Note: I’m a bit late in the game, but I still wanted to salvage my commitment to posting a revised version of this Caramel Apple Pie every year. I wrote this post a few weeks ago and haven’t had the time to edit photos, compile, and upload everything until now. Enjoy, friends!
The apartment smells like pie and everything feels ok for five minutes. I have been unrelentingly stressed these last few months. So much so that I’d almost forgotten all about Thanksgiving and the impending doom that is December aka juggling personal engagements, Christmas shopping, and finishing up my hardest term yet. If you’ve been keeping up with F2B for a while, you might remember my yearly commitment to making this Caramel Apple Pie for Thanksgiving. Check out year 01 and year 02 here. This year is round 3, a year where I made some big changes in the recipe and for once didn’t make any mistakes and consequently have to run back to the grocery store for more apples. Things really fell into place this go around, something I really needed in the midst of losing my mind over other projects, and even though I know I said it last year, I have to say again that this is now my favorite version of this pie!
PIE NOTES (Revised Thanksgiving 2016)
1. This year, I swapped out Food52’s pie crust for Michelle’s lard and butter crust. I’ve been following her #humhipieamonth project and have been so eager to amp up my pie game since. I’m super sold. The pie crust came together in no time at all and was quite hassle free while rolling out and creating the braided lattice and cutting out the leaf shapes. Thanks, Michelle!
2. Rest your pie dough overnight. I’ve always avoided this step in the past. I’m impatient. But now I think it might just be a deal breaker. The most stressful part for me with pie-making is rolling out the dough, making sure it’s not too thin or thick and is large enough to cover the bottom and top of the pie evenly. By resting the dough overnight, this allows the gluten to relax and therefore makes it much easier to roll out.
3. Less caramel. The original recipe makes a lot of caramel, most of which I never end up using because only about 1/3 of it even makes it into the pie. By the time dessert rolls around, most people don’t need a giant drizzle of caramel in addition to the caramel already in the pie. This year, I halved the caramel portion of the recipe. I poured most of it into the pie and made the last remaining 1/2 cup into little salted caramels. Yeah, I still had way more than I needed.
4. If all else fails, make that pie pretty! I strayed from my basic b pie decorating ways and attempted an uneven lattice with braids and many many little autumn leaves. I had so much fun with this part, and though some of the leaves which I set too close to the edge of the pie pan drooped off a little, I’m just a little in love with how it turned out.
Wednesday afternoon, I left early from school and after a very interesting Lyft ride with an aspiring rapper (who I was told makes beats for Drake and Chris Brown and recently turned down an offer from Def Jam), then got to work. The minute I pulled back my hair into a *no nonsense kinda* high pony and secured my apron around my waist, I left all the stresses and worries of the day and for the next few hours thought about nothing but pie. I measured and I whisked. I peeled and cored apples and fell in love all over again, as I do every year, with the smell of sugar and cinnamon and nutmeg and lemon together, neurons firing as I watched the caramel pour out in thick ribbons of warm toasty goodness. Though stressful in itself at times, baking, writing, photography – all of this – is my favorite respite from the very technical and brain liquifying work I do outside of this space.
Caramel Apple Pie v. 03
Recipe makes one 9-inch double crust pie. Crust adapted from Hummingbird High.
for the pie crust
1 cup (8 ounces) ice
1 cup (8 ounces) cold water
1/4 cup (2 fl. ounces) apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups (12.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick // 4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cold lard, cut into ½-inch pieces
1. In a large measuring cup, combine the ice, cold water, and apple cider vinegar. Whisk and keep in the fridge until ready to use.
2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the cold butter and lard cubes. Use a pastry cutter to work the fat into the flour until only pea-sized bits remain.
3. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the ice water mixture over the dough. Continue to use the pastry cutter to incorporate the liquid into the dough. Add more ice water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough begins to come together. Pro-tip: to test, even if the dough looks dry, squeeze a bit together in your hand. If the dough holds its shape and does not crumble, you’ve added enough water.
4. Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead slightly into a disk. Cut each in half, portion into two separate discs and wrap in plastic. Let the dough rest in the fridge for at least an hour, ideally overnight is best.
for the filling
8 Golden Delicious apples
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
5. Peel and core the apples. Cut them into even slices and transfer to a large bowl. Add the demerara sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lemon juice. Toss to coast evenly.
6. Transfer the apple mixture to a large saucepan. Cook on medium heat with the lid on until the apples are tender but not mushy or cooked all the way through. Make sure to stir every few minutes.
7. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and cold water together. Once the apples are done, transfer them back to a large bowl and let them cool slightly before adding the cornstarch mixture. Set aside.
for the caramel
3/4 cups granulated white sugar
2 1/2 tbsp light corn syrup
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
8. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, butter, and salt. Heat on medium-high. Stir together for the first few minutes, then do not touch the mixture until it has reached a golden brown color. Remove the caramel from the heat and whisk in the heavy cream until incorporated. Set aside to cool.
egg wash = 1 egg yolk + splash of milk
leaf shaped cookie cutters
9. Preheat oven to 425°F. Remove one of the dough discs from the fridge. Roll out the dough large enough to hang over the edges of your pie pan. Transfer to the pie pan and press around the edges to secure the dough into the pan. Add the cooked apple mixture and generously drizzle the caramel over the top.
10. Roll out the second dough disc and cut into thick and thin strips. Make sure to leave some scraps for the leaves. I used the extra thin strips to create braids. Form your lattice and re-roll any extra bits of dough. Cut out leaf shapes and secure to the edges of the pie pan with a bit of egg wash. Use a pastry brush to cover the entire crust in egg wash.
11. Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to 350°F and bake for another 45-50 minutes until the crust has turned golden brown. If the crust is browning too fast, you can use a strip of foil to cover the edges of the pie while it finishes baking. When done, let the pie cool for at least an hour before serving.