North Carolina State Fair

Pie winner combines fall flavors

Posted October 20, 2012 8:48 a.m. EDT
Updated October 20, 2012 8:49 a.m. EDT

Cameron Jorgenson of Fuquay Varina took home the blue ribbon at the 2012 North Carolina State Fair for his Chai Latte Pie, a twist on traditional fall flavors with the added richness of a caramel-creamy whipped topping.

Here's the recipe:
2 Pillsbury Pet-Ritz Deep Dish Frozen Pie Crusts

Chai Blondie Layer:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 bags Organic Chai
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch ground nutmeg

Caramel Layer:
1 bag caramels, unwrapped
1/3 cup half-and-half

Vanilla Cream Layer:
2 (4.6 ounce) boxes vanilla pudding (cook & serve)
6 cups half-and-half

Whipped Cream Topping:
2 pints heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons instant white chocolate pudding
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup powdered sugar

Garnish: Pumpkin pie spice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Allow Pillsbury Pet-Ritz frozen pie crusts to thaw for 10 to 20 minutes. Prick bottom and sides thoroughly with fork.

For Chai Blondie Layer:
2. Melt butter over low heat. Transfer to a bowl. Using an electric mixer or whisk, beat in the brown sugar. Once smooth, beat in the egg and vanilla. Add salt and gently fold in the flour.
3. Grind the contents of two bags of chai tea in either a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder until powdered. Add the finely ground tea and the remaining spices to the batter and mix thoroughly.
4. Pour half of the batter into each pie crust. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the center of the blondies are set. (Watch the exposed crust closely as the blondies bake; shield them with foil to prevent over-baking if necessary.) Transfer pies to wire rack to cool.

For Caramel Layer:
5. In a medium heavy saucepan, combine the unwrapped caramels with the half-and-half. Cook on low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is well blended. Divide between the two pies, covering the blondies with a generous layer of caramel; chill in refrigerator.

For Vanilla Cream Layer:
6. In a large saucepan, stir the pudding mix into the half-and-half. Bring to full boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Allow to cool thoroughly. Cover pudding with saran wrap to prevent the formation of a “skin.”
7. Using a spoon, fill the remainder of each pie shell with the vanilla pudding, taking care to distribute the pudding evenly, without displacing the caramel. Cover with saran wrap.

For Whipped Cream Topping:
8. Place remaining ingredients (whipping cream, instant pudding mix, vanilla extract and powdered sugar) in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, begin mixing slowly to incorporate the ingredients, increase to high speed until soft peaks form, scraping the sides of the bowl often.
9. Once the pudding layer has cooled completely, remove the saran wrap and top the pies with a generous layer of whipped cream. Dust with pumpkin pie spice.

Yields: 2 pies.