Salted Caramel Apple Pie
November 23, 2016 § Leave a comment
I think one of my favorite types of desserts to bake are pies. They are cozy, comforting, and unpretentious. I love baking them from scratch, starting with the buttery, flaky crust to the delicious sweet or savory filling. Even though it takes a bit longer to make this way, there is something special and satisfying about making the entire thing with your own two hands and lots of love.
I absolutely adore The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book because it focuses on local, seasonal ingredients and literally every recipe I make from it turns out amazing. I still have yet to visit the storefront in Brooklyn so until then, I will just have to continue baking my way through the pie book. The pie crust recipe is my all-time favorite, and it reminds me of the crust from the homemade pies my family gets from a local farm stand – incredibly flaky and really flavorful, thanks to the cold butter and apple cider vinegar.
This Salted Caramel Apple Pie is one of the best apple pies I’ve ever had. In addition to the crust, I love that the apples are thinly sliced so the apple flavor is distributed evenly throughout the pie. The filling is surprisingly not too sweet, even though you pour a generous amount of salted caramel over the apples. There is just the right amount of spices to give the pie some warmth and remind you that ’tis the holiday season.
This pie does take some planning ahead but trust me, it is definitely well worth it! The pie dough and caramel can be made in advance too to help things run smoothly and stress-free.
Salted Caramel Apple Pie
Yield: One 9-inch pie
Adapted from The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book
Pie Dough (for double-crust pie)
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/2 lb (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup cold water
- 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup ice
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 lb (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 lemons
- 2 1/2 lbs (6 to 7) mix of Granny Smith and Golden Delicious apples (or other tart firmer apple and sweet softer apple)
- 1/3 cup raw sugar, plus more for topping
- 2 to 3 dashes Angostura bitters*
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- One grind fresh black pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp flaky sea salt (such as Maldon), plus more for finishing
- Egg wash (1 large egg + 1 tsp water + pinch of salt whisked together)
* I didn’t have this on hand so I didn’t add it and the pie still turned out great.
In a large bowl or food processor, whisk together flour, salt, and sugar. Add chilled cubes of butter and coat with the dry ingredients. Quickly work in the butter using a pastry blender or your fingers (or pulse in a food processor) so that the butter is in pea-sized pieces. These chunks of butter will help yield a light, flaky crust so be careful not to overblend.
Combine water, apple cider vinegar, and ice in a measuring cup. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of ice water mixture over dry ingredients and mix it in with a pastry blender or wooden spoon. Add more of the ice water mixture, 1 to 2 tbsp at a time, and blend it in until the dough just comes together in a ball.
Divide dough in half and pat each half into a flat disc. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight. Dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.
Remove dough from refrigerator and let rest still wrapped in plastic wrap for 5-10 minutes to soften the dough slightly to prevent cracks. Lightly flour a clean work surface, pie dough, and rolling pin. Starting from the center of the dough disc, roll one portion of the dough so that it is 11 to 12 inches (2 to 3 inches larger than the baking pan) and about 1/8-inch thick. Carefully wrap the dough around the rolling pin and transfer to a deep 9″ pie dish. Roll out the second piece of dough in the same way. If desired, cut out a shape from the middle or cut out lattice strips.
Refrigerate pie dish and top crust while preparing the rest of the pie.
In medium saucepan, whisk together 1 cup granulated sugar and water and heat over medium-low heat until sugar is just dissolved. Add butter and bring to slow boil. Cook over medium heat until mixture turns a deep golden brown, almost copper. Remove from the heat and immediately but slowly add the heavy cream – be careful not to burn yourself from the steam since the mixture will bubble rapidly. Whisk mixture until smooth and set aside to cool while you prepare apple filling.
There will be leftover caramel sauce after making this pie. You can keep it refrigerated for up to 3 weeks and rewarm it to enjoy with sliced apples or ice cream sundaes.
Juice the lemons into a large bowl. Core, peel, and thinly slice the apples with a mandoline or sharp knife. Place apple slices in lemon juice and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Toss gently and let rest to soften slightly and release juices, 20 to 30 minutes.
In small bowl, sprinkle Angostura bitters (if using) over raw sugar. Add cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, black pepper, salt, and flour; whisk to combine well. Add prepared apples, leaving behind excess liquid. Gently toss apples to evenly distribute the spice mix.
Mix an equal amount of flour and raw sugar in the prepared pie shell just to lightly cover the bottom; this will help prevent a soggy crust. Tightly pack the apples into the prepared shell, mounding the apples slightly higher in the center. Pour 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of caramel sauce evenly over the apples. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of flaky sea salt. Place the top crust or lattice strips over the filling and crimp the edges as desired.
Chill pie in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to set the pastry. Meanwhile, position oven racks in the bottom and center positions, placing a baking sheet on the bottom rack. Preheat oven to 400°F.
Brush top crust with egg wash, making sure not to drag caramel onto the pastry (it will burn), and sprinkle raw sugar and flaky sea salt on top. Place pie on baking sheet on the bottom oven rack, and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until crust is set and starting to brown.
Lower oven temperature to 375°F and move the pie to the center rack. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until crust is a deep golden brown and juices are bubbling. If you test the apples with a sharp knife, apples should be tender.
Let pie cool completely on a wire rack, 2 to 3 hours. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Pie can be stored at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for 3 days.