I read somewhere that apple pie is the most popular pie during the holidays. This definitely isn’t true for my family, but who am I to knock apple pie? I mean, it’s got apples, which we all know I love. On top of that, it’s apples baked with spices and enveloped in a flaky, buttery crust. It really can’t get much better than that, right?
Wrong. So, so wrong.
Because this apple pie has salted caramel. It’s baked in the pie and drizzled on top of it. And it. is. heavenly.
Like I always do, I used my perfect pie crust recipe. I get compliments on it every time I make it and I’ve gotten to the point where I know how it should feel. I can tell if it needs a bit more flour or water or if it’s just right simply by listening to the way the food processor sounds as I’m making the dough. It makes me feel like real, honest-to-goodness grown up when I can bake like that. Silly, I know, but it’s true.
Then my perfect pie crust gets piled high (you really do need a deep dish pie plate here) with sweet, tart apples mixed with spices, partially cooked, and mixed together with a big scoop of salted caramel. Once all of that is topped with another buttery crust and sprinkled with sugar it goes into the oven for an
eternity hour. What comes out looks beautiful, smells divine, and totally and completely elevates the apple pie game.
If ever an apple pie was worthy of a holiday table, this would be it.
Salted Caramel Apple Pie
adapted from Williams-Sonoma
1 recipe perfect pie crust
For the salted caramel:
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. water
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
For the filling:
4 lb. Granny Smith apples, peeled cored, and cut into 3/4-in. cubes
1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 TBSP cornstarch
1 TBSP all-purpose flour
1 TBSP tapioca
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water
2 tsp. turbinado sugar
flaked sea salt, such as Maldon, to taste
1. To make the salted caramel, combine the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a heavy 4-quart pot or saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the mixture bubbles vigorously and turns a golden amber color, 10-12 minutes. Stir the sugar with a wodden spoon during the first 2-3 minutes of cooking. Do not stir after this point. Instead, swirl the pan to make sure the mixture cooks evenly. Watch the caramel carefully. It will go from amber to burnt very quickly.
2. Remove the pan from the heat. Immediately and carefully add the cream. The mixture will bubble up and splatter, so wear oven mitts and use a long-handled wooden spoon. Stir until the sauce is smooth and blended. Stir in the salt, then let cool. Can be made up to two days in advance and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bring up to room temperature before using.
3. To prepare the apples, stir together with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until the apples are just tender, about 20 minutes. Uncover and let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Stir in the cornstarch, flour, tapioca, and salt.
4. While apples are cooling, place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 400° F. Roll out one of the pie crusts and fit into the bottom of the deep dish pie plate, trimming the edges to make a 1/2-in. overhang.
5. Stir 1/2 c. salted caramel into the apples, then pour entire mixture into the pie shell. Roll out top crust and fit over apples, trimming the edges and crimping, as desired. Brush the top crust with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
6. Place the pie dish on the preheated baking sheet and bake until the crust is golden brown and the apples are very tender, approximately 1 hour. Check pie after 30 minutes and cover the edges with foil if they are too dark. Let the pie cool on a wire rack at least 2 hours before serving.
7. To serve, reheat some of the remaining salted caramel in a small saucepan. Slice the pie into 8 pieces. Drizzle each piece with salted caramel and sprinkle with flaked sea salt.
Yield: 8 pieces