Salted Caramel Apple Pie
Here is a classic lattice-topped all American apple pie bubbling with salted caramel and gooey, cinnamon apples!
In light of Independence Day, I figured I’d make an American classic. With a modern twist, of course.
Kevin’s mom came over on Tuesday and we spent the afternoon making pie. As we waited for the pie crust to chill, I taught her how to use Pinterest. Pies & pinterest. Such is my life!
America’s birthday called for homemade apple pie this year. Who says this classic dessert staple can only be enjoyed in the Autumn months? Apple pie has been and will always be in my top 3 favorite desserts. It’s actually Kevin’s #1 dessert, so we’ll be happily eating this pie for the next few days. Content and watching fireworks.
Warning: This post is lengthy. Lots of photos and lots of text!
There are three parts to this pie. The buttery, flaky crust. The salted caramel sauce. The cinnamon-spiced apples. Let’s begin with the crust.
Pie crust can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s made with a few simple ingredients. Flour, salt, cold water, and fat. You can make pie crust with shortening or with butter. Why shortening? Shortening aids in creating flakiness. Flaky, tender, melt-in-your mouth crust. Butter imparts unparalleled, impeccable flavor. Nothing beats butter.
However, my pie crust uses both. The best of both worlds. Flaky, tender, buttery pie crust made from shortening AND butter. It’s nothing new – tons of folks do it this way. And it’s the way I like it.
Important notes: you need cold fat. Chilled butter and chilled shortening. And you need ice cold water. COLD. Cold, cold, cold. Why the emphasis on temperature here? Keeping your pie crust as cold as possible helps to keep the fat from melting. If the butter melts before baking, you lose the flakiness of the pie crust. When the lumps of fat melt in the oven as the pie bakes, their steam helps to separate the crust into multiple flaky layers. Warm fats and water will lend a hard, crunchy crust instead of a nice tender flaky crust.
Today’s recipe is for a double crust pie. Do you want visuals for how to make the dough? See my step-by-step tutorial page.
You’re going to cut the cold butter and shortening into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Pea-sized bits with a few larger bits of fat is OK. I use a pastry cutter. It’s easier, less messy, and quicker. If you do not have a pastry cutter, use two forks. But buy one – they are an inexpensive addition to a baker’s kitchen!
To the fat/flour coarse crumbs, slowly add the ice cold water. Measure 1/2 cup of water. Add ice. Stir it around. From that, measure 1/2 cup of water (since the ice has melted a bit). Slowly drizzle into the dough, working it in with a large spoon until the dough begins to clump. Once the dough clumps, do not add any more water. Roll out the dough on a floured work surface. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky. Divide dough into half and chill per the instructions in the recipe below.
Make the apple filling as the dough is chilling. Fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, apples, flour, spices, and sugar. I suggest using a variety of apples. I used Pink Ladies (sweet) and Granny Smiths (tart). You get more complex flavor in each bite using a combo.
Roll 1 of the balls of chilled dough into a large circle. Greater than 9 inches in diameter, because that is the size of the pie dish you’ll use. Go for a 11-12 inch diameter. Further instructions for rolling the dough and lining the pan are in the recipe box below. Next, add the pie filling to the dough. You may think – “there is way too much filling, it won’t fit!” But it will. The cake is very tall – deep dish style!
Make the salted caramel sauce using my step-by-step photos.
Pour 1/2 cup of salted caramel over the apples.
Take the remaining chilled dough ball out of the refrigerator. Roll it out into a 11-12 inch diameter.
I made a lattice top for the pie. You may chose the kind of crust style that you want. Any other style requires you to cut several ventilation slits on the crust top. Just go with lattice. It’s prettier.
Making a lattice top pie crust is easy. Use a pastry wheel, pizza cutter (what I used!), or a sharp knife. Cut 16 strips 1/2 inch wide. Carefully thread the strips over and under one another, pulling back strips as necessary to weave. Brush the top with an egg wash, then sprinkle with coarse sugar. I realize the topping looks like salt in these photos, but it’s coarse sugar I swear.
Position your oven rack to the lower third position. Place the pie dish on a baking sheet to prevent any oven spills. Bake the pie at 400F degrees for 20 minutes. The initial high temperature will help the crust brown. After 20 minutes, reduce to 375F and bake for another 40-50 minutes. Reducing the temperature will allow the apple filling to cook thoroughly before the crust burns.
If the crust is getting too brown, place a sheet of aluminum oil over top of it. When the pie is ready, the caramel will be bubbling up. You can also test the apples with a small knife to make sure they are tender (but not mushy).
At this point, your house will smell like a bakery. Sweet, sweet apple pie! Allow the pie to cool for 4 hours so the caramel and apple juices thicken. Waiting is torture, I know! Serve the pie with the remaining salted caramel. One slice is sure to satisfy all of your salty-sweet cravings!
The extra caramel sauce you pour on top will bring added sweetness and moisture to the filling. You’ll need the extra sauce since, comparatively, the filling isn’t made with too much sugar as is.
I love my updated version of the traditional classic! It’s the holy grail of caramel apple desserts. Comparable to eating a giant caramel apple, but with a buttery flaky crust thrown on top. We served ours with melty vanilla ice cream because there’s always room for ice cream, right? There is no reason to wait until fall’s harvest to make your new favorite apple pie.
I can see myself finding any excuse to throw this pie together. 🙂
Salted Caramel Apple Pie
Makes 1 pie, 10-12 slices. The dough may be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. The pie is best served the same day, but may be covered tightly and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Basic Pie Dough
- 2 and 1/2 cups (315g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 and 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 6 Tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- 3/4 cup (154g) vegetable shortening, chilled1
- 1/2 cup (120ml) ice water
- homemade salted caramel sauce
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
- 1/4 cup (60ml) fresh lemon juice
- 6 large apples, cored, peeled, and thinly sliced2 (approx 10-12 cups total - use a variety for better flavor, such as Pink Lady, Granny Smith, or Honey Crisp)
- 1/4 cup (31g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, beaten
- coarse sugar for topping
- Read all of the directions that I wrote in this post before beginning the following recipe. It will help you!
- Make the crust first: Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut in the butter and shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal (pea-sized bits with a few larger bits of fat is OK). Drizzle the cold water in, 1 Tablespoon (15ml) at a time, and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon after every Tablespoon (15ml) added. Do not add any more water than you need to. Stop adding water when the dough begins to form large clumps. I always use between 1/3 cup (75ml) and 1/2 cup (120ml) of water. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and, using your hands, fold the dough into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the fats. The dough should come together easily but should not feel overly sticky. Form into a ball. Divide in half, then flatten each into a 1-inch disk and wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. For a visual guide to making this crust, see my step-by-step photos.
- Make the caramel using my step-by-step photos as a visual guide. Do this as you wait for the dough to chill.
- Next, make the apple filling as the dough is still chilling: Put the lemon zest and lemon juice into a very large bowl. Add the apples and toss gently. In a small mixing bowl, combine the flour, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and sugar. Pour over the apples and gently toss to combine. Set aside.
- Roll out the chilled pie dough: On a floured work surface, roll out one of the discs of chilled dough (keep the other one in the refrigerator). Turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls until you have a circle 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place the dough into a 9x2 inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. With a small and sharp knife, trim the extra overhang of crust and discard.
- Fill the pie crust with the apples. There are a lot of apples, but pile them tightly and very high. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of the salted caramel, reserving the rest for topping.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).
- Make the lattice crust: Remove the other disc of chilled pie dough from the refrigerator. Roll the dough out, 12 inches diameter. Using a pastry wheel, sharp knife, or pizza cutter, cut 16 strips 1/2 inch wide. I always use a clean measuring tape or ruler as a guide to assure the lines are straight. Carefully thread the strips over and under one another, pulling back strips as necessary to weave. Using a small and sharp knife, trim the extra overhang. Crimp the edges of the dough with a fork or your fingers.
- Brush the lattice top with the beaten egg. A very thin coating - you don't want scrambled eggs on top of your dough. Sprinkle with coarse sugar.
- Place the pie onto a large baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Keeping the pie in the oven, turn the temperature down to 375°F (190°C) and bake for an additional 40-50 minutes. If the top of your pie is getting too brown, cover loosely with aluminum foil. The pie will be done when the caramel begins to bubble up. A small knife inserted inside should come out relatively clean.
- Allow the pie to cool for 4 hours before serving. Drizzle the pie with the extra caramel sauce to serve. This apple pie is best served on the same day, but it can be covered tightly and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Make ahead tip: The pie crust dough can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using. Baked pie freezes well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving.
- For the crust, make sure your shortening and butter are VERY cold.
- Slice your apples a uniform thickness. You don't want some solid apples and some thin, mushy apples.
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Try my Salted Caramel Apple Pie Bars next!