Aunt Ethel's Caramel Pie

Updated on September 14, 2017
jo miller profile image

Jo loves to cook ,has been cooking for family and friends for many years, and enjoys sharing these family recipes with others.

Old Fashioned Caramel Pie

Source

Aunt Ethel's Caramel Pie (Through Granny Duncan, Mary Lavonia Magdelene)

If you travel across Tennessee on Interstate 40, you'll come to an exit for Buffalo. It's just past the exit for Buck Snort. At the exit for Buck Snort, you can stop at a little cafe there and get a fried baloney sandwich. At the Buffalo exit at one time in the past, you could stop at a log cabin restaurant and order a slice of delicious caramel pie. It was made by Aunt Ethel, the cook at this little restaurant.

The log cabin restaurant is still there, but it has changed ownership—and Aunt Ethel is long gone. She passed away years ago and had been retired years before that.

I never knew Aunt Ethel. I know her daughter, and I know her nephew well since I am married to him. Even Aunt Ethel's daughter did not have her recipe for caramel pie, but before Aunt Ethel died, my husband took his mother for a visit to Aunt Ethel's house. When they called to tell her they were coming for a visit, they requested that she have one of her caramel pies for them to sample.

While they were enjoying the pie, John asked her for her recipe.

When they left Aunt Ethel's that day, John's mother told him that the recipe had actually been her mother's, Aunt Ethel's mother-in-law. She was a little peeved that Aunt Ethel had actually taken credit for the recipe since it had come from her mother. John's wrote on his recipe, "Aunt Ethel's caramel pie, through Granny Duncan(Mary Lavonia Magdelene)". But Aunt Ethel was the one who had made the pie famous. She had at least perfected the pie and cooked it many times over her tenure at the local restaurant and this is the recipe she gave him that day:

Ingredients

  • 1 baked pie crust
  • 1 1/2 sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 6 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions

  1. In medium sauce pan combine 3/4 cup of the sugar, salt, and all-purpose flour. Mix thoroughly.
  2. Add milk to pan and cook over medium heat until bubbly, stirring constantly. Continue to cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir small amount of mixture into slightly beaten eggs yolks.
  3. Return to heat and cook until bubbly, stirring constantly. Continue to cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Pour remaining 3/4 cup sugar into a cast iron skillet. Cook on medium high or high heat, stirring constantly with a knife until sugar caramelizes. Sugar will begin to melt slightly and turn brown. Watch this carefully to be sugar does not begin to burn.
  5. Pour caramelized sugar into thickened ingredients in saucepan. Stir until smooth and pour into baked pie crust.
  6. Beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, one teaspoon at a time, and beat until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla.
  7. Spread meringue over pie and cook in 350° oven for 10-15 minutes until brown

Rate This Recipe

3.7 stars from 3 ratings of Old Fashioned Caramel Pie
A
bucksnort, tennessee:
Bucksnort, TN 37140, USA

get directions

B
buffalo, tennessee:
Buffalo, Tennessee 37078, USA

get directions

Worth the Effort

This pie, I discovered, is a little tricky to make. I had to make several attempts before I was successful, but it is now one of our favorite desserts. Aunt Ethel's instructions were a little vague in places so I experimented to get the desired results. I have made a few clarifications in places to the original instructions but still giving full credit to Aunt Ethel (through Granny Duncan) for this recipe.

Questions & Answers

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      • Tim Truzy info4u profile image

        Tim Truzy 

        2 months ago from U.S.A.

        Excellent article, Jo. I'm looking forward to trying this recipe. We love pie of any kind around here. I know we will enjoy this caramel pie. I love the story that goes with the dessert.

        Love the names of the towns of Buck Snort and Buffalo, too.

        Thanks.

        Sincerely,

        Much respect and admiration,

        Tim

      • kenneth avery profile image

        Kenneth Avery 

        3 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

        Jo -- you are always welcome. I look forward to reading your hubs myself. And thank you for the recipe and for telling me that you will be reading my hubs. That made my day.

        God bless you.

      • jo miller profile imageAUTHOR

        Jo Miller 

        3 months ago from Tennessee

        Thanks, Kenneth. And thanks for the follow. Looking forward to reading some of your hubs.

      • kenneth avery profile image

        Kenneth Avery 

        3 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

        Jo -- what a tremendous hub and what a delicious recipe. Thank you for publishing such a wonderful dish. And since it is getting near to fall and the holidays coming, This recipe would be great at any event.

        Thanks again and I look forward to hearing from you.

        Sincerely,

        Kenneth

      • pstraubie48 profile image

        Patricia Scott 

        3 months ago from sunny Florida

        Shame on me if I have not read this before...interesting back stories makes it even more appealing. I usually take something to coffee hour every Sunday so I can see this in our near future. Pinning to 'pie pie pie' Angels once again on the way ps

      • Jackie Lynnley profile image

        Jackie Lynnley 

        7 months ago from The Beautiful South

        Looks and sounds delicious. I love caramel but started a diet today. It will go in my recipe box, though and I will have to try it when I am on break from starving!

        Thank you.

      • jo miller profile imageAUTHOR

        Jo Miller 

        8 months ago from Tennessee

        I hope you get to try this pie, Mary. It is quite good. Heating the sugar is a little tricky. Use a cast iron skillet if possible.

        Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

      • Blond Logic profile image

        Mary Wickison 

        8 months ago from Brazil

        This looks like my kind of pie. I have never heated sugar before like this before but am willing to give it a whirl.

        Like all custard pies, it is a great way to use up extra eggs.

        Thanks to you, Aunt Ethel and Granny Duncan.

      • jo miller profile imageAUTHOR

        Jo Miller 

        11 months ago from Tennessee

        Hope you get to Buck Snort and get to make this pie. It is delicious.

      • pstraubie48 profile image

        Patricia Scott 

        11 months ago from sunny Florida

        Well I could like to head on up to Buck Snort and walk down memory lane with folks who call it home now. So glad Aunt Ethel made the pie so memorable even it is a bit controversial. :D I will have to give this a try. Angels are on the way to you this evening. ps

      • pstraubie48 profile image

        Patricia Scott 

        11 months ago from sunny Florida

        Well I could like to head on up to Buck Snort and walk down memory lane with folks who call it home now. So glad Aunt Ethel made the pie so memorable even it is a bit controversial. :D I will have to give this a try. Angels are on the way to you this evening. ps

      • jwmurph profile image

        jwmurph 

        13 months ago from Tennessee

        This looks and sounds, in the recipe, like a great pie to me.

      • jo miller profile imageAUTHOR

        Jo Miller 

        13 months ago from Tennessee

        Hope you enjoy the pie, Dianna. Thanks for stopping by.

      • teaches12345 profile image

        Dianna Mendez 

        13 months ago

        This will definitely make its way onto our table soon! I enjoyed your story about Aunt Ethel's claim to this recipe. That last photo says it all for me!

      • profile image

        DDE 

        13 months ago

        The caramel cake look delicious. Will try this winter.

      • jo miller profile imageAUTHOR

        Jo Miller 

        13 months ago from Tennessee

        Thanks a bunch!!!

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        13 months ago from USA

        Jo, I'm back to Flip and Pin this! The cat's out of the bag on ole Aunt Ethel.

      • jo miller profile imageAUTHOR

        Jo Miller 

        13 months ago from Tennessee

        Hi, John. Thanks for stopping by. The pie is delicious.

      • jwmurph profile image

        jwmurph 

        13 months ago from Tennessee

        This really looks good in your pictures. I am sure that it is as good as it tastes. It does look a little tricky to me in preparing it.

      • jo miller profile imageAUTHOR

        Jo Miller 

        14 months ago from Tennessee

        Thanks, Larry. It is wonderful.

      • Larry Rankin profile image

        Larry Rankin 

        14 months ago from Oklahoma

        Looks wonderful.

      • jo miller profile imageAUTHOR

        Jo Miller 

        14 months ago from Tennessee

        Thanks, Nancy. It is a little difficult to make but well worth the effort.

      • profile image

        Nancyhinchliff 

        14 months ago

        Wow, This sounds delicious. Can't wait to try it. Thanks.

      • jo miller profile imageAUTHOR

        Jo Miller 

        14 months ago from Tennessee

        O'Charley's has caramel pie on their menu. It's nothing like Aunt Ethel's however. I had never had this type of caramel pie either until I found John and Aunt Ethel's recipe.

        Thanks for stopping by, Bill.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        14 months ago from Olympia, WA

        I'm one month shy of sixty-nine, and I've never heard of caramel pie. It sounds delicious, Jo! thanks for sharing

      • jo miller profile imageAUTHOR

        Jo Miller 

        14 months ago from Tennessee

        Thanks Flourish. This is one of our favorite pies. I have heard the story of the pie often from my husband and his family.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        14 months ago from USA

        Some of the best recipes have to be eeked out of proud cooks like you and your husband did, but she did everyone a great service in sharing the recipe with you. I love the backstory and can't wait to try this pie. Yum! 5 stars!

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