This recipe makes a lovely pie filled cinnamon apples baked in caramel sauce. This pie also has a side effect of turning you into the most amazing wife/boyfriend/spouse/son/Homo sapiens etc. (trying, so apologies if I left someone out) because your house will smell like a cute cottage bakery.
There's extra caramel for drizzling atop pie slices and accompanying ice cream, if you so desire.
Apple pie is an important recipe to have for any baker, so we're going to walk through this together to get it right.
In general, fruit pies work if you succeed at one thing: cook the fruit filling (soften the fruit and thicken the juices) in the exact time it takes to bake the crust.
In other words:
Cook the inside and the outside of the pie at the same rate.
It's easy to say, a little harder to do.
But I've messed around with fruit pies enough to gather a bit of wisdom that I'd love to pass on.
I prefer Granny Smith to other apples for a few reasons.
First, flavor-wise they are more tart/sour, which you'd need to offset the sweet caramel. Second, the texture tends to hold up in that they don't turn to mush as readily and are not mealy when cooked. And my favorite reason? It's always available and you're not searching around the grocery store for some obscure seasonal apple variety.
For flavor and texture, use at least half Granny Smiths apples. If you prefer a sweeter pie, use other baking apples for your remaining half. (A 100% Granny Smith pie is my favorite, because it offers a bit of tartness to a very sweet dessert.)
This first rule goes hand in hand with the next rule, which is...
You're using (mostly) Granny-Smiths here, which have a great texture when cooked properly.
This can go wrong two ways:
To prevent these situations: par cook the apples slightly and concentrate the juices until syrupy. To start we first macerate the apples, or draw water out of the fruit by adding sugar and letting it sit in a bowl for almost an hour. Then cook it down in a pan until apples are just starting to cook on the outside but are still pretty raw on the inside and the juices are bubbling and syrupy.
Another secret... allow the filling to cool COMPLETELY. Eating a pie resulting from putting hot precooked filling into a raw, cold pie dough should be a form of punishment. (It will give you the soggiest crust ever.)
Toss the sliced apples in sugar-cinnamon-nutmeg for about an hour. If I'm doing this in one day, I usually do this step first, and let it hang out on the countertop while I make and rest the dough. If you're super prepared, do this step the day before and keep it in the fridge. (If making the day-of, cool filling completely before adding to pie.)
This rule is straight from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Pie and Pastry Bible playbook. Freezing the pie allows the filling to cook at much slower rate than the exterior of the pie. This method allows you to cook the pie at a high temperature and create a crispy, flaky bottom crust before the interior juices could potentially soak the crust and cause a soggy bottom.
My freezing pro-tip:
The oven needs to preheat for at least 30 minutes at 425°F. Pop your assembled pie into the coldest part of your freezer while your oven preheats and it should be cold enough to help with preventing a soggy bottom.
Want to watch how I put together the pie? I put together a little tutorial down below:
1 - FOR THE PIE DOUGH:. Place your cut butter in the freezer while you measure/prep your other ingredients.
2. Add the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder to the processor. Pulse about 10 times to combine.
3. Add the cold butter to the flour mixture and pulse about 8-10 times. Lift the lid, and use a fork (or CAREFULLY with your fingers) to sift the mixture. It should look and feel like very coarse breadcrumbs. There should be large butter pieces remaining about the size of large peas.
4. Pour the flour and butter mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add the vinegar to the smaller amount of water in a small bowl and pour onto dough. Use a spatula to press and mix the water into the dough, making sure there are no dried bits of flour on the bottom of the bowl. Pick up some dough with your fingers. Press it together. Does it stick together easily? If not, add more water, a half teaspoon at a time, until you can form the dough into a large ball.
5. Pour the dough out onto plastic wrap, form it into a disc. Cover tightly and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. For best results, let it rest overnight.
1 - FOR THE APPLE FILLING. Peel and core your apples. Cut into half inch slices and place in large mixing bowl.
2. Add lemon juice, sugars, cinnamon, and nutmeg to apples and stir.
3. Allow the sugar to draw out the water from the apples, at least one hour at room temperature.
4. Pour the apples and juices into a pan. Cook over medium low heat until the apples have just started to soften but are still crispy in the centers. It should still be firm when you try to cut a slice with a fork, and will feel uncooked on the inside when you bite into it. Stir in the cornstarch and unsalted butter.
5. Set aside to cool completely before adding to the pie crust. (Adding it while hot or even warm will make the crust soft and impair its ability to get crispy during baking.) I like to cool my apples in the fridge. Also this can be done ahead of time and used whenever you want to make apple pie!
1 - FOR THE CARAMEL. In a heavy, deep saucepan, combine sugar and water until the sugar is moistened. Heat over medium-low, stir until sugar dissolves and mixture is bubbling, about 2-3 minutes.
2. Do not stir any further and instead swirl the saucepan occasionally to evenly heat.
3. Boil until the sugar mixture is a deep amber color, about another 5 minutes, depending on your stove. Remove from heat.
4. The next step entails adding the heavy cream into the sugar mixture in the saucepan, which will cause it to bubble up and potentially spatter. I like to move my saucepan to the back burners, if possible, and wear my long oven mitts for safety.
5. Slowly and carefully pour the heavy cream into the sugar mixture. Allow the bubbling to subside, and add the butter and salt. Set aside to cool completely at room temperature.
1 - ASSEMBLE AND BAKE. Place a rack in the lowest position in your oven and preheat to 425.
2. Pour 3/4 cup of your cooled caramel sauce into your cooled apple filling and toss. Set aside.
3. Roll out your bottom dough, and line your pie pan. Place in fridge to keep it cool. Roll out your top dough. You can do a lattice, braids, a full cover, or cut some decorative shapes.
4. Take your lined pie pan out of the fridge and pour in the apples. Cover the pie with your top dough designs. Brush off any excess flour you see with a pastry brush.
5. Place in freezer until your oven has preheated at 425 for at least 20 minutes.
6. When you're ready to bake, remove from the freezer and brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar, if you like.
Place pan on a foil-lined baking sheet and cover the edges with foil.
7. Bake for 10 minutes at 425, then turn the oven down to 400. Bake for 50-70 minutes, until the top is a gorgeous toasty brown and you can see the juices bubbling inside the pie. Let it cool for at least 2 hours before cutting.
... the nerdy baker behind the videos and recipes here. I coded this site to not only share my recipes with you but also to build some helpful tools for bakers.