Last week I shared my latest creation of sweet and salty: Sweet & Crunchy Pretzel Clusters. I also mentioned that I used those same bite-sized snacks as part of a pie. It seemed that the harmony of salty pretzels and sweet brown sugar coating could make a wonderful crust on an ice cream pie. Why stop at one layer of sweet and salty when there could be more?
Rather than crushing the clusters into crumbs, as you would do with graham crackers, I decided to leave them as bite-sized pieces. This did make it a little more difficult to serve the pie, but it also added great texture.
Any type of ice cream that suits your fancy could be used; I chose vanilla to allow the other flavors to shine. However, the toppings are an essential part of this pie, as they deliver another layer of contrast. Caramel sauce, which can be cloyingly sweet, was tempered by salted peanuts. For those with peanut allergies, another nut could be used, but be sure to use one that is salted. Although plain nuts will add a satisfying crunch, the saltiness helps to keep an even score in the game of sweet versus salty.
This pie received unanimous top scores from all served. It will be made again soon on a warm summer evening.
Pretzel Caramel Pie
2/3 batch Sweet & Crunch Pretzel Clusters
vanilla ice cream
salted peanuts, chopped
Preheeat oven to 375.
Press clusters into sides and bottom of 9-inch pie pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool thoroughly.
Once pie is cool, take ice cream out of freezer and allow to soften for 10-15 minutes. Scoop ice cream into crust and smooth with a spatula or knife run under warm water. Cover and freeze for at least one hour.
To serve: Cut into slices. Use a pie server to remove pie from plate. Top with a drizzle of caramel sauce and small handful of peanuts. Garnish with whipped cream and a cherry.