My fall baking isn’t ALL pumpkin related, I promise!
Saturday night some of our friends were having a cookout at their house. This particular friend (Elizabeth) has told me in the past that she LOVES my fruit desserts, and her all time favorite was my Strawberry Rhubarb Pie. So when thinking about what I would take to the cookout, I knew it had to be something in the pie family. But sadly, as much as I searched I couldn’t find rhubarb (it’s sadly way out of season) so I decided to go with something that’s in right now–APPLES! Because who doesn’t love classic apple pie?
When I went to find an apple pie recipe, I was surprised to find that I actually don’t have one on the blog. How could that be? During the fall it seems like I’m always baking with apples. But then I realized that I typically take the easy way out and just make apple crisp for an easy Sunday night dessert.
So I ended up scanning Google, and I was again surprised–who knew there were so many variations on classic apple pie? In the end I decided to go with a classic recipe from Martha Stewart, but with a twist inspired by Tracy at Sugarcrafter. An apple pie made with tart apples and finished with a creamy caramel sauce.
Classic Apple Pie:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks COLD unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1/2 to 3/4 cup ice water
Combine flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and mix. Add the butter, and with your hands (I think this works better) or with a pastry cutter, mix butter into flour until it looks like meal, with small, pea sized chunks of visible butter. If using your hands, break the butter up by mashing smaller pieces flat with the flour. This technique of working the butter in by hand takes a little practice, but its easier to get the right consistency this way.
Add 1/2 cup of the ice water (but not the ice cubes) and mix it into flour/butter mixture. You want a pie dough that JUST holds together, but isn’t sticky. If your pie dough isn’t holding together yet, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough just holds together. Once dough is done, separate into two pieces. Form each into a disk and wrap them in plastic. Place in the fridge for at least an hour, but up to one week.
While the dough is chilling, make your filling.
Adapted from Martha Stewart
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
10 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
3/4 cup sugar, plus additional for pie top
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch ground cloves
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg, beaten
Heat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pie dough into two 1/8-inch-thick circles to a diameter slightly larger than that of your pie plate. Press one pastry circle into the pie plate.
In a large bowl, combine apples, sugar, lemon zest and juice, spices, and flour. Toss well. Spoon apples into pie pan. Dot with butter, and cover with remaining pastry circle. Cut several steam vents across top. Seal by crimping edges as desired. Brush with beaten egg, and sprinkle with additional sugar.
Bake until crust is brown and juices are bubbling, about 1 hour. Let cool on wire rack before serving.
And then to serve:
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Mix the water and sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Do not stir. Increase the heat to medium and boil uncovered until the sugar turns a warm chestnut brown (about 350 degrees F on a candy thermometer), about 5 to 7 minutes, gently swirling the pan to stir the mixture. Be careful – the mixture is extremely hot! Watch the mixture very carefully at the end, as it will go from caramel to burnt very quickly. Turn off the heat. Stand back to avoid splattering and slowly add the cream and vanilla. Don’t worry – the cream will bubble violently and the caramel will solidify.
Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until the caramel dissolves and the sauce is smooth, about 2 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours. It will thicken as it sits.