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Caramel Apple Pie

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Once apple season arrives, it’s a given that apple pie is on the dessert menu. And bolstering this dessert recipe with some gooey caramel sauce makes this Caramel Apple Pie one of autumn’s simple pleasures!

If you love Caramel Apples, why not use this classic combination and make a beautiful, autumnal pie!

Caramel Apple Pie on a square white plate topped with ice cream and caramel sauce

Caramel Apple Pie

This is my second go-around for this pie. Previously baked in 2013, I was looking through the blog at apple recipes and had to give it another whirl! It seems things didn’t go smoothly with my first attempt, though it was inhaled by the pie loving family!

If you want to hear about that experience, I’ve saved an excerpt for you:

This one had disaster written all over it. First I left the apples simmering on the stove top and the Golden Delicious cooked into mush. Then the crust, full of lard and butter, didn’t look too hot, either. When I added the cornstarch to the hot filling, instead of letting it cool first, I had to spend the next few minutes pulling white pasty bits from the apples.

My caramel had to be recooked to the proper temperature after my first half-hearted attempt (I was certain by this  time that the pie would be inedible). I didn’t even plan to take photos until Nick (home from college for spring break), who had been tantalized by the aroma of this Caramel Apple Pie, had the first slice. The not so pretty crust was flaky and delicious. The filling, drizzled with some of the caramel, baked into apple pie perfection. And with a scoop of vanilla ice cream doused with more caramel sauce, we had a surprising success. My next pie will be made when I’m not multi-tasking in the kitchen. Hahaha, that’ll be the day.

Slice of Caramel Apple Pie on a white plate with a red handled fork

 

Tips for Making the Best Apple Pie

My second attempt went off without a hitch. Whew. Baked for Sunday’s dinner when the boys join us most weeks, they were thrilled with pie a la mode for dessert. Even Bill, who swears not to like caramel, enjoyed a slice every night until it was gone. He abstained from the extra drizzle of caramel sauce, though!

  • In the autumn, there are loads of terrific pie apples in the grocery stores and farmers’ markets. I was thrilled to find some Northern Spys, my favorite pie apple, at a farmer’s market booth one Saturday. Ask which varieties are best for baking if you’re unsure, and play it safe by using 2-3 different kind of baking apples for the best depth of flavor and texture.
  • I like to mix sweet, tart, firm and not so firm apples. You definitely want the majority of the apples to hold their shape so you don’t have an applesauce filled pie.
  • You can easily use a store bought pie crust if that’s your preference. You can also use a jar of good quality caramel sauce (look for butter in the ingredients!).
  • The pie crust recipe I’ve shared is from America’s Test Kitchen so it’s tried and true and very flaky. It’s unusual as it contains vodka which gives some extra moisture to the dough, but evaporates during the baking process. There is no taste of alcohol in this very flaky crust. Feel free to use your favorite double pie crust recipe if you have one.
  • This pie crust also uses a combination of shortening and butter. The shortening makes it easy to work with and the butter provides a wonderful flavor. You can also use lard in place of the shortening which makes a super flaky crust, too.
  • Do not buy the lard that’s stored on a shelf in the grocery store. I purchase leaf lard from a local butcher shop and it makes a fabulous crust, but beware that it’s a bit harder to work with pie dough made with lard over shortening.
  • If you’ve ever made an apple pie and had a big, empty gap between the filling and top crust after it’s baked, this recipe has a solution.
  • Precooking your apples helps prevent the shrinking of the filling that occurs when you bake with raw apple slices. It’s that shrinking of the filling that creates the unwanted space under the top crust.
Overhead view of whole Caramel Apple Pie with apples and a red handle knife

More Apple Dessert Recipes You’ll Love:

I love all things apple, but making a two crust apple pie is often too complicated for a busy day.

Adapted from a recipe on the Williams-Sonoma website.

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Slice of caramel apple pie on a square white plate

Caramel Apple Pie

A classic double crust apple pie enhanced by homemade caramel in the filling!

  • Author: Liz Berg
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert, Pie
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Ingredients

For the crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons butter (cut into small pieces and chilled)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (or lard, cut into 4 pieces and chilled)
  • 1/4 cup cold vodka
  • 1/4 cup cold water

For the filling:

  • 4 pounds Granny Smith apples (peeled, cored and each cut into eighths), I used a combination of Granny Smith, Northern Spy and Jonathan
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

For the caramel:

  • 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 6 tablespoons butter (cut into pieces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cream

To finish the top crust:

  • 1 egg white (beaten with 1 teaspoon water)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar

Instructions

Make the crust:

Place 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar and salt in food processor and pulse till just until combined. Add butter and shortening and process about 10 seconds (dough will appear crumbly). Scrape sides of bowl. Add remaining 1 cup flour and give 4-6 quick pulses. Remove blade from processor, then

sprinkle vodka and water over mixture. With a rubber spatula, mix and press dough until it sticks together. Flatten dough into two disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour minimum.

Roll out one disk of pie crust and place in a 9 inch deep dish pie plate. Refrigerate the pie shell and remaining dough round for 30 minutes.

To prepare the apples, in a large pot over medium heat, stir together the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon juice. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are just tender, about 20 minutes. Uncover and let cool to room temperature. Stir in the cornstarch.

To make the caramel, combine the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat. Cook until the mixture is bubbling well for about 9 minutes, stirring only during the first couple minutes of cooking. Remove from heat, then carefully stir in 1/4 cup of the cream, then stir in the remaining 1/4 cup cream. Let cool until just warm. Preheat oven to 400°F.

If the dough in your pie pan is really firm, let it sit at room temperature for about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the apple mixture and 3/4 cup of the caramel. Save the remaining caramel to serve the pie. Pour the apple filling into the pastry lined dish and place the top crust over the pie. Trim the edges of the top crust so that both top and bottom crusts are flush with the rim. Press crusts together around the rim and crimp as desired. Brush the top crust with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Place the pie dish on a baking sheet. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 1 hour. If crust is browning too quickly, cover edges with foil. Remove pie from oven and let cool to room temperature on wire rack. Serve with ice cream and rewarmed caramel sauce, if desired.

Yeild: 8 servings

Notes

Crust adapted from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen via The Mom Chef

Filling and caramel adapted from Williams-Sonoma

Calories reflect using all the excess caramel to drizzle over pie slices. We found we did not use it all.

Caramel Apple Pie on a white basketweave plate

This post from April, 2013, was updated with new photos and text. Old image circa 2013

Note: This post may contain affiliate links; view my Disclosure Policy for details. I earn a small percentage from any purchase you make by clicking on these links at no extra cost to you.

74 comments on “Caramel Apple Pie”

  1. This has Mr. J written all over it. Maybe for his next birthday!

  2. I wish my disasters in the kitchen turned out this beautiful. I think the hint is you can’t do more than 4 things at the same time. That 5th thing always sends moms over the edge… LOL

  3. With all those little mishaps…. how did you still come out with this gorgeous pie? You have a magic touch. Multitasking is my downfall too… I sometimes have four things going on the stove at the same time and it’s like a circus act. :0)

  4. THE older I get the less I can multitask! But it looks delicious. I’m sure your son was in pie heaven!
    Have a great weekend Lizzy.

  5. I have this recipe to make one day. It looka so good but I can’t believe how much trouble you had. I made Four and Twenty Blackbirds salted caramel apple pie and it was outstanding. I need to make it again to post.

  6. This pie looks amazing! Say the words “caramel apple” and I am in. It doesn’t look disastrous to me.

  7. Lizzy,
    Even your flops look mouthwatering. Your pie looks delicious.
    Annamaria

  8. Haven’t had pie since the holiday season. I love flaky warm and crispy pie texture with ice cream. Apple pie is probably my most favorite. I want to have this pie after dinner. That will complete my day. 🙂

  9. Ahhh! Caramel apple pie sounds like the best thing EVER!!! I need to find an excuse to try this, STAT.

  10. I must admit the crust was not your run of the mill pie crust…I substituted buttershnapps for the vodka and the dough was SO hard to deal with. SO worth it though. best pie crust ever.

  11. Looks fabulous! It’s great that second time around, things went to plan.

  12. OMG, I’d snarf that down for breakfast! Ice cream and all:@)

  13. For some reason, I couldn’t get on the apple band wagon during the last few falls, but this year seems different. This apple pie is really making my mouth water!

  14. Caramel apple pie is the perfect dessert all year round if you ask me! It’s making me want a huge slice of that heaven right now!!

  15. This looks so yummy! I’ve never heard of using vodka, such an interesting tip. Thanks for the recipe! 

  16. You are definitely the pie queen. And I am the pie lover. We go good together, it’s just too bad we live a few states apart! 

  17. What a gorgeous looking pie, far more beautiful than the one on Williams Sonoma site. I bet the house smelled amazing as this beauty baked up. How nice that your family comes together every Sunday for dinner, what a special time that must be. I bet you are over the top that the renovation is over!

  18. Looks and sounds great, Liz! My grandmother always made her pie crust using lard, the best crust ever. Thanks for the recipe, love that caramel!

  19. absolutely love apple pies, are my favorites, hugs!!

  20. HEAVEN! Seriously HEAVEN!! Holy Moly WOW!! This is gorgeous and I honestly will let you have THAT PIECE, and I will eat the rest of the pie 😉

  21. There’s nothing better than caramel and apples – this is my dream pie!

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