I'll be honest. Apple pie has always soothed my soul. Until I had caramel apple pie. Now I find myself pining for caramel apple pie every year without fail, searching grocery stores and snatching up a piece at any bakery that has the decency to include this delicacy in their supply. So of course, I had to try my hand at making my own. My only obstacle was attempting the perfect homemade caramel sauce. I've never made caramel from scratch because I assumed it would be time-consuming, tricky and probably messy, but then I looked through some recipes and was annoyed at how simple it really was! So here she is, salted caramel apple pie.
First, make a fresh pie crust. You can use your own favorite recipe, a pre-made crust, or a single crust recipe I've previously posted.
Prepare the crust into a cast iron skillet or pie dish and set aside.
Now you'll need to make the salted caramel. Don't be intimidated if you have never made it before. The key to this simple sauce is just to watch it closely and let it do its thing!
1 1/2 C sugar
1/4 C water
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 C heavy cream
1 tsp sea salt
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, pour in granulated sugar, water, lemon juice and vanilla extract and stir together. Stir continuously for 2-3 minutes with a wooden spoon, and then let it bubble on its own. Swirl the pan around about every other minute after this to ensure even cooking. Let it bubble vigorously. It will eventually turn a nice amber color, after about 9 minutes total. Make sure it doesn't over cook! Let it turn a dark golden brown and immediately remove from heat, as it can burn within seconds. With the pan away from direct heat, begin to pour in the cream very slowly, as it bubbles up quickly as a reaction. Stir until cream is fully incorporated, then add salt and mix that in too. Let caramel sauce sit to cool until just warm.
For the filling, you'll need:
10 large green apples peeled, cored and sliced (I used Roxbury Russets. They are like a Granny Smith, just not quite as tart, and slightly sweeter)
1/2 C packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 Tb fresh lemon juice
3 Tb cornstarch
1 tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 400F. After you've prepared the apples, throw them into a large pot and then add brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon juice. Cover and cook over medium heat until the apples are just tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, then add the cornstarch and sea salt, stirring everything well.
Pour the filling into prepared crust and spread evenly.
Drizzle about 3/4 C of your prepared caramel sauce over the top of filling. Using your wooden spoon, push the apples around a little to let the caramel work its way into the crevices. Save the remaining caramel sauce for serving! And for topping ice cream, adding into your latte, the possibilities are endless...
Roll out the other half of your pie crust and cut into lattice strips, or however you like to design it! This is the best part of the process in my opinion. Make a quick egg wash by adding 2 Tb water to an egg, beaten and brushed over the top of the pie crust. Put the pie in the oven on a center rack. I like to place a baking sheet on the lower rack anytime I bake pies to catch any filling that might bubble over. Bake for about 1 hour. Halfway through, check on the pie to ensure even browning. Turn it if needed, and cover edges with aluminum foil if they're getting too brown. As you can see, I like a darker crust just as my own preference, but bake it to your liking. Let cool for atleast 30 minutes, until the caramel has stopped bubbling and the pie filling has had time to set. I finished the pie with a light sprinkle of sea salt.