Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What Does Fall Taste Like? Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Apples & Caramel.  Yes!  Salt & Caramel.  Yes!  So why not all 3?  Have you been apple picking yet?  You should go.  Right now.  It's not the best thing Bobby Flay ever ate for no reason.  Just sayin.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie
Modified from the Four and Twenty Blackbirds Version seen on "The Best Thing I Ever Ate"

1 recipe of double crust all butter flaky pie crust - I'm partial to this one
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (if you use the bottled kind I won't tell!)
2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters (I didn't have this so I used spiced rum.  Not really the same idea but still good)
6-8 medium sized apples, cored and peeled - preferably courtland, granny smith and/or macintosh
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp Saigon cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp Chinese 5 spice
1/4 tsp ground ginger
salted caramel - recipe follows
1 beaten egg
raw or castor sugar
1 tsp Fleur de Sel

Line a pie plate with the prepared bottom crust.  If you like, cut the top into a lattice, or just leave as a single piece.  Place in fridge to rest while making the pie.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Slice apples thin.  A food processor fitted with a slicing blade works perfectly!  Toss in lemon juice & bitters.

Mix sugar, flour and spices together and sift over apples.  Toss to distribute evenly.

Pack 1/3 of apples into prepared crust.  Brush with 1/3 of the caramel sauce.  Repeat.  Top with the final 1/3 of apples.  Cover with crust and crimp to seal edges.  Brush crust with a thin layer of caramel and egg wash.  Reserve remaining caramel for serving.  Sprinkle with castor sugar and salt.

Place pie plate on a sheet pan with sides to prevent the caramel from bubbling over onto the bottom of your over.  Bake for 20 minutes on the bottom rack, then reduce the heat to 350 for another 20-30 minutes.

When golden, bubbly and the apples are just cooked though, remove and let cool.  Serve with a drizzle of salted caramel sauce.

Salted Caramel Sauce
fantastic over ice cream or bread pudding
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 stick unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp sea salt

Cook the sugar & water together in a tall, heavy saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves.  Add butter and bring to a slow boil.  Let this happily bubble away until its a deep copper color (Watch it so it doesn't burn!  Wisps of smoke mean it's time to start over).

As soon as you get that lovely roasty toasty brown, remove from heat and add cream and vanilla.  Watch it boil up like a witches brew then continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until smooth.  Stir in salt.  Let cool.

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