S’mores are great, right? Evoking memories of summer, campfires and near misses with open flames. Those little treats have been popping up in Blog Land all summer. I even had my little fling with a s’mores makeover. Caramel apples are the new s’mores. Really. I swear. As fall gets closer, and apples pop up more and more in stores, farmers markets and bloggers imaginations, the memories of school carnivals and Halloween parties will throw this sugary fruit treat into the baker makeover spot light. Here is my jump start on caramel apple makeover, falls new, hot, must have.
Caramel Apple Pie
3 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbs sugar
10 tbs butter (1 stick, plus 2 tbs), cut into cubes
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup vodka
1/4 cup cold water
5 cups of granny smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into thin slices
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbs flour
1 tbs cinnamon
1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
2 tbs apple sauce
1 cups brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup of cream
1 tbs butter
1 tbs corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tbs granulated sugar
I’ve done this before and I’m about to do it again. Pie dough lecture. After my years of pie dough research, I feel confident that this recipe is near perfect. I love it. If you are thinking about skipping this step and going with store bought, Stop. Right. There. The food processor method makes your active time about 8 minutes. That’s it. For an investment of only 8 minutes you can make the Worlds Most Amazing Pie Crust and when people ask, "Did you make the crust yourself??" You can sigh, wipe your brow and say, "It was a lot of work, but, yes. I just believe that it is worth all the hard work." They’ll never know.
First, food processors are great at getting the job done as quickly as possible, and as previously mentioned on this blog, the more you mess with dough the tougher it becomes. So break out that food processor and add 2 cups of the flour, salt and sugar and give it a quick pulse until it’s combined.
Add the cubes of butter and the shortening and pulse until combined, about 1 1/2 minutes. A mixture of butter and shortening gives great texture and great flavor.
Add the remaining flour and process until it’s all combined. Move dough to a large bowl, then add the water and the vodka and knead gently until its all combined. Vodka makes your crust flaky. It cooks off completely, unlike water, so you have a great flakiness that will hold up to whatever you put inside of it. Your dough will be very moist, but you can add a bit of flour if it is too moist to hold together. Then split into two evenly sized disks and wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 2 hours. If you need to, this can be made up to three days in advance, just store the plastic wrapped disks in a large zip lock bag.
Preheat your oven to 375.
In a large bowl, combine the apples, lemon juice and salt, toss to coat. Let stand at room temp for about 30 minutes, drain. Add the sugar, flour, cinnamon, apple sauce and nutmeg and toss to coat.
In a pot over medium heat, add the brown sugar, corn syrup and cream. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and allow to boil, untouched, until it reaches 225. Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla, stir to combine and allow to cool.
Roll out one of your pie dough disks in a circle large enough to fit into your greased pie pan with a bit of over hang. Add the circle to the pie pan and press into shape. Pour the caramel on the bottom, then the apples on top of that. Roll out the remaining pie dough circle. I like to cut out cute shapes with a cookie cutter and layer them on top, adhering with melted butter. You can do this, or you can make a top crust a round circle with slits cut in the top. brush the top with the remaining melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Allow the pie to rest before serving, the caramel needs time to thicken or your will be serving apple pie soup.