Salted Caramel Apple Pie
What can I say that hasn’t been already said about apple pie? Probably nothing new that is for sure. It’s such a classic dessert in general, not just in the fall and a beloved dessert of mine too. What smells better than apple pie baking? The aroma of the apples being cooked in warm spices, their natural juices and sugars breaking down making them even sweeter in a pie and the buttery dough baking. The smell of any pie baking is delicious but I’m focusing on apple as its the most iconic for fall, so I had to include a classic apple pie in all the apple related recipes on the blog.
How is salted caramel apple pie classic? Well I think its as classic as a regular apple pie. One of the most popular apple pie combos that you can can find online is caramel or salted caramel and rightly so, the two were made for each other. If you’re not a fan of caramel with your apple pie, (I forgive you) no problem, just omit the caramel from the recipe and the added salt and ta-da you have yourself a very very classic apple pie.
The salted caramel version adds a dimension of sweetness and flavour with that edge of saltiness that is just so good with this apple pie. Speaking of adding more flavours to your apple pie - have you ever lived on the edge and mixed your variety of apples in your apple pie? Go ahead and try it, I dare you. No seriously, the mix of apple varieties make for a more complex flavour in the pie. They also breakdown differently too so texturally its much more interesting. While some hold their shape others breakdown further and become syrupy and soft. The only one I wouldn’t use in my pies is red delicious apple as they do not cook too well. I like Cortland and Granny Smith, along with Honey Crisp and Mutsu.
As you noticed no fancy lattice work in this one. I decided to use some of my cutouts and this truly was the easiest pie topping i have ever made. In hindsight, i really should have made the cutouts a little closer to each other and made a few extra cuts, but i will definitely remember that the next time I use them. I cant wait to make another one soon. I still have some pie making in me before the fall is over.
The dough recipe is a classic one that I use all the time but the filling is from Four & Twenty Blackbirds. Their pies are epic and I had to go with their recipe for this one as it’s such an easy one and it turns our great all the time. The key to making sure you get the flakiest pie is to keep the dough well chilled before baking, the rest is simple and will yield a very yummy apple pie. The hardest thing to do after that is wait until it’s completely cool (did not do that with this pie by the way as you can see it was extra leaky cause I was impatient and the filling hadn’t set yet and how could you blame me for it - its smelled sooooooo good) before you cut into it and the hardest decision after that will be what to have it with - ice cream or whipped cream or drizzled with extra caramel sauce or all three.
For the pie crust (makes 2 pie crust – halve recipe for single pie crust)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 stick unsalted very cold butter
- 3/4 cup ice water, divided
For the Filling
- 1 cup of caramel sauce, store bought or homemade (recipe below)
- 2 lemons
- 6 to 7 baking apples (about 2½ lbs), peeled cored and sliced into thin slices
- 2 to 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar + 2 tbsp + 1 extra tbsp divided, for dusting the crust before filling
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- One grind fresh black pepper (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon salt, sea slat or kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour + 1 extra tbsp for dusting the crust before filling
- ¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt
For the Egg Wash & Topping
- 1 egg
- Coarse Sugar/ Turbinado sugar for sprinkling on top
- For the Pie Dough
- Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Alternatively if making crust by hand, whisk the flour and salt together in a mixing bowl.
- Remove the butter from the fridge and cut it into several small cubes.Scatter the cubes of butter over the surface of the flour in the food processor and pulse 15 to 25 times until the mixture resembles cornmeal with pieces of butter no larger than a pea. Alternatively, cut the butter into the flour using a pastry cutter a fork, or your fingertips but do not overwork.
- Sprinkle half the ice water over the butter-flour mixture. Pulse 4 to 5 times to combine. Check to see if the dough is holding together by squeezing a bit of it in your hand — if it holds together, it’s ready; if it breaks apart easily, add a little more water one tbsp at a time. The final dough should not come together in as a typical dough, but you should see no more powdery flour and the dough should just be starting to clump together in large crumbs. Alternatively, sprinkle the water over the flour and use two forks to toss the flour to combine.Test the dough and add more water as described above, handling the dough as little as possible with your hands.
- Turn the pie dough out onto a clean work surface. Use your hands to very quickly gather and press the shaggy dough into a thick disk. Cut in half to make two even pieces. Wrap each tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 4 days (or freeze for up to 3 months; defrost in the fridge overnight before using).
- When ready to use remove one of the dough disks from fridge, sprinkle your clean working surface and rolling pin with flour. Unwrap the dough and lay it on top of the flour.Working from the middle of the dough outwards, roll the dough into a circle approx 12 inches in diameter (a few inches larger than your pie pan). Be careful to work the dough as little as possible. If the dough cracks when you first start rolling, let it stand for one minute to warm slightly before rolling again. Use more flour if the dough starts to stick. Use a pastry scraper to lift the pastry from the work surface and make sure it’s not sticking. Lay your rolling pin on one edge of the pie crust and begin gently rolling the pie crust over the rolling pin with the help of dough scraper if needed. When it’s all rolled up, move it to the 9 inch pie pan and gently unroll it into the pie plate and shape or ease it into the plate.
- Trim the pie dough edges and crimp them using your finger or a fork. Then place the dough in the fridge while you roll out the second dough and make the cut outs.
For The Filling
- Juice the lemons into a large mixing bowl, removing any seeds. Dredge the apple slices in the lemon juice. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar and toss them gently. Set aside to soften slightly and release some of the juices, 20 to 30 minutes.
- In a small bowl, sprinkle the Angostura bitters over ⅓ cup of sugar. Add the cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, black pepper, salt, and 2 tbsp of flour, and mix well.
- Strain lemony liquid off apples and then add the sugar and-spice mixture to them and toss them gently until fully coated.
- Preheat oven to 400°F and position the oven racks in the bottom and center positions, place a rimmed baking sheet on the bottom rack
- Remove your chilled crust in pie pan from fridge and dust the bottom of it with remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and flour
- Tightly layer half the apples and then drizzle with half of the caramel sauce.Then tightly layer the rest of the apples, mounding the apples slightly higher in the center. Pour remaining caramel sauce evenly over the apples.Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of the flaky sea salt.
- Then top the pie with the dough with the cutouts already made or if you are using a lattice assemble it on top of the pie and crimp the edges as desired. Chill the pie in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes to set the pastry.
- Brush the pastry with the egg wash and sprinkle with the desired amount of coarse sugar.
- Place the pie on the rimmed baking sheet on the lowest rack of the oven. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry is set and beginning to brown.
- LOWER OVEN TEMPERATURE to 375°F, move the pie to the center oven rack, and continue to bake until the pastry is a deep golden brown and the juices are bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes longer.Test the apples for doneness with a skewer or sharp knife; they should be tender and should offer just the slightest resistance.
- Once done allow to cool completely on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The pie will keep refrigerated for 3 days or at room temperature for 2 days.
- When using cutouts make sure that you dust them (dip them in a small bowl of flour) generously with flour after each cut to get nice and clean cuts and releases when using cooking cutters or pie crust cutters. If yo are covering the pie with the second pie crust instead of cutouts or creating a lattice, make sure to use a sharp pairing knife to cut 3-4 slits or vents into the crust in the middle of the pie
(makes 2 cups)
- 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
- 50 g unslated butter
- 1½ cups white sugar
- ½ cup water
- Place the cream and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil.
- Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Place the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.
- Place a sugar thermometer in the pan increase the heat to high. Bring to the boil and cook for 10–12 minutes, without stirring, or until the temperature reaches 150°C and the mixture is a deep caramel colour.
- Remove from the heat and working quickly, add the salt and cream and butter mixture and whisk to combine.
- Return to the heat and cook for a further 2 minutes or until thickened slightly.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before serving. Makes 2 cups.
Filling adapted from Four & Twenty Blackbirds and my go to caramel sauce is from Donna Hay