happy Tuesday!

chocolatechic said...

That must mean I'm insane too.

Didn't care for this in the least...

Peggy said...

I'm just telling you, Cathy, but keep it a secret. I hated this as far as pumpkin pies go. The bitter aftertaste. GAG. Of course, mine didn't turn out right so maybe if Dorie made it I would love it. At least your pie is pretty even if you didn't love it.

Tia said...

i like your photo. very fall like with the pumpkin :)

cindy said...

Great post--Albert is so true! We are a booze free family so the booze wasn't a problem. We liked it, especially the wonderful crust. Dorie sure has that right.
Have a great day!

Katrina said...

I don't drink, so I never cook with booze. Also don't LOVE pumpkin pie, but this was great--without the booze. I even didn't cook the caramel too long as I've learned from TWD past that I don't care for it with that much burnt taste. Cook the sugar just barely to smoke stage, then call it good. It's perfect. I really liked the pie.
But will still stick with apple or cherry pie in the future. I forgot the apple cider, too, so it's fine and good without it!

The Mortensens said...

You should have gone with the cider or skipped that step all together! I do the same thing with dark chocolate. I keep thinking that this recipe might be different and continue to use it over and over. Then I just end up not loving it.

Anyway, the bitter taste may have come from the caramel. That's how my first pie tasted and I used cider. I just don't like bitter--keep it sweet for me!

Thanks for baking along with me this week. I'm glad that at least David liked it!

Pamela said...

I was really nervous about the booze factor, too. I used mostly water instead. At least you tried! And it looks mighty good.

Jacque said...

I like boozy desserts, but anything over a teaspoon is usually too much... too overpowering like you said. You want it to be an accent, not the whole show. Anyway, sorry you didn't like this... maybe this will be the one dessert that will make you remember for next time :)

Tracey said...

I'm with you Cathy - I always find Dorie's recipes with rum way too boozy. I finally switched it up this time and used apple cider, with much better results. Kudos on the caramel! I had good luck with this method too, though it did get dark very quickly. Your pie looks wonderful and I'm glad someone in your house enjoyed it :)

Di said...

The rum doesn't bother me, but I'm with you on not liking the custardy texture of pumpkin pie. I guess we'll see--I think this one is going to be my rewind for November. =)

Jess said...

I too have spent two plus years wondering if it's just me - do I have a wussy palate that I can't take this much rum? And I have come to the conclusion that Dorie likes a boozy pie, and I don't. I have found that halving the amount of rum in any Dorie recipe makes it just right for me. Of course I forgot to do that this time, and holy rummy pie! Anyway, your pie looks great and I hope you will find the courage to pumpkin pie again.

Judy said...

Normally, I don't have a problem with the booze, but this time, between the bitter caramel and the rum, it wasn't an enjoyable pie. I'll stick with my go-to recipe for now.

Nancy/n.o.e said...

I'm all for boozy desserts, but I usually cut the amount just a bit.
The first time I made this pie was the gluten-free version and my caramel was just this side of burned and the pie filling was quite bitter.

The second time I made the regular Dorie version. The group I baked this pie for is alcohol-free, so I used cider and kept the caramel moderately dark and the pie was scrumptious to the point of converting previous pumpkin pie haters. So, if you ever get roped into bringing pumpkin pie to Thanksgiving dinner, I'd heartily recommend this recipe with a few minor changes.

Finally, "inner sane person" - really!!??

Mary said...

I am a friend of Jess (cookbookhabint) and I copy her and 1/2 all the alcohol dorie suggests in her recipes....totally agree.

Kayte said...

So, the question is: the next time we have a boozy dessert, what will your choice be? Will you make it or will you decide to leave out the boozy part? I will stay tuned. It all looks lovely. Surprisingly, even though pumpkin is not my favorite flavor by a long shot, I did like this...because I could taste the caramel and the rum over the pumpkin, tee hee. It's important to have all different kinds of friends, right? To keep life from getting too stale and all. Keep that in mind when you are reviewing my friendship qualities.

Karen said...

I always love your posts and how descriptive you are! We found the pie to be pretty bitter as well even though I actually liked it because of the caramel. :)

The Blonde Duck said...

You know what's weird? I think pumpkin pie is the only pie I don't like.

AmyRuth said...

Hey girl, another cute story. Who cares if the pie is your fav or not. Fun reading for sure.
AmyRuth

Beth said...

I like pumpkin pie but not boozy desserts. If I try this recipe I'll probably go with the apple cider, as you suggested.

TeaLady said...

Funny cause I couldn' taste the rum at all. Glad you liked it anyway. Prob become my go to for TG and CM dinner.

Pretty Pie.

 
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