Monday, April 29, 2013

Caramel Week: Caramel Apple Pie

Iiittt'ssss..... CARAMEL WEEK!!

I have to admit that while caramels have been my favorite addition to chocolate for as long as I can remember (Rolos and Milky Ways were GOLD at Halloween). Recently, the hubster and I took a mini-vacation to a nearby mountain town, Leavenworth, WA. The town is just adorable - it's a Bavarian style village that always has string lights up and a decorated tree, year-round. While it's not for everyone, it's one of our favorite little get-away spots - close to some other friends, and just far enough away to give us a break. Do you have any spots like that??

On this recent trip, we found a chocolate shop we'd never found before: Schocolat. We tried some incredibly delicious, hand-made treats. In addition to the lovely chocolates (my favorite was an earl grey truffle - WHAT??), they also make a chocolate sauce and a caramel sauce. But the caramel sauce was not your ho-hum-run-of-the-mill jarred caramel sauce. Oh no. It is a scratch-made pear cinnamon caramel sauce. You can even buy if for yourself here (scroll down near the bottom).

The sauce was incredibly complex and, at first, I was at a loss with what to do with it. There are obvious things like drizzling on ice cream (which I don't eat), in hot cocoa, on the tops of cakes... But for the first treat that popped into my head was a caramel dutch apple pie. While I'm not great at crusts, I didn't want to risk a top AND bottom going wonky, so I chose a crumble topping, instead. This dough did not come together recipe - so if you have dough that works well for you, I suggest you go with what you know.

I demand pie, as well. K, thanks.
I really enjoy the extra salt in the crumble topping to offset the added sweetness the caramel adds. Any caramel sauce would be excellent in this pie, as well - jarred or scratch-made. The pie itself I adapted from a caramel apple pie recipe from Tyler Florence. The serving size for a heaping 9" pie is 4-6 servings. I laughed and laughed when I read that. Eight servings would be the minimum, based on how I normally eat pie. I ate one slice, gave two to Megan, then told the hubster he could eat at will. Within 18 hours (lunch the next day), there was one teensy sliver left. He managed to consume over half the pie as breakfast and lunch, meaning the suggestion of 6 serving sizes was eerily accurate.

I wouldn't recommend that two people consume an entire pie within 24 hours... but it happened. Good news: hubster actually liked a recipe. Bad news: he consumed the equivalent to a stick of butter on his own. He doesn't see a problem with this, though (maybe also a problem?). Looks like I'm going to have to better moderate his dessert portions...

In addition to this beautiful pie, a bunch of my closest blogging buddies are also participating and creating some delicious creamy caramel alternatives:
  • Friday--Country Cleaver-Pear Caramel Mini Cheesecakes / Munching in the Mitten-Caramel Cake

  • Caramel Apply Pie

    Adapted from Tyler Florence and 365 Days of Baking & More
    1/2 recipe of your favorite pie crust (or the one from Tyler Florence) - let it rest in the fridge while continuing

    Prepare about 1/2 cup of caramel sauce (either store bought as I did or homemade). Set aside.

    3/4 cup light brown sugar
    1/2 cup flour
    1 teaspoon cinnamon
    3 Tablespoons melted butter

    1 lemon, halved
    8 Granny Smith Apples (or a combination of your favorites)
    1 Tablespoon flour
    2 teaspoons cinnamon
    1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

    1. In  a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, four, and cinnamon. Drizzle the melted butter over the mixture and use a fork or your fingers to cut together until well incorporated. Set aside.
    2. Preheat the oven to 350* F. 
    3. Fill a large bowl with cool water and squeeze the lemon into the water. Peel and core each apple and slice thinly by hand or with a mandolin. Add the slices to the water (the lemon prevents browning so you don't have to rush!)
    4. On a well-floured surface, roll out your dough and press into a 9" pie pan.
    5. Drain the apples and sprinkle with flour and cinnamon. Toss to make sure they're all coated.
    6. Place one layer of apples in the dough. Dollop caramel all over the apples, then put another layer of apples over the caramel. Repeat until you run out of apples and and caramel. Dot the top of the pie with the remaining 1/4 cup butter.
    7. Press the crumble over the top of the pie.
    8. Place the pie on a baking sheet and pop into the oven for 45-50 minutes, or until top is deep golden brown.
    9. Let the pie cool, then serve. It may be hard to resist - but cooling will REALLY help with cutting!
    10. Enjoy!


    1. Confession: I've never eaten a crumb-topped apple pie. How is that even possible? Yours is gorgeous and that pear caramel from Leavenworth sounds amazing. I want it! And pie. For breakfast.

    2. I can attest to the deliciocity of that pie. Amazing.

    3. Oh. My. Lanta!! I'm siding with the hubster on this one. If I had that pie in front of me? I'd totally eat half of it in 24 hours. I like Tyler's serving sizes.

    4. My favorite pie of all time is crumbled apple, so I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this recipe.

    5. Let's be honest, people. It's practically 100% apples, therefore it's a healthy food. Thus, the larger servings are simply there to make sure we eat a balance diet, complete with fruit. The end.
      Also? YUM!

    6. This is one sexy looking pie my friend! I'm smitten. Now, pass me a fork, yo?

    7. Mmmmmm this looks so delicious

    8. Good call on the crumble topping. I love a good two-crust pie, but some things just need to be out in the air like that. I'm pretty sure I could also take this filling, fry it up and throw it in overnight oats when fall rolls around and peaches and I are on the outs. Amen to all of this.

    9. Ooogh, this looks amazing and the crumble topping? YUM! I'm adding this on my to-try list for sure. Thanks