The centerpiece of our family Christmas dinner this year was this rather magnificent ham. It was donated by my sister-in-law whose work had handed out hams as presents. Apparently everyone had a choice between receiving a ham or a selection of macarons. The idea that anyone would have conceivably picked macarons over ham had me laughing out loud. (Something along the lines of this, if you must know.)
Anyway, it’s rather fortunate that my brother married a truly lovely and wise lady, otherwise a few days ago you would have found me trying to balance a party hat on my head while attempting to carve macarons. Not a pretty sight.
After much feasting, our post Christmas meals have featured more sensible portions of rehashed leftovers. Sandwiches, kimchi ham fried rice and turkey curry. I’m already dreaming of the day when I’m eating notHam and notTurkey for dinner.
There were no dessert leftovers, so pie was made to keep us company.
Chocolate salted caramel pretzel pies :
(enough for 2 x 8 1/2-inch pies)
For the crust :
150g mini pretzels
100g melted butter
In a food processor, blitz the pretzels to a powder. Add the melted butter and pulse until well combined. Divide the mixture between two pie tins (I used foil pie tins). Press the mixture down and up the sides of the tin. It will seem a bit loose but persevere. The end result will be worth it. Chill the crust for 30 minutes then bake in a preheated 175′C oven for 12 minutes. Once baked, allow to cool down, then chill the pie crusts while you make the caramel filling.
For the salted caramel filling :
100g demerara sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
good pinch of sea salt
100g pouring cream
(optional : 100g spiced peanuts, or roasted salted peanuts)
In a medium sized pot, combine the demerara sugar and corn syrup. Allow the sugar and corn syrup mixture to caramelise, stirring occasionally with a heatproof spatula. When it has reached a deep golden brown colour, remove the pot from the heat, add the salt and butter, followed by the cream, being careful not to scald yourself. Whisk until combined. Reheat the mixture gently over a low flame if the caramel hasn’t completely dissolved. Pour the finished caramel into a heatproof bowl to allow to cool down a little, before dividing it between the two pie crusts. At this point you can also sprinkle a handful of spiced peanuts over the caramel. Chill the pies while you make the chocolate filling.
For the chocolate filling :
225g 58% dark chocolate buttons
60g water (or beer)
Melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Remove from the heat and set aside. Bring the water or beer to just below boiling point. Pour it over the chocolate-butter mixture. Let stand for 1 minute, then whisk to emulsify the chocolate. Divide the chocolate mixture between the two pies, then chill until just set. The pies are best served at room temperature but can also be served straight from the fridge. They take on a different, almost chewy texture when eaten chilled.