i’ve never been much of a baker. i’m intimidated by the precision required, the time commitment, and the surprise factor of not being able to actually taste your handy work until you serve it. at home with lots of time to cook on my hands recently, i’ve made it a goal to practice my baking and hopefully get to the point where a simple apple pie doesn’t cause me to break out in hives.
a few weeks ago, a good family friend, originally from oklahoma, decided to share some of her midwestern wisdom with my sister and me. she was going to teach us how to make a pie. she showed us how to make the dough from scratch, explained the best way to roll it out, and helped us hone our latticing skills. after this successful pie baking experience, i was feeling moderately confident when a friend asked us to make pies for a friendsgiving she was throwing last weekend.
we made this delicious salted caramel apple pie and a pumpkin pie with a chocolate cookie crust. the apple pie was absolutely delicious: tart, sweet, salty, not too rich. that being said, it was not a quick pie to make. the caramel took about an hour and a half from start to finish. we cooked it at the absolute lowest heat possible to prevent the sugar from burning, but i bet we could have bumped the heat up a little bit and reduced the cooking time. the crust and filling recipes are below!
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup chilled shortening
2 tbsp chilled butter
4 tbsp ice-water
1. sift together flour and salt
2. cut half of the shortening into the flour mixture in a cuisinart. once combined, cut in the rest of the shortening.
3. continue to run cuisinart while sprinkling in the ice-water. the dough will be done when it forms into a ball.
4. from this point forward, handle the dough as little as possible. split the dough into two halves.
5. roll each halve in between two pieces of wax or parchment paper until it measures about 1.5 inches past the edge of the pie dish you will be using.
6. refrigerate the two pieces of crust until you are ready to work with them again.
salted caramel apple pie
recipe adapted from the cooking channel
1 cup white sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup fresh heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
6 medium apples, i used a mixture of crispin and granny smith
1/3 cup raw sugar
2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
3 dashes angostura bitters
1 egg, beaten
raw sugar and sea salt, for sprinkling on top
1. cook sugar and water together over low heat until just dissolved.
2. add butter and bring mixture to a slow boil. continue to cook at a low heat until mixture turns a deep golden brown color. this process took me about 1 hour.
3. remove mixture from heat and immediately add heavy cream.
4. whisk final mixture together over low heat and sprinkle in sea salt. let cool while you prepare the apple filling.
1. juice lemons into a large mixing bowl.
2. core, peel, and thinly slice whole apples. if you have a mandolin, it works great for getting the slices really thin and even.
3. dredge the apples in the lemon juice while you prepare the seasoning.
4. combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and bitters.
5. drain the remaining lemon juice from the apples.
6. sprinkle mixture over the apples, and use your hands to gently mix it together so all of the apples are evenly coated.
7. preheat oven to 375 degrees.
8. remove dough from fridge, and lay your bottom crust into your pie dish.
9. layer 1/3 of the apples in the bottom of the crust, packed tightly with minimal gaps. pour 1/3 of the caramel sauce over the apples. add another 1/3 of the apples and the caramel sauce for the second layer, and then once more for the third layer, saving a little bit of the caramel sauce for later.
10. assemble the lattice crust and flute the edges. top off the lattice with a drizzle of the caramel sauce, brush the crust with a beaten egg, then sprinkle with raw sugar and sea salt.
11. bake the pie on a baking sheet for 20 minutes. reduce oven temperature to 350 and bake for another 30 minutes. when done, the apples should be just soft, you can test with a toothpick, and the crust should be a golden brown.