Ah, good ol’ Apple Pie. Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving to me without pie. You know those recipes that you keep coming back to? The ones that never fail you? Well, that’s this pie for me. Roy and I have been spending Thanksgiving with his family in California for the last few years. Last year, I brought a Caramel Apple Pie. Admittedly, it was my first time attempting a pie from scratch. It took all day and me, myself, and my entire kitchen were covered in flour. The pie ended up being a huge hit at the table, and is now one of my favorite recipes on the blog. After making it again a year later, and having a bit more pie-knowledge under my belt, I wanted to share with you guys a more updated version of my recipe! For the most part, the recipe is still the same. The ingredients and measurements are very slightly different but I rewrote the instructions to be easier to follow and changed a few bits here and there. Enjoy!
Notes and Recipe Improvements:
Size matters – The Honeycrisp apples I used this year were much smaller compared to the medium/large sized ones I used previously. They didn’t fill up my 9 inch pie dish as much as I had hoped, which is why I used an 8 inch dish for my second pie. Depending on the size of your pie dish, you’ll want to choose the quantity and size of your apples accordingly. Small/medium apples work well for an 8 inch pie, while medium/large apples are better for a 9 inch pie. But when in doubt, buy a few extra just in case!
Keep things moving – When rolling out the dough out, keep your surface well floured and the dough moving constantly just until it starts to get too thin to move around. This keeps your dough from sticking to your surface and creates an easy transfer to the pie dish. For rolling out an even circle as best I could, I used the Four & Twenty Blackbird’s technique. The video is a great reference and I highly recommend checking it out! Melissa shows her entire process for dealing with the dough, and I also used her technique for the lattice and crimping of the crust.
Stuff that I still stand by:
Vodka!!! – A too wet or too dry pie crust can be an big issue. This problem is slightly remedied in the pie crust recipe below by using vodka. The vodka acts like extra water by making the dough wetter and easier to work with but will later bake out of the crust, leaving it flakier.
Pre-cooking the Apples – Another potential pie problem is a soggy crust. This is easily avoidable by lightly cooking the apple filling before putting it in the oven. I cook the apple slices until just soft and tender. This helps the apples release a lot of their juices ahead of time and ensures they’ll be fully cooked when the pie is done. And if there’s too much juice, you can always pour a bit of it out beforehand.
Also, if the pies look a little different in certain photos, that’s because I made two of them! One is in a non-stick pan from Sur La Table and the other is in a foil pie tin. I was late for an appointment so had Roy handle the baking for the second pie (i.e. the foil one). He baked it longer than I did the first one, and I ended up liking his waaaaay better!! So, I’ve increased the baking time in the recipe a tad.
With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to forget the reasons for why we come together and celebrate. I have many things to be thankful for, and most of all, all you wonderful people I’ve met through this blog and all of you readers! I can’t imagine a better life without this. Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving and hoping it’s filled with fabulous food and a slice of pie (or two… or three? Hehe). Cheers to another year of food, friends, fun! And pieeeee forever!
Caramel Apple Pie #02
Recipe makes one double crust 9 inch pie. Check out last year’s pie here.
for the pie crust:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
12 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled
3 tbsp vodka
3 tbsp water
for the apple filling:
8 Honeycrisp apples (I used Golden Delicious last time, both would )
1/2 cup demerara sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp cold water
for the caramel:
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
6 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 egg for an egg wash
a sprinkling of demerara sugar
vanilla ice cream
1. In a food processor, pulse 1 1/2 cups of the all purpose flour, salt, and sugar together a few times. Add in the chilled cubes of butter and shortening. Pulse about 10 times until the mixture resembles cottage cheese curds. Add in the remaining 1 cup of flour and pulse another few times until the flour has been evenly coated.
2. Dump out the crumbs into a large bowl. In a small separate bowl, combine the vodka and water. Add a few tablespoons at a time of the vodka and water mixture to the crumbs. Use a spatula to press and fold the water into the dough until it begins to come together. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for one hour.
3. While the dough is resting, peel, core and slice all 8 apples. Try to make sure the apple slices are as even as possible. Transfer the apple slices to a large bowl. Add in the demerara sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice. Toss till the apples are evenly coated.
4. Pour the apples into a large saucepan. Cook the apples on medium heat with the lid on. Stir every few minutes until the apples are just soft and tender but not mushy or cooked all the way through. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and cold water together. Let the apples cool slightly before adding the cornstarch mixture to them. Set aside to cool.
5. In a saucepan, add the sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt. Cook on medium-high heat. Stir together for the first few minutes until evenly combined. Let the mixture cook on its own until it starts to turn a dark brown color. Do not stir. Once the caramel has been cooked long enough, slowly add in a little of the heavy cream, stirring constantly. Be careful, as the caramel will bubble and rise and is very hot. Continue to stir in the rest of the heavy cream. Set aside the caramel to cool slightly.
6. Set your oven to 425°F. Remove the pie dough from the fridge. Cut it in half and put one of the halves back in the fridge. Generously flour a work surface and roll out the first half of dough into a circle about 12 or 13 inches in diameter, depending on the size of your pie dish. A good way to make sure the dough is big enough is to set your pie dish on top and eyeball if there is enough room for it to sit in the dish and hang at least 1/2 an inch over the rim. I recommend watching this video! Pick up one side of the dough circle and fold it backwards onto your rolling pin. Slide the pie dish underneath and let the dough fall back over the rest of the dish. Light push down the dough on the sides so it fits snuggly in the dish. Transfer back to the fridge to rest.
7. Roll out the second half of dough into a smaller circle, about 11-12 inches. Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut the dough into strips for the lattice. I like to keep the strips 1 1/2 inches wide.
8. Remove the pie dish from the fridge. Add in the cooled apple filling. I used an 8 inch pie pan so didn’t use all of the liquid in the filling. Pour in about 1/2-3/4 of the caramel mixture on top. If the caramel has cooled and is too thick, microwave it for a minute or two to loosen it back up. Use the dough strips you cut out to create a lattice pattern on top of the pie. You can watch this video again for help with the lattice crust and the rest of the dough shaping. Leave about a 1/2 inch of overhang around the edges, then roll the overhang inwards and towards you till it rests on the lip of the pie pan. Pinch it together to hold it in place. Use your fingers and thumb to crimp the edge of the crust.
9. Whisk an egg in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash all around the crust. This will give it a glossy golden brown color after baking. This is optional, but you can sprinkle a bit of extra demerara sugar around the top for an added touch. Bake the pie for 15 minutes at 425°F. Remove the pie from the oven and turn the temperature down to 350°F. Bake the pie for another 45-50 minutes until the crust has turned golden brown. Make sure to rotate the pie halfway through baking for even coloring on the crust. Let the pie cool for at least a few hours before eating, preferably overnight. Serve with vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of the extra caramel that we saved!