My dad and I would often take road trips to Virginia to spend Thanksgivings with my Aunt Pat's family. One year when I was 10 years old and groggily exhausted from the long drive, I mistakenly botched the mashed potatoes that I was tasked to make for the meal. I added 1/2 cup of salt instead of the ½ tsp that the recipe called for. This pie celebrates my love for salt and the sweet way everyone still teases me about that ill-fated dish.
Technique tip: Place the pie shell on a cookie sheet. Place that cookie sheet on the extended oven rack prior to pouring the mixture in the shell. This helps to ensure that the mixture will not shift or spill, which can often happen when transferring from a kitchen countertop to the oven.
For the filling:1.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.2.
In a large mixing bowl (or a standing mixer bowl), combine flour, sugar, cornmeal, cocoa powder and salt. Slowly add in the eggs and buttermilk.3.
Once the mixture is well incorporated, add the butter and vanilla extract and continue to mix until combined. Pour the mixture into the pie shell lined with an all-butter crust. Place in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes.4.
The edges around the pie crust should be dry and solid. The center may still "jiggle" a bit, but it's perfectly fine. Remove the pie out of the oven and allow it to cool for 60-90 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the salted caramel sauce.
For the salted caramel sauce:
In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add heavy cream, light brown sugar and salt. Stir until the ingredients have combined.
Turn on the stovetop to medium high heat and bring the mixture to a boil (about 5-7 minutes.) While the mixture is reaching its boiling temperatures, frequently stir the mixture to avoid the bottom from burning. Once the mixture has thickened, remove the saucepan from the heat and add vanilla extract.
Once the pie has cooled, add the salted caramel sauce and garnish the pie with sea salt flakes.