photograph by Matt Hulsman

Yield: 8 servings.

For the crust:
1 sleeve salted saltines
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 stick butter + ¼ stick, melted
(10 ounces total)
¼ cup light corn syrup

For the pie filling:
1½ cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 large egg yolks
4 tablespoons cornstarch
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons water
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped cream
2 (1.4-ounce) Heath candy bars, coarsely chopped

For the pie crust: Preheat oven to 350°. Break up crackers and place into a food processor. Add salt. Pulse 10 to 15 times. Add melted butter and corn syrup, and pulse 10 to 15 more times. The crumbly pieces should be the size of uncooked oatmeal.

Pour mixture into a 9-inch nonstick pie plate and spread evenly. Press the mixture firmly into the pan and up the sides. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes until golden brown. Let crust cool before adding pie filling.

For the pie filling: Whisk together the whole milk and heavy cream. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and cornstarch. Set aside.

In a medium, heavy saucepan, whisk together the brown sugar, water, and salt over medium heat. Allow mixture to cook and bubble until it turns a darker brown, about 5 to 6 minutes. Do not stir! If using a candy thermometer, mixture should be 240°.

Carefully whisk in the milk mixture. Cook over medium heat until boiling. Once boiling, remove ½ cup of the mixture into a bowl and slowly whisk in the egg yolks. Do not let eggs scramble. Slowly add the egg mixture to the pot while whisking.

Turn the heat down to low. The pudding will immediately begin to bubble and thicken. Whisk and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the butter until completely smooth, then add the vanilla.

Cool for 5 minutes, then pour into pie shell. Cover tightly with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding (to prevent a skin from forming) and refrigerate overnight or until chilled and thickened.

Top with whipped cream and chopped Heath bars.

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Lynn Wells is a personal chef with more than 20 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry and a degree in Nutrition Management from UNCG.