Is there anything that the assertive, toffee-like flavour of caramel can't fix? Honestly, I don't think there is. Take, for example, this recipe. I've never been a huge pumpkin pie fan, yet every year I give it another chance in the hope that my taste buds have matured enough to find the secret pleasure that other people seem to find within it's soft, squashy confines. My palette never reached that milestone, and I worried about what doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, meant for my well-being. Then along comes Dorie Greenspan's version of a pumpkin pie, and everything changes.
In this recipe, you literally get to take caramel to the dark side...cool smokiness, bubbling cream and all! I have a love/hate relationship with caramel. It all depends on whether or not it becomes a smooth, silky sauce or a sticky, black, sponge-shredding clump. The caramel was kind to me in this round, so we're BFs again. Because it had to be cooked until it turned a deep amber, the caramel had a rich, deep flavour.
This pie was outstanding. Not too sweet, not too 'pumpkin(y)' and with the smokey strength of dark caramel. If pumpkin pie was a comely yet lonely librarian, caramel was the Tango instructor who showed her how to let down her hair. Please believe me when I say that this will be loved by everyone, especially by those who can't quite understand the lure of the traditional pumpkin pie...yet try anyway.