Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

As you may know, baking is not really a talent that I like brag about. I love baking. I love eating baked goods.... but it is unfortunately not something that I always succeed at. However, on the occasion that my stars are perfectly aligned and I am oozing with good karma- I have been known to whip up a masterpiece. 

This is a pie to make anyone weak in the knees. Salty caramel and perfectly cooked apples baked in a crust that will make you swoon at the very sight of it. It is so pretty, and absolutely delicious!

salted caramel apple pie

Salted Caramel-
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup white granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon of flaky sea salt (I used Maldon)

2 nine-inch pie crusts (homemade or store-bought)
3 Gala Apples (You can use others too)
1 Granny Smith Apples
1 lemon
4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons white granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice

To make the pie crust:
Haha. Ya- go for it... make your own pie crust. Or be like me, buy rolled pie crust, and make your life wayyyy easier. Press one pie crust into a 9 inch pie dish. With the other crust, I actually cut out hearts with a cookie cutter for a fun spin on a lattice top. If you do decide to do the heart shapes (you should) cut them out and then place in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them. Once the pie is ready, place the hearts around the edge of the pie. If there are any holes or gaps in the apples, fill them with chopped up pieces of apple or else your hearts will sink into the holes while the pie is baking. 

To make the salted caramel:

In a medium to large pot, add the sugar and place it over medium heat. Do not stir. Cook the sugar until the bottom starts to turn a light golden brown, about 3 minutes. Stir the sugar, if needed, so all of it gets its turn hitting the bottom of the pan. Cook the sugar until it turns a medium brown, this process will happen fast so be sure not to leave. Once the caramel reaches a medium brown color take it off the heat and whisk it until smooth. You’ll notice that it will still turn a darker color and cook more as you whisk. At this point it should be a dark brown – if it’s not, place it back on the heat in 30 second increments, whisking the entire time, until it reaches that dark caramel color. Turn off the heat and whisk in the 5 tablespoons of butter (it will bubble up!). Keep whisking until the melted butter fully incorporates into the cooked sugar. Next, add the warm cream (it will bubble up!), whisking it in until it’s fully incorporated. You’ll notice that the texture is much thinner than it was earlier – not to worry it will thicken as it cools. Add the salt and whisk. Transfer it to a glass container and set aside.

My biggest tip for making caramel is to have all of your ingredients measured out and ready to pour in so that once you start cooking the caramel you won't have to turn your back to it or stop whisking. 

To make the apple filling:
Juice the lemons into a large mixing bowl. Core, peel, and thinly slice the whole apples. A mandolin works great for producing very thin slices. I used an apple corer and then sliced the apples to get the fun round shape. 

Dredge all the apple slices in the freshly squeezed lemon juice to prevent browning and to add flavor. Set the prepared apples aside.

To make the apple filling seasoning:
In a large measuring cup or small mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, cinnamonallspiceand nutmeg. Sprinkle this mixture over the apples in the mixing bowl. Use your hands to gently mix and coat the apple slices.

To assemble the pie:
Preheat the oven to 375 to 400 degrees F (depending on the hotness of your oven).

Gather your rolled pie crust, salted caramel, and apple mixture. Begin by layering 1/3 of the apples in the bottom of the crust so that there are minimal gaps. Pour 1/3 of the caramel over the apples. Add 1/3 of the apples and caramel for a second layer, and then add a third layer of apples, and then the caramel again. Save a small portion of the caramel to pour on top once the lattice is assembled.

Assemble the lattice crust and flute the edges of the crust. Pour the last bit of caramel on top. Brush the crust with the beaten egg and lightly sprinkle with raw sugar and sea salt.

Bake the pie on a baking sheet larger than the pie pan for 20 minutes (otherwise the caramel will bubble over and burn on the bottom of your oven). Reduce the oven temperature to 325 to 350 and bake for 25 to 35 minutes. You can test the apples for doneness with a long toothpick or small knife. The apples should be just soft.

When you take it out of the oven, the caramel may look thin – that’s ok. It will thicken after it cools. To cut attractive looking slices, allow the pie to cool (at room temperature) for 5-6 hours. Serve with freshly whipped cream and a drizzle of salted caramel.

Inspiration from Four and Twenty Blackbirds and A Cozy Kitchen

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