Ed Levy from Baltimore was hoping I would be able to get the recipe for the salted chocolate caramel pie that he and his wife so enjoyed at Bottega, the new restaurant located in the Station North neighborhood in Baltimore. It was one of two desserts on the menu the night he and his wife dined there with friends, and they all thought it was one of the single best desserts they had ever had. They ordered one slice to share and liked it so much they asked for a second.
I contacted Adrien Aeschliman, the chef-owner of Bottega, and he graciously provided me with his recipe for the pie. He said he adapted it from a recipe from Marlow & Sons restaurant in Brookyln, N.Y.
This deliciously decadent creation may not be for the inexperienced cook. It requires making a homemade caramel, which takes some degree of skill. I managed it on my first attempt, but if one were not vigilant, it would be easy to overcook it and have it seize up.
I loved the fact that Aeschliman uses chocolate Teddy Graham cookies for the crust. He said he did that because "you can find them lots of places, but basically any not-overly sweet simple chocolate cookie is gonna work."
I made this pie and invited some friends over for dessert and coffee. While everyone took a look at it and asked for a small piece to start, more than one of my guests came back asking for a second sliver. This one is just is too good to practice self-control.
Paula Pumphrey from Glen Burnie is seeking a recipe for chocolate fudge that she recalls from her childhood. She wrote that she went to P.S. 84 in South Baltimore, near Riverside Park, 60 or so years ago, and Salem Lutheran Church was right around the corner on Randall Street. She said "they made and sold the best chocolate fudge in the world. It was not soft. It was about half an inch thick and snapped when you bit into it. It immediately melted in your mouth."
The only two ingredients she is sure it contained were sugar and canned milk (not sweetened condensed milk). She said that she is sure of those ingredients because back in the day, the families of the students would donate those ingredients to the school, which in turn would donate them to the church. Her 90-year-old mother, who also attended P.S. 84, remembers doing the same thing when she went there, but unfortunately she doesn't remember the recipe.
If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request, write to Julie Rothman, Recipe Finder, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278 or email email@example.com. If you send in more than one recipe, please put each on a separate piece of paper and be sure to include your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Name and hometown must accompany recipes in order to be published. Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letter and recipes may be edited for clarity.
Salted caramel chocolate pie
Makes 8 to 10 servings
2 cups crushed chocolate Teddy Graham cookies
3/4 cups unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup whipping cream
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup whipping cream
6 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
Sea salt (preferably Maldon) for dusting
To make cookie crust:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Combine the crushed cookies and melted butter in a medium bowl and mix well. Press mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9- inch pie or tart pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool completely before filling.
To make caramel filling:
Stir sugar and water in a heavy saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and boil until the syrup is an amber color, swirling the pan occasionally and brushing down the sides with a wet pastry brush, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat.
Add cream, butter, vanilla, and pinch of salt (the mixture will bubble up). Return pan to very low heat; stir until caramel is smooth and the color deepens, about 5 minutes. Refrigerate the caramel uncovered until cold but not firm, about 15 minutes, before pouring into prepared crust. It should fill a little more than halfway. Return to refrigerator and allow the caramel to firm up for about an hour or two.
To make chocolate filling:
Bring cream to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Add the chocolate and whisk together until smooth. Pour the chocolate filling carefully over the caramel layer to cover. In the end, you want slightly more caramel than chocolate in the tart. Refrigerate for about an hour or two until firm. Sprinkle finished pie with sea salt, slice and serve chilled. Store any uneaten portion in the refrigerator.