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This dark version of classic custard pie is wonderful with a cup of strong coffee; the caramel and coffee flavors marry well, and the coffee cuts the caramel's sweetness, too.
one single pie crust (Our Favorite Pie Crust Recipe), or your favorite recipe; OR 1 bag King Arthur Pecan Shortbread Mix
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) milk or cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup (4 1/2 ounces) caramel chips OR butterscotch chips
Crust: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Roll out the pie crust, and fit it into a 9-inch pie pan. Or prepare our pecan shortbread mix according to the package directions. Divide the dough in half, press the more generous half into a 9-inch pie pan (being sure to bring the dough up and over the edge of the pan), and prick the dough all over. Bake the shortbread crust for 15 to 18 minutes, or until it's lightly browned. Remove it from the oven and set it aside. (Bake the remaining shortbread dough into cookies or a pie shell, and reserve for another use.)
Filling: Mix the sugar and eggs together in a bowl till well-combined. In a small saucepan or microwave, heat the cream or milk with the salt, vanilla and caramel chips. Stir until the chips have melted. Pour a little of the cream mixture into the eggs and stir well. Add the remaining cream mixture, and stir to combine.
Pour the filling into the pie shell. Bake the pie in a preheated 350°F oven for 20 minutes, until the center looks set but still wobbles, and the custard's temperature reads 160°F on an instant read thermometer. Remove the pie from the oven; don't worry, the filling will thicken more as it cools. When cool, decorate with dollops of whipped cream.