We have an espalier apple tree in our backyard that appears to have been planted at the same time our house was built, so it should be somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 years old. This is the first year in the 4 that we have lived here that our apples haven’t been eaten to death by fungus. We finally got a lovely organic spray that worked well enough that we could enjoy the beautiful apples. Turns out they are amazing- very tart (which I love) and which means they are ideal for baking. Pete and the girls harvested bags and bags of them last week, and then it was what to do with them…
When I kicked off the Holiday season 10 days ago, I asked everyone what their favorite pie is. Answer after answer came back to apple pie. Lucky me. Something wonderful to do with all those bags of apples!
Apple pie is a tricky thing in my opinion. A bad apple pie is a serious bummer, bordering on disgrace, (is that too dramatic?) I loathe a big chunk of under cooked apple, and can’t stand a cornstarchy, goopy filling.
But a wonderful apple pie, with flaky crust and tender, spiced apple is heavenly.
Apple pie like the mother load of comforting desserts. But I just have such a hard time leaving good enough alone.
I had to take a beautiful apple pie and mess with it. And thank goodness I did.
By pouring a silky beautiful caramel sauce over super thinly sliced apples I created a lovely caramel apple pie that is sweet, lightly spiced and incredibly soft and tender.
This would make such a beautiful Thanksgiving pie, or a special treat for any weeknight dessert.
Caramel Apple Pie, serves 10
1 recipe Best Pie Crust
12 cups apples, peeled and THINLY sliced
½ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbs butter
1 cup vanilla caramel sauce
Vanilla Caramel Sauce, makes 2 cups
1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla paste
For the Caramel
1) In a medium saucepan, cook the sugar over medium-low heat.
2) After about 4-5 minutes the edges will have started to turn amber and bubble.
3) Add the cream. (it will foam up and bubble and spit- be careful! and keep stirring.) Lower the heat to low and continue to cook for about another 10 minutes until the caramel is smooth (no sugar chunks) and all amber colored. **If it seizes up just continuously whisk until the sugar melts back in to the hot cream.
4) Increase the heat to medium and stir and cook until the caramel is totally smooth, another 4-5 minutes.
5) Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla paste.
6) Transfer the caramel sauce to a jar and refrigerate.
*Note: the sauce may seem pretty runny initially, but it will thicken up as it sits in the fridge.
7) In a large bowl, combine the apple slices, sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter. Toss to coat.
8) Pile the apples in the prepared bottom piecrust. They will be Really high!
9) Pour the caramel sauce over the top of the apple slices.
11) If there are any bits of dough left, be sure to patch them over any tears.
12) With a forks tongs, poke some steam holes in the top of the pie.
13) Place the whole pie on a sheet pan (it will leak apple and caramel juices), and loosely cover the entire top of the pie with a sheet of foil, (or the crust will brown too much)
14) Bake at 400 degrees for an hour.
15) Let cool before serving.