Story and photo by John Hamilton
Love is the central motif and motivation for Jennifer Nystrom’s baking.
She puts it in her Nystreats Ltd baked goods that are sold at the Clinton County Farmers Market.
And it was certainly a key component to her award-winning Chocolate Caramel Turtle Sundae Pie — a treat that won both first place in the Guittard Chocolate category and Best in Show at the 2018 National Pie Championship.
Guittard Chocolate, a sponsor of the event, sent Nystrom and other competitors a bunch of chocolate to “experiment with,” as Nystrom says.
“This is basically a Snickers bar in a pie,” said Nystrom. “Snickers is my husband’s favorite candy bar.”
The pie contains a layer of peanuts and caramel, chocolate ganache, and she used Guittard’s chocolate wafers to make the crust. Since she couldn’t call it a Snickers pie, she thought about calling it a Chuckles pie, but then decided on Turtle Pie since it has similar elements.
Her journey to the National Pie Championship began when she and her sister, Terri Beavers, decided to take a girls’ trip to see what it was.
Now, 14 years later, her kitchen is her test lab for recipes to submit, including the eight pies she submitted last year.
With a pie based around her husband Rex’s favorite candy bar, it all ties back into her main motivation.
“Baking is my way of showing love,” said Nystrom.
Jennifer Nystrom’s Chocolate Caramel Turtle Sundae Pie
1 1/2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
12 ounces Guittard’s Organic 66 percent semi-sweet wafers
6 ounces heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/4 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 ounces Guittard’s Organic 66 percent semi-sweet wafers
1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup salted peanuts, chopped
For the crust, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a 9-inch, deep-dish pie plate, mix well the melted butter, chocolate graham cracker crumbs, and the brown sugar. Press evenly on the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate. Bake in a preheated, 375-degree oven for 7 minutes. Remove from the oven to cool.
While the crust is cooling, make ganache by placing the chocolate wafers in a medium glass bowl. Put the whipping cream in a heat-proof measuring cup and microwave it on high at 30-second intervals until boiling. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate wafers and let sit for 3-5 minutes to melt. Once it has sat, stir well until all the wafers have melted and the cream is fully incorporated. The mixture should have a smooth shine to it. After the crust has cooled for at least 15 minutes, cover the bottom of the pie crust with about 1/2 to 3/4 cup ganache. Set the rest aside.
Cool the ganache-covered crust in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. While the crust is cooling, make the caramel by unwrapping and placing the caramels in a heat-proof 4-cup measuring cup. Pour 1/4 cup cream over the caramels and heat in the microwave on high at 30-second intervals until caramels are soft, about a total of 1 minute 30 seconds. Stir the caramel-cream mixture well with a whisk until very smooth. Add the chopped peanuts, mixing well with a spatula.
Spread the caramel-peanut mixture over the now cooled ganache-topped pie shell. Set aside to cool while making the filling.
To make the filling, in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the softened cream cheese, vanilla and sugar until fluffy. Add the cream and whip until light and fluffy. Add the remainder of the ganache until fully incorporated and starting to get lighter in color, about 3 minutes.
Spread the chocolate mixture over the caramel mixture in the pie plate. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
After pie has fully chilled, make topping by whipping together the heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla until semi-firm peaks form.
Make chocolate drizzle by microwaving 2 ounces of chocolate wafer chips and cream in a heatproof small bowl for about 30 seconds. Stir well to make a smooth sauce. Heat an additional 15-30 seconds if necessary.
Make caramel drizzle by microwaving for about 30-45 seconds 5 caramels with 1 tablespoon cream in a small heat-proof bowl. Whisk well, to make a smooth sauce.
Pipe the whipping cream on pie; then drizzle the chocolate sauce and caramel sauce over the whipping cream. Top with chopped peanuts.